The Ambiguity of otherness in adaptations of the Nibelungen myth: "Das Nibelungenlied" and Fritz Lang's "Die Nibelungen".




Bickert, Neale G.

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Over eight hundred years ago anonymous poets set the orally transmitted Nibelungen myth to parchment. This action started a trend of adapting the myth for contemporary audiences, a trend that has lasted since the High Middle Ages. Since then, the Nibelungen myth has become a sustaining element of the self-mythologization of German national identity. The problem, however, with adapting the Nibelungen myth for the purpose of creating a German identity, be it in the medieval epic, the Nibelungenlied, or Fritz Lang's 1924 film, Die Nibelungen, is that this model of identification is flawed – flawed because it consists of systematic binary divisions positing self-other dichotomies. What becomes evident is that in the adaptations of Nibelungen myth, the representations of alterity are contradictory and ambiguous, provoking the question: why is the Nibelungen myth an effective source from which one can project a national identity?



Nibelungenlied, Fritz Lang, Orientalism, Gender, Otherness, Alterity, Middle Ages, Nationalism, Nibelungen, Weimar, höfisch, myth, national identity, ambiguity