Books Should Be Free is now
Loyal Books
Free Public Domain Audiobooks & eBook Downloads
Search by: Title, Author or Keyword

The Nibelungenlied   By: (1868-)

Book cover

First Page:


By An Unknown Author

Translated by Daniel B. Shumway

Originally written in Middle High German (M.H.G.), sometime around 1200 A.D., although this dating is by no means certain. Author unknown.

The text of this edition is based on that published as "The Nibelungenlied", translated by Daniel B. Shumway (Houghton Mifflin Co., New York, 1909).

PREPARER'S NOTE: In order to make this electronic edition easier to use, the preparer has found it necessary to re arrange the endnotes of Mr. Shumway's edition, collating them with the chapters themselves and substituting page references with footnote references. The preparer takes full responsibility for these changes. DBK.



Hatto, A.T. (Trans.): "Nibelungenlied" (Penguin Classics, London, 1962). Prose translation.

Ryder, Frank G. (Trans.): "The Song of the Nibelungs" (Wayne State University Press, Detroit, 1962). Verse translation.


Anonymous: "Kudrun", Translated by Marion E. Gibbs & Sidney Johnson (Garland Pub., New York, 1992).

Anonymous: "Volsungasaga", Translated by William Morris and Eirikr Magnusson (Walter Scott Press, London, 1888; Reissued by the Online Medieval and Classical Library as E Text 29, 1997).

Saxo Grammaticus: "The First Nine Books of the Danish History", Translated by Oliver Elton (London, 1894; Reissued by the Online Medieval and Classical Library as E Text OMACL 28, 1997).


This work has been undertaken in the belief that a literal translation of as famous an epic as the "Nibelungenlied" would be acceptable to the general reading public whose interest in the story of Siegfried has been stimulated by Wagner's operas and by the reading of such poems as William Morris' "Sigurd the Volsung". Prose has been selected as the medium of translation, since it is hardly possible to give an accurate rendering and at the same time to meet the demands imposed by rhyme and metre; at least, none of the verse translations made thus far have succeeded in doing this. The prose translations, on the other hand, mostly err in being too continuous and in condensing too much, so that they retell the story instead of translating it. The present translator has tried to avoid these two extremes. He has endeavored to translate literally and accurately, and to reproduce the spirit of the original, as far as a prose translation will permit. To this end the language has been made as simple and as Saxon in character as possible. An exception has been made, however, in the case of such Romance words as were in use in England during the age of the romances of chivalry, and which would help to land a Romance coloring; these have been frequently employed. Very few obsolete words have been used, and these are explained in the notes, but the language has been made to some extent archaic, especially in dialogue, in order to give the impression of age. At the request of the publishers the Introduction Sketch has been shorn of the apparatus of scholarship and made as popular as a study of the poem and its sources would allow. The advanced student who may be interested in consulting authorities will find them given in the introduction to the parallel edition in the Riverside Literature Series. A short list of English works on the subject had, however, been added.

In conclusion the translator would like to thank his colleagues, C.G. Child and Cornelius Weygandt, for their helpful suggestions in starting the work, and also to acknowledge his indebtedness to the German edition of Paul Piper, especially in preparing the notes. DANIEL BUSSIER SHUMWAY,

Philadelphia, February 15, 1909.


There is probably no poem of German literature that has excited such universal interest, or that has been so much studied and discussed, as the "Nibelungenlied". In its present form it is a product of the age of chivalry, but it reaches back to the earliest epochs of German antiquity, and embraces not only the pageantry of courtly chivalry, but also traits of ancient Germanic folklore and probably of Teutonic mythology... Continue reading book >>

eBook Downloads
ePUB eBook
• iBooks for iPhone and iPad
• Nook
• Sony Reader
Kindle eBook
• Mobi file format for Kindle
Read eBook
• Load eBook in browser
Text File eBook
• Computers
• Windows
• Mac

Review this book

Popular Genres
More Genres
Paid Books