In my reading, I just came across the following sentence. I love that Gilmore girls just managed to seep into my reading of an article from the 1920s. It also made me realize that a lot of people don't know where the name Lorelai/Lorelei comes from. Consider yourself schooled, folks!
"In his blinking eyes she became an amalgam of all the Loreleis, with the Rum Demon peeping over her shoulder."
A Good Man Gone Wrong
First printed in The Baltimore Evening Sun (January 2, 1928)
The Lorelei (also spelled Loreley) (German pronunciation: [loːʁəˈlaɪ]) is a rock on the eastern bank of the Rhine near St. Goarshausen, Germany, which soars some 120 metres above the waterline. It marks the narrowest part of the river between Switzerland and the North Sea. A very strong current and rocks below the waterline have caused many boat accidents there.
Lorelei is also the name of a feminine water spirit, similar to mermaids or Rhine maidens, associated with this rock in popular folklore and in works of music, art and literature.
The name comes from the old German words "lureln" (Rhine dialect for "murmuring") and the Celtic term "ley" (rock). The translation of the name would therefore be: "murmur rock" or "murmuring rock". The heavy currents, and a smallwaterfall in the area (still visible in the early 19th century) created a murmuring sound, and this combined with the special echo the rock produces which acted as a sort of amplifier, giving the rock its name. The murmuring is hard to hear today owing to the urbanization of the area. Other theories attribute the name to the many accidents, by combining the German verb "lauern" (to lurk, lie in wait) with the same "ley" ending, with the translation "lurking rock".
The rock and the murmur it creates have inspired various tales. An old legend envisioned dwarves living in caves in the rock.
In 1801 German author Clemens Brentano composed his ballad Zu Bacharach am Rheine as part of a fragmentary continuation of his novel Godwi oder Das steinerne Bild der Mutter. It first told the story of an enchanting female associated with the rock. In the poem, the beautiful Lore Lay, betrayed by her sweetheart, is accused of bewitching men and causing their death. Rather than sentence her to death, the bishop consigns her to a nunnery. On the way thereto, accompanied by three knights, she comes to the Lorelei rock. She asks permission to climb it and view the Rhine once again. She does so and falls to her death; the rock still retained an echo of her name afterwards. Brentano had taken inspiration from Ovid and theEcho myth.
In 1824 Heinrich Heine seized on and adapted Brentano's theme in one of his most famous poems, Die Lore-Ley. It describes the titular female as a sort of siren who, sitting on the cliff above the Rhine and combing her golden hair, unwittingly distracted shipmen with her beauty and song, causing them to crash on the rocks. In 1837 Heine's lyrics were set to music by Friedrich Silcher in a song that became well known in German-speaking lands. A setting by Franz Liszt was also favored, and over a score of other musicians have set the poem to music.
The Loreley character, although originally imagined by Brentano, passed into German popular culture in the form described in the Heine-Silcher song and is commonly but mistakenly believed to have originated in an old folk tale. The French writer Guillaume Apollinaire took up the theme again in his poem "La Loreley".