Though it doesn't explicitly mention this anywhere, I think it's quite apparent that this book was intended for children. Now, I don't have any kids, nor do I have any particular affinity for facile reading; however, I found this old book in a heap of discarded library books and figured, what the Hel! (not a typo, there; just an attempt at Norse humor)
For what it is, I thought this was a pretty enjoyable, and interesting little book. It is a synoptic narrative of Wagner's Ring Cycle
. It begins with a brief sketch of Wagner's life and career, continues for the majority of the book with the story of Siegmund, his offspring, and the trouble that the ring created. After the narrative ends, Bulla was kind enough to insert some music staffs and transcribe some of Wagner's more famous leitmotifs for the musically inclined. I believe this was the first time that, after finishing reading a book, I brought it over to my piano and starting playing along to the music that was printed at the end!
I don't think it would win any awards for children's books in this day and age, due to the copious amounts of violence doled out by the rather capricious characters, but I suppose it was written in a time when children were already greatly exposed to the moral ambiguities contained in Greco-Roman mythology, and thus weren't as likely to be offended; or should I say, their parents
weren't as likely to be offended. So considering all of that, I think it's well-written, and contains interesting tales from a mythology not often told--at least not where I live. It seems the Greeks have a monopolistic hold on our mythological wants.
Overall, I was quite pleased with this little jaunt into the mystical past of Northern Europe, and have had my appetite whetted for more. Perhaps I'll get around to the Eddur
, or the Nibelungenlied
, one day.