Parsifal’s motivic world ranges from Wolfram von Eschenbach’s epic of chivalry to Richard Wagner’s opera: from the knight as fool to the fool as saviour. The drawings by Georg Baselitz are studies for a production of Parsifal at the Munich State Opera (2018). They show how the artist zeroes in on his motifs and elaborates a character visually. In this collaborative book, Alexander Kluge responds to Baselitz’s drawings with stories in which he filters out individual elements from Eschenbach’s epic, such as Parsifal’s native wit or the figure of the Knight of the Cheerful Countenance. The result is an ongoing communication conducted over long periods of time: aspects of the Middle Ages can be found in the present. The volume concludes with Tristan Marquardt’s text “Excerpts from a Parsifal Lexicon”. By examining the metamorphosis of words, he shows how far our contemporary language has diverged from Eschenbach’s in terms of meaning and sound.
Georg Baselitz (b. 1938 in Deutschbaselitz) is a painter, sculptor, and graphic artist.
Alexander Kluge (b. 1932 in Halberstadt) is a screenwriter, film and TV producer, writer, philosopher, and one of the most influential exponents of New German Cinema.
Tristan Marquardt (b. 1987 in Göttingen) is a poet and scholar of Medieval German.