In this remarkable book, Collin Cleary defends Richard Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen against the claim that it "distorts" Germanic mythology. Wagner was a serious student of the myths and sagas of Northern Europe, and the Ring is surprisingly faithful to them. Wagner retells the traditional stories, revealing new layers of meaning. Indeed, of all the works that have preserved Germanic mythology, Wagner's Ring is the most beautiful and the most profound. Cleary includes a detailed account of the composer's use of the traditional sources. In addition, he offers a complete interpretation of the Ring, demonstrating Wagner's synthesis of German myth and German philosophy.