Mabinogion or The Four Branches of the Mabinogi, unknown, tr. Jeffrey Gantz, 1976, Penguin Books Ltd., Harmondsworth UK. A collection of eleven prose tales
from the Welsh oral tradition, including a version of Peredur. The earliest manuscript dates from about 1325.
Parzival, Wolfram von Eschenbach, 1980, tr. A.T. Hatto, Penguin Books Ltd., Harmondsworth UK. There are several other good
modern editions available. Wolfram's Parzival is widely (but perhaps wrongly) regarded as the primary source of Wagner's poem. The edition that Wagner studied in 1859 was a modern German edition
by San-Marte (Magdeburg 1836). His Dresden library contained Karl Lachmann's (MHG) edition (Berlin 1833) and the modern German edition by Simrock (1842). Wagner read one or both of these in 1845. His
Bayreuth library also contains a later edition (1857) of Simrock's translation and one by Karl Bartsch (1871).
Parcival-Studien, San-Marte (Albert Schulz), 1861-2, Buchhandlung der Waisenhauses, Halle. One of Wagner's supplementary sources for the Grail legend.
Part 1: Guiot. Life of the poet Guiot de Provence (fl. 1200). German translation of Guiot's Bible, with commentary and glossary.
Part 2: On Religion in the Works of Wolfram von Eschenbach. Commentary on the Grail (Bedeutung des heiligen Grals) in Parzival.
Part 3: In opposition to the Grail. The Grail knights.
Wagner's Bayreuth library includes several other books by San-Marte, including his translations of Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Brittanniae, parts of The Red Book of
Hergest, and extracts from Der jüngere Titurel by Albrecht von Scharfenberg. Also San-Marte's life of Wolfram von Eschenbach.
Perceval: The Story of the Grail (Perceval ou il Conte du Graal) or Perceval li Gallois, Chrétien de Troyes, 1982, tr.
Nigel Bryant, D.S. Brewer, Cambridge UK. Bryant's slightly abridged edition incorporates large parts of the Continuations, in which various authors (or editors) attempted to complete Chrétien's unfinished
romance. Perceval was one of Wagner's sources for his version of the Grail legend.
Joseph d'Arimithie published as Le Roman de l'Estoire dou Saint Graal, Robert de Boron, ed. W.A.Nitze, 1927, Les Classiques français du moyen-âge, Paris. Parts
of the text were translated by M. Schlauch and published in Medieval Narrative, 1928, NY. The Modena-manuscript prose versions of de Boron's Joseph and Merlin,
together with the Modena Perceval have recently been translated into English: Merlin and the Grail, Nigel Bryant, 2001, D.S.Brewer, Cambridge UK.
Didot Perceval also known as Perceval le Gallois tr. as The Romance of Perceval in Prose, tr. D. Skeels, 1961, Univ. of Washington Press, DC. The book
was named for a Parisian bookseller who owned one of the manuscripts. In French prose of the early 13th century, this work is presented as a continuation of Robert de Boron's Joseph
and Merlin. It ends with an early version of the Mort Artu. The Didot text is a rather garbled version of the more consistent and complete text to be found in the Modena
manuscript referred to above.
Perlesvaus, Le Haut Livre du Graal or The High History of the Grail, unknown, tr. S. Evans, 1903, 1969 reprint, James Clarke, Cambridge UK. Loomis describes this translation as inaccurate. Probably (especially if it is the first volume of Potvin's compilation) one of Wagner's supplementary
sources for his version of the Grail legend.
The Quest of the Holy Grail (Queste del Saint Graal), unknown, 1969, P.M. Matarasson, Penguin Books Ltd., Harmondsworth UK. From a literary viewpoint the most perfect
story of the Grail, completed about 1225. Part of the Vulgate Cycle, and thus one of Malory's sources for his version of the Quest.
Sir Gawain at the Grail Castle, compilation, tr. J.L.Weston, 1903, Nutt (Arthurian Romances no.6),. This compilation includes three versions of the episode: that which
Weston called the Bleheris version, part of the First Continuation to Perceval; the German poem Diu Crône (The Crown); and the version from the Prose Lancelot.
St. John Damascene: Barlaam And Ioasaph,, G.R. Woodward and H. Mattingly, 1914, Harvard University Press, Cambridge MA. The story of Barlaam and
Josaphat, which Wagner added to his Dresden library (now on display in the basement of Haus Wahnfried) in a German translation re-published in 1843, was revealed by Carl
Suneson to have been an important source for the second act of Parsifal.
The Bodhisattva Doctrine in Buddhist Sanskrit Literature, Har Dayal, London, Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd., 1932. Reprinted 1970, 1999 by Motilal Banarsidass Publishers
Private Ltd., Delhi. This is an invaluable reference for the Bodhisattva doctrine and for the terminology of Mahāyāna Buddhism.
A Manual of Buddhism in its Modern Development, Robert Spence Hardy, London, 1853. Another of the books recommended by Schopenhauer. Probably the source of
Wagner's spear that stops in mid-air. Modern edition: Munshiram Manoharlal, New Delhi, 1995.
Indische Skizzen, Albrecht Weber, Berlin, Dümmler, 1857. Of particular interest interest in this book, of which a copy is present in Wagner's Bayreuth library, is the 1856 lecture Über den Buddhismus. In Weber's view the Buddha was both a religious and a social reformer, a view that Wagner might
have found consistent with his view of Jesus as expressed in Jesus von Nazareth. In this lecture Weber expressed the opinion that the concept of karma was brought to India by the Aryan
invaders, i.e. that it was part of the Vedic tradition from the beginning.
Richard Wagner und Indien, G. Lanczowski, in H. O. Günther, Indien und Deutschland, Frankfurt a.M., 1956. Lanczowski argued that some of Wagner's later
works, especially his Tristan und Isolde, were essentially Buddhist in outlook. His arguments are not developed and mostly superficial. Lanczkowski failed to see that, at least before 1874, Wagner's
interest in Buddhism focussed on the northern (Mahāyāna) tradition.
Richard Wagner och den indiska tankevärlden, Carl Suneson,, 1985, Almqvist & Wiksell International: Acta Universitatis Stockholmiensis (Stockholm Oriental Studies
vol.13), Stockholm. ISBN 91-22-00775-X. Suneson's monograph is the only extended treatment of all aspects of Wagner's interest in Indian literature and religions.
Richard Wagners Buddha-Projekt "Die Sieger": Seine ideellen und strukturellen Spuren in "Ring" und "Parsifal", Wolfgang Osthoff, Arkiv für Musikwissenschaft 40:3,
1983, p 189-211. A lecture given in the Villa Wesendonk on the 100th anniversary of Richard Wagner's death.
Wagner Spectrum: Schwerpunkt, Wagner und der Buddhismus. Ed. Ulrike Kienzle, 2007. The editor contributes a valuable article concerning nirvāṇa and related ideas that she finds expressed respectively in Tristan, in the "Schopenhauer" ending of
Götterdämmerung and in Parsifal. A posthumous essay by Wolf-Daniel Hartwich considers Wagner's ideas about the hereafter and their origins in his studies of Indian religion. Otherwise
this collection contains little that will be news to readers of this website. Dieter Borchmeyer contributes a good, if perhaps superficial, review of Wagner's "Buddhistic Christianity". Volker Mertens
provides an introduction to Wagner and India. These last two articles, however, do not go beyond what the Indologist Carl Suneson (see above) had written
on these subjects 22 years earlier. Pandit Bikkhu interprets Wagner's Kundry as a personification of desire in relation to the Holy Life.
The Dream King, Wilfrid Blunt,, 1970, Hamish Hamilton Ltd., London. A short biography of Ludwig II for the English reader. Sections of the
book are unashamedly plagiarised from Ernest Newman's biography of Richard Wagner.
Die Graalslegende in psychologischer Sicht, Emma Jung and Marie-Louise von Franz,, 1960, Walter Verlag AG, Olten. This study is the result of a thirty year long
investigation into the Grail legend by Emma Jung, which was left unfinished on her death in 1955. The book was completed by M-L von Franz. In the Grail legend, a unique blend of fairy-tale and Christian
legend, Emma Jung found a reflection of fundamental human problems and the dramatic psychic events which form the background of our Christian culture.
Richard Wagner: Parsifal: Cambridge Opera Handbook,, ed. Lucy Beckett, 1981, Cambridge Univ. Press, Cambridge UK. Lucy Beckett's account of the reception
history of Parsifal and Arnold Whittall's insightful comments on the score are the parts of this book that will be most useful to the reader. Some commentators have found Beckett's discussion of
Wagner's sources so incomplete as to be misleading, however, and her focus on what she saw as the Christian message of the drama, to the exclusion of other ethical and religious messages in the work,
presents the work as through a distorting lens.
Parsifal: Opera Guide 34,, ed. Nicholas John, 1986, John Calder Ltd./Riverrun Press Inc., London/NY. Some of the essays in this collection contain factual
errors and the others are simply impenetrable. The most interesting of them is a high-level analysis of the music by Robin Holloway. There is a useful thematic guide and a libretto, with Andrew Porter's
singable translation, indexed to the thematic guide.
Das Weltüberwindungswerk: Wagners Parsifal: ein szenisch- musikalisches Gleichnis der Philosophie Arthur Schopenhauers, Ulrike Kienzle,, 1992, Laaber-Verlag.
This book approaches the "Schopenhauerian parable" both from the viewpoint of Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung and from a Christian angle. Its main failure is to neglect other works by
Schopenhauer that are more directly relevant to Wagner's subject. The Buddhist aspects of the text are given little attention (but see below for more recent essays by the same author). Kienzle does recognize
that Kundry's curse is related to the Indian concept of Karma (or more correctly: merit), which Schopenhauer had regarded as eternal justice in religious clothing, and she has a view on
Kundry in relation to Schopenhauer's concept of the Will.
Wagner's Parsifal: The Journey of a Soul, Peter Bassett,, 2000, Wakefield Press, South Australia. A balanced and highly readable introduction to
Parsifal and its sources. Includes a free translation of the poem (libretto) into English.
Das Orchester muß wie die unsichtbare Seele sein: Richard Wagners Bemerkungen zum Parsifal: Aufgezeichnet während der Proben und Aufführungen 1882, Heinrich
Porges,, 2002, Rüdiger Pohl, Deutsche Richard Wagner Gesellschaft, Berlin. Working as an assistant to Richard Wagner during the rehearsals and performances of 1882, Porges made notes of instructions given by
Wagner and remarks that he made in rehearsals.
A Pagan Spoiled: Sex and Character in Wagner's Parsifal, Anthony Winterbourne,, 2003, Fairleigh Dickinson Univ. Press and Associated Univ. Presses,
Madison and London. When the author is not trying to substantiate Nike Wagner's claim that Geschlecht und Charakter -- the ultimate work of fin-de-siècle misogynism written by the deranged Otto
Weininger -- is the theoretical underpinning of Wagner's last drama, he makes some interesting observations about Parsifal. Unfortunately his pursuit of Nike Wagner's red herring tends to
reduce the author's credibility. But it's a good read.
A Companion to Wagner's Parsifal, William Kinderman and Katherine R. Syer,, 2005, Camden House (Boydell & Brewer Inc.). This fascinating books brings
together essays on a range of topics relating to Parsifal from the leading scholars in their fields. I cannot recommend this book too highly!
Wagner's Parsifal, William Kinderman,, Oxford University Press, 2013. For those readers who have already covered the basics, this book explores several
aspects of 'Parsifal' in depth. The central section of the book is a thorough study of Wagner's sketches for the opera and the revisions that he made between the first draft and the final score.
Versuch über Kundry: Facetten einer Figur, Chikako Kitagawa,, 2015, Peter Lang GmbH (Internationaler Verlag der Wissenschaften), Frankfurt am Main. Originally
Kitagawa's doctoral thesis (Freie Univ. Berlin 2013), this is a study of Kundry as a "figure" as the term is used in Drama Theory. The interpretation and reception of Kundry are examined and the book
concludes with studies of how Kundry was interpreted in recent stagings of Parsifal respectively directed by Robert Wilson (1991), Peter Konwitschny (1995), Christoph Schlingensief (2004) and
Calixto Bieito (2010).
Richard Wagner's Music Dramas, Carl Dahlhaus, tr. Mary Whittall, 1979, Cambridge Univ. Press, Cambridge UK. Contains a fascinating analysis of Parsifal.
Translated from Richard Wagners Musikdramen, 1971.
Acts, Wolfgang Wagner, John Brownjohn, 1994, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London.
Wagner, Michael Tanner,, 1996, Harper Collins, London.
The Wagners : The Dramas of a Musical Dynasty, originally: Wagner Theater (Suhrkamp: Frankfurt a.M. and Leipzig, 1999), Nike Wagner; English translation by
Ewald Osers and Michael Downes, 2001. Nike Wagner's superficial and misguided ideas about her great-grandfather's music dramas are revealed in this compilation of musico-dramatic criticism, family history
and self- promotion.
...daß wissend würde die Welt! Religion und Philosophie in Richard Wagners Musikdramen (Wagner in der Diskussion, Band I), 2005, Verlag Königshausen &
Neumann, Würzburg. A collection of essays — some already published elsewhere and some new — concerning Wagner's relationship with religions (Christian, Vedantic, Buddhist) and with philosophy (Hegel,
Feuerbach, Schopenhauer). While it is not an exhaustive treatment of these subjects, Kienzle has provided a valuable contribution to the Wagner literature and there are many insights revealed in her
Wagner Beyond Good and Evil, John Deathridge, Univ. of California Press, 2008, California and London. This collection of essays by a leading Wagner scholar
contains a wide-ranging and thought- provoking essay on Parsifal.
The Cradle of the Parsifal Legend, M. Unger, in Musical Quarterly, 1932, p.428-42. A speculative theory that the legend originated in Persia, supported by
mistranslation of Persian sources. The mistaken idea that the Perceval myth originated in Persia has lingered ever since.
Jüdische Theosophie in Richard Wagners Parsifal: Vom christlichen Antisemitismus zur ästhetischen Kabbala, Wolf-Daniel Hartwich, in Richard Wagner und
die Juden, ed. D. Borchmeyer, A. Maayani and S. Vill, Stuttgart and Weimar, 2000, p. 103-122. Hartwich seeks to demonstrate the influence of esoteric Jewish teachings on Parsifal.
Parsifal under the Bodhi Tree, Derrick Everett, in Wagner, 2001, p.67-92. Some people have welcomed this article as a useful guide to the Buddhist ideas in
Wagner's Parsifal. Now available on www.academia.edu for download.