Today I spent the afternoon in the antique stores downtown and picked up quite a few books.
One of the books is from 1892 and in German. I, unforunately, don’t speak German, so I have no idea what’s going on.
The title page says (as typed out without any accent marks):
Oh, the back of the book also has a handwritten note in pencil, but it’s really difficult to make out. The handwritting is awful, plus the page has stains. There are also two pictures stuck in the back jacket-- one is a giant cart of wheat being pulled by a few cows or ox, then a big house with people on the porch. Both pictures aren’t exactly black and white, moreso blue and white (if that makes any sense) and on old paper. So Dopers, help?
It appears to be a reprint of Lachman’s “Der Nibelunge Noth und die Klage nach der ältesten Überlieferung mit Bezeichnung des Unechten und mit den Abweichungen der gemeinen Lesart” (Berlin : Reimer, 1826). More specifically, the eleventh impression.
The Niebelungen (“problem”? old spelling of Not?) and the (Complaint/Grievance/ Argument)
According to the oldest copy/tradition
Edited by Lachman
11th edition of the text
Press and Publisher Georg Reimer
capybara pretty much got it. “Noth” is indeed an old spelling of “Not,” meaning misery. “Klage” can mean “action” in a legal context, but it has a lot of other meanings, among them grievance.
It’s a 19th century edition of the Nibelungenlied, a German epic from the 13th century telling, among others, the heroic story of Siegfried and his wife Kriemhild. In this context, “Klage” refers to a particular part of, or annex to, the Nibelungenlied.
During the 19th century, medieval literature was very popular in Germany (architecture as well, resulting in the completion of uncompleted Gothic cathedrals). The Nibelungenlied was an important source of inspiration for the operas of Richard Wagner.
Schnitte has already explained (and there’s the wikipedia link about the Nibelungenlied itself), so I just wanted to add that, in terms of National importance, the Nibelungenlied, as one of the oldest, and dramatic songs/stories, might be compared to the Beowulf song/poem for the English.