In 1848 Richard Wagner began what would become the largest stage work of his career, the Ring of the Nibelung. In preparation for the task he composed an overview of the Nibelung myth designed to lead to a drama; he then composed the verse "libretto" Siegfried's Death. Although he abandoned the idea of a single opera on Siegfried in favor of the huge project that developed out of it in the succeeding years -- the Ring cycle -- he did consider the two early documents important enough to include them in his collected works. The present volume seeks to inform the English-speaking reader in three ways: by providing modern, reliable translations of the two Wagner texts, which are otherwise not available (the German original is provided on facing pages); by furnishing an overview of German scholarship available to Wagner and others working on the Nibelung legend in the first half of the nineteenth century; and by making available a bibliography of further reading. The volume will be useful to students of musicology, to students and historians of myth and legend, and to all Wagnerians interested in the genesis of the Ring cycle. Accessible to the general reader, it maintains scholarly rigor and provides information about materials not available in English. Edward R. Haymes is Professor in the Department of Modern Languages atCleveland State University.