Talk:Der Erlkönig

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There's a duplicate of this article at Erlking.

Actually, not.

Reorganization needed[edit]

Why was Schubert's Erlkonig merged with this article? Schubert's Erlkonig definitely needs its own page. This would be like merging Beethoven's 9th with the poem upon which its 4th movement's text is based. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:18, 30 January 2013 (UTC)

This article should be reorganized to place Goethe's text and the summary earlier. There are too many references to later works before the poem and legend on which they draw have been introduced properly. Having contributed a couple of these myself, I shall attempt this reorganization in a few weeks if no one else has done so. Paul Emmons (talk) 21:52, 19 November 2007 (UTC)

Der Erlkonig/translation[edit]

This is possibly the worst translation ever. Every line translates differently than what is written. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:10, 1 August 2008 (UTC)

I just wanted to say that it was mentioned that the word 'Hof' means yard. But in the old german language, and still used in the south of germany, 'Hof' actually means Farm. I know this since I was born and raised in Germany. Hudsonhopp 03:56, 30 November 2006 (UTC)Hudsonhopp

Sort of wondering where the translation came from? Do some of the words have slightly different meaning in older german? If not, is this considered a standard translation? Otherwise I would take issue with the way some of the lines are translated, some of them are slightly missing the mark. For example "mit Müh' und Not" means something more like "with great difficulty". Anyone who speaks German possibly better than I do care to weigh in?(edit: I decided to just make the changes I was relatively certain of.)

Personally, I like the translation on Wikisource more (I am from Germany). The claim "The reader must explore the possibility that the father's control of his son is hurtful and, perhaps, malicious." is pretty dubious, "Er hält den Jungen wohl in dem Arm, er hält ihn sicher, er hält ihn warm" is very positive, there is nothing hurtful in there. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:48, 1 October 2007 (UTC)

if any father cannot protect his son against evil, is always hurtful, despite his greatest efforts to protect him and we all should know, that being overprotective can be malicious...

I am a native german speaker and can rest assure you: "erreicht den hof mit mueh und not" means nothing else than: "he barely reaches home with his last efforts". where "mit Mühe und Not = barely, with (great) difficulty (Microsoft LexiROM)" was used for the rhyme: "Not/Tod". In these old days (Goethe 1749-1832) most homes were farms, we can assume that the father was a farmer (riding in the country at night), but he also could have lived in a city, then "hof" would mean "yard" and not "farm". see again LexiROM: "Hof m 1. yard, (Innenhof) a. court(yard), (Hinterhof) backyard.... 2. (Bauernhof) farm. for the poem the exact meaning is unimportant. Best translation is "home" (albeit not exact). so please replace the last but one line with: "he reaches home with the greatest difficulty - with his last - supreme - efforts" (sorry, my german is perfect but my english is too poor)Scyriacus (talk) 14:29, 18 January 2008 (UTC)

I second this. Hof can even mean a Royal Court! But home is most accurate.

I am native german speaker aswell and my english is far from beeing perfect, but i think the translation is really awfull, sorry. I just found an english translation (which is not so literal but keeps the sense and reflects the tension much better) by Sir Walter Scott (e.g. here As this honorable man has died far over 100 years ago, his translation should no longer be copyright protected (or is it? i am no lawyer..). I would propose to use his translation instead. (talk) 13:19, 6 June 2008 (UTC)

I've copied the translation in Wikisource into this article. It's somewhat better than the previous version, but I think it also has some issues. Magicpiano (talk) 14:01, 8 October 2008 (UTC)

The Danish work Herder based his poem on[edit]

I'm not familiar with this particular work, but if it is true that Herder was inspired by a Danish work, then the Danish title should be included. The text makes it look like "Erlkönigs Tochter" is Danish, when it in fact is German. In old Danish, "Erlkönig" would be "Ellekonge" / "Elverkonge" so I guess that the work must have to do with "Elverskud" / "Elleskud" or something closely related. "Erlkönigs Tochter" would be "Ellekongens Datter" in Danish, but I'm not sure if the title was translated directly. Valentinian (talk) / (contribs) 21:43, 27 January 2007 (UTC)

Albert Sterner drawing[edit]

Can anyone point me to a source for the drawing "The Earlking" shown in this article? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 01:09, 11 March 2007 (UTC).


should this not somehow be linked into a section on romanticism? although Goethe didnt like to admit it ("i call the classic the healthy, the romantic the sickly"), this poem is the epitomy of romantic literature

I think the poem belongs to Goethe's youthfully romantic period, the Sturm und Drang years. His later classicism had an element of reaction against his unbridled youth, in life and writing. - The article really needs some reorganizing and a more orderly structure. (talk) 11:17, 3 December 2013 (UTC)

Erlkönig = Earl King?[edit]

It seems possible to me, I mean it's not a big jump from Erl to Earl.Cameron Nedland 19:52, 20 June 2007 (UTC)

No, the German for "Earl" is "Graf". Hairy Dude 21:57, 11 July 2007 (UTC)
I'm pretty sure it's something like Elf King. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:16, 30 January 2013 (UTC)
Absolutely not, learn some Danish. Earl and King are and always have been two completely different ranks, it's only the US which has reduced the title to a name, so that translation is not only lazy, it's nonsense. In addition, a long list of similar works catgorises the poor relationship between elves and men, such as True Thomas, False Knight... — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:23, 19 February 2013 (UTC)

No References[edit]

Lots of dubious claims are made in the article [citation needed] with no citations to back them up. Appropriate tag inserted!

Well, yes; some of the analysis crosses the line on original research as well, or is that what you meant? You can tag individual instances by placing {{fact}} after them (as I just did in your first sentence :-)). And you can sign your posts by typing four tildas thus: ~~~~ Sparafucil (talk) 00:55, 7 June 2008 (UTC)

WikiProject class rating[edit]

This article was automatically assessed because at least one WikiProject had rated the article as start, and the rating on other projects was brought up to start class. BetacommandBot 13:35, 9 November 2007 (UTC)

'father's control of his son is malicious'[edit]

i would suggest the note on the potentially hurtful/malicious father to be deleated. i know there are people somewhere out there who actually read this into the poem (often enough combined with a homosexual father), but really, there is NO WAY a sober mind can come up with this's like putting a note on the neil armstrong page about the possibility he's never actually set foot on the moon...

good argument! did you see him setting foot? and on what? or do you believe in every stunt from hollywood? and is a father who loves his son a pedophile? Scyriacus (talk) 15:00, 18 January 2008 (UTC)

"Manch" translation[edit]

Rather than edit-warring on the translation of a single word, I decided I better look closely at the definition, since in my own usage patterns, the word "manch" doesn't mean "many".

My Oxford-Duden lists the following definitions (among others that seem less relevant):

  1. "manch" == "many a": "manch ein Beamter" == "many an official"
  2. "manche" == "some; many"
  3. "manches" == "a number of things; all kinds of things"

I interpret this to mean that both translations ("some" and "many") may be correct; how to tell which Goethe meant? The previous uses of "manch" in the verse more clearly imply large quantity; I therefor concur with "many golden robes".

Es wäre eigentlich wahr, daß manches kompliziert sei. Prost! Magic♪piano 19:40, 26 October 2008 (UTC)

Back to basic grammar. Manch is at root an adjectival article (case 1) and declines correspondingly (case 2), and from the neuter case you can extract a generic noun (case 3). You have to read it in context, as ever: It may be evidently true that much might be complicated.

The Music Score Image[edit]

The image of the score does not transcribe the music accurately. The quavers are in triplets in the original. In the score image they are eight in a bar which is incorrect as most performances are concerned. --Farzaneh (talk) 11:58, 24 February 2012 (UTC)

I suggest you take that up with the guy who penned that score. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 13:41, 24 February 2012 (UTC)
I'm afraid his help might raise reliability issues :-/ This is what Mandyczewski calls the 3rd version (the 4th being that published as Opus 1) and there is another autograph at the IMSLP external link. I think that the caption could explain at least a little of this! Sparafucil (talk) 04:31, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
There seems to be several pre-publication manuscripts. The one on the article differs from the final published version in the use of triplets. Here is another manuscripts by the composer, perhaps newer, which has triplets everywhere. This one has a date on it, but I couldn't find a date for the other one. It could be helpful to add a description in the caption, but we need to find a reliable source that has compared the two versions to quote. --Farzaneh (talk) 11:17, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
Another manuscript by the composer

List of adapted works[edit]

Per WP:PRESERVE and a discussion underway at this time at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/The ErlKing (film), I've taken the content blanked here and created a list of adapted works, which has been pruned a bit by me but certainly needs more work. I'll add it to this main article as a See also. It may also alleviate the need for so many hatnote links. Shawn in Montreal (talk) 15:19, 3 August 2014 (UTC)


I wonder why the article is Der Erlkönig, while the German article is Erlkönig, and our lead says the same. --Gerda Arendt (talk) 22:51, 19 September 2014 (UTC)

Too lazy to move and to think of an appropriate disambiguator (Erlkönig is already taken and has incoming links). Erlkönig (Goethe) or Erlkönig (poem) don't quite cover the scope of this article. But you're are correct; be bold. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 07:01, 20 September 2014 (UTC)
Thank you ;) - Magnificat in my sandbox, more important at present, in memory. --Gerda Arendt (talk) 11:44, 20 September 2014 (UTC)