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Lohengrin (lōˈən-grĭn) [key], in medieval German story, a knight of the Holy Grail, son of Parzival. He is sent to rescue Princess Elsa of Brabant from an unwanted suitor. Led to Antwerp by a swan, Lohengrin saves Elsa and marries her. She is forbidden to ask his identity, but, overcome by curiosity, she asks. As a result, Lohengrin must return to the castle of the Grail. The swan reappears and is revealed to be Elsa's brother. In its fullest form the story is treated in a German epic poem composed c.1285–1290 and ascribed to Wolfram von Eschenbach by its unknown author. Wagner based his libretto for the opera Lohengrin (1850) on this source. The swan's metamorphosis is also a theme in classical, Celtic, and other mythologies.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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