As a naive and innocent young man, Parzival encounters a group of noble knights in the forest. Overcome by the leading knight's shining armour, he assumes that the man must be a God. This key turning point in Parzival's life inspires him to seek to become a knight himself, and immediately he embarks upon a quest to find King Arthur's court and ultimately the Holy Grail. Through his journeys Parzival is to learn many unexpected lessons, discovering qualities of empathy, humility, compassion and ultimately true and selfless love. Filled with spiritual wisdom and artistic beauty, Parzival is one of the greatest works of world literature. In this concise, accessible introduction to the central Gail story, Eileen Hutchins describes the key characters, including Parzival's father Gamuret and mother Herzeleide, and relates the tale in outline. Her classic study also features commentary on the book's historical background, essays on its significance today, and a comparison with other Grail Romances.
Eschenbach is the first medieval poet to represent a character who has to win his way through trial and error, from ignorance to wisdom, and from fascination with the world of the senses to recognition of higher realms of experience. In this sense he is representative of modern man.' - from the Introduction