This is the first literal, word-for-word translation of Wagners epic masterwork with the full German text. It is at once reliable and readable, adhering closely to the original verse form and to Wagners poetic intentions. The German text is given in parallel, and Spencer also contributes illuminating footnotes and an introductory essay. Specially commissioned essays discuss the Cycles musical structure, its philosophical implications, its medieval sources and Wagners own changing attitude to its meaning. An appendix of Wagners rejected versions, copious notes on the translation, a glossary of the names of characters in the Ring, an extensive bibliography and reviews of CD- and video-recordings conclude the volume. Illustrations include specimens of Wagners MSS and photographs of historic productions.