Oswald von Wolkenstein

Oswald von Wolkenstein

One of the most important composer-versifiers of the German Renaissance, Oswald von Wolkenstein (1376/7-1445) served for many years as a diplomat and military commander to Emperor Sigismund.

Songs from a Single Eye

The one-eyed singer, songwriter, and knight errant Oswald von Wolkenstein (surname literally “Cloud-Stone”) was among the last of the great troubadours. A contemporary of Villon, versed in Petrarch, and a Knight of the Holy Sepulchre, Wolkenstein was lost to history until scholarship in the 1970s recognized him as the German language’s first genuinely autobiographical lyric voice. In the hands of the magician-translator Richard Sieburth, working in the spirited tradition of Ezra Pound and Paul Blackburn, Wolkenstein’s verse rises from the page like a medieval Bob Dylan.…
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Oswald has the kind of poetic personality that especially appealed to the great modernist – the individuality that makes for true invention.

—Clive Wilmer, Times Literary Supplement
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