Oberlin published several manuals on archaeology and ancient geography, and made frequent excursions into different provinces of France to investigate antiquarian remains and study provincial dialects, the result appearing in Essai sur le patois Lorrain (1775); Dissertations sur les Minnesingers (1782-1789); and Observations concernant le patois et les mceurs des gens de la campagne (1791).
In Tannhauser and Lohengrin Wagner's intellectual power develops far more rapidly in the drama than in the music. The Sangerkrieg, with its disastrous conflict between the sincere but unnatural asceticism of the orthodox Minnesingers and the irrepressible human passion of Tannhauser, is a conception the vitality of which would reduce Tannhauser's repentance to the level of Robert le Diable, were it not that the music of the Sangerkrieg has no structural power, and little distinction beyond a certain poetic value in the tones of violas which had long ago been fully exploited by Mozart and Mehul, while the music of Tannhauser's pilgrimage ranks with the Vorspiel to Lohengrin as a wonderful foreshadowing of Wagner's mature style.
He was fond of the society of men of letters, and Walther von der Vogelweide and other Minnesingers were welcomed to his castle of the Wartburg.
He gave a code of municipal law to Vienna, and rights to other towns, welcomed the Minnesingers to his brilliant court, and left to his subjects an enduring memory of valour and wisdom.
The naturalism of which we have been speaking found free utterance now in the fabliaux of jongleurs, lyrics of minnesingers, tales of trouveres, romances of Arthur and his knights - compositions varied in type and tone, but in all of which sincere passion and real enjoyment of life pierce through the thin veil of chivalrous mysticism or of allegory with which they were sometimes conventionally draped.
The tales of Lancelot and Tristram, the lives of the troubadours and the Wachtlieder of the minnesingers, sufficiently prove with what sensual freedom a knight loved the lady whom custom and art made him profess to worship as a saint.
Above the town to the south, is the historic Wartburg, the ancient castle of the landgraves of Thuringia, famous as the scene of the contest of Minnesingers immortalized in Wagner's Tannhauser, and as the place where Luther, on his return from the diet of Worms in 1521, was kept in hiding and made his translation of the Bible.
The history of the Godfreys and the Minnesingers can evidently not cover the life of the peoples.
And the history of the Godfreys and the Minnesingers has remained the history of Godfreys and Minnesingers, but the history of the life of the peoples and their impulses has remained unknown.