The Rhine at the Loreley
The Rhine at the Loreley via Wikipedia

Lorelei is a Germanic enchantress or mermaid whose melodious song drew sailors over reefs to their doom.

Lorelei began as a literary figure created by Klemens Brentano at the turn of the 19th century. This “Lore Lay”

is falsely accused of maliciously bewitching men and driving them to ruin; later pardoned and on the way to a nunnery she passes and climbs the Lorelei rock, watching out for the lover who abandoned her, and falls to her death; the rock still retained an echo of her name afterwards. Brentano had taken inspiration from Ovid and the Echo myth.¹

She soon became the object of poetry and legend throughout England, to the extent that a myth arose concerning a tall, echoing rock in the Rhine river-the “Lorelei Rock.”

Lorelei has also been recounted in song, from composers as diverse as the virtuoso Franz Liszt to the pop stars Styx and the underground hipsters the Cocteau Twins.

¹ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lorelei


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