Page:The Grateful Dead.djvu/19

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3
A Review.

however, did he give an ordered account of the versions at his command or discuss the relation of the elements—a regrettable omission. The contributions of Liebrecht,[1] though less extensive, were of the same sort. In his article published in 1868 he said that he thought The Grateful Dead to be of European origin,[2] but he added nothing to our knowledge of the essential form of the story. The following decade saw the publication by Sepp of a rather brief account of the motive,[3] which was chiefly remarkable for its summary of classical and pre-classical references concerning the duty of burial. Like Stephens he assumed that the release of a maiden from the possession of demons was an essential part of the tale. In 1886 Cosquin brought the discussion one step further by showing[4] that the theme is sometimes found in combination with The Golden Bird and The Water of Life. He did not, however, attempt to define the original form of the story nor to trace its development.

By all odds the most adequate treatment that The Grateful Dead has yet received is found in Hippe's monograph, Untersuchungen zu der mittelenglischen Romanze von Sir Amadas, which appeared in 1888.[5] Not only did he gather together practically all the variants mentioned previous to that time and add some few new ones, but he studied the theme with such interpretative insight that anyone going over the same field would be tempted to offer an apology for what may seem superfluous labour. Such a follower, and all followers, must gratefully acknowledge their indebtedness to his labours.

  1. Heidelberger Jahrbücher der Lit. 1868, lxi. 449-452, 1872, lxv. 894 f.; Germania, xxiv. 132 f.
  2. P. 449.
  3. Altbayerischer Sagenschatz zur Bereicherung der indogermanischen Mythologie, 1876, pp. 678-689.
  4. Contes populaires de Lorraine, i. 214, 215.
  5. Archiv f. d. Stud. d. neueren Sprachen, lxxxi. 141-183.