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Drama and the World of Richard Wagner - Dieter Borchmeyer

Drama and the World of Richard Wagner

By: Dieter Borchmeyer, Daphne Ellis (Translator)

Hardcover Published: 30th November 2003
ISBN: 9780691114972
Number Of Pages: 416

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Richard Wagner continues to be the most controversial artist in history, a perpetually troubling figure in our cultural consciousness. The unceasing debate over his works and their impact--for and against--is one reason why there has been no genuinely comprehensive modern account of his musical dramas until now. Dieter Borchmeyer's book is the first to present an overall picture of these musical dramas from the standpoint of literary and theatrical history. It extends from the composer's early works--still largely ignored--to the "Ring Cycle and Parsifal," and includes Wagner's unfinished works and operas he never set to music. Through lively prose, we come to see Wagner as a librettist--and as a man of letters--rather than primarily as musical composer.

Borchmeyer uncovers a vast field of cultural and historical cross-references in Wagner's works. In the first part of the book, he sets out in search of the various archetypal scenes, opening up the composer's dramatic workshop to the reader. He covers all of Wagner's operas, from early juvenilia to the canonical later works.

The second part examines Wagner in relation to political figures including King Ludwig II and Bismarck, and, importantly, in light of critical reactions by literary giants--Thomas Mann, whom Borchmeyer calls "a guiding light in this exploration of the fields that Wagner tilled," and Nietzsche, whose appeal to "philology" is a key source of inspiration in attempts to grapple with Wagner's works.

For more than twenty years, Borchmeyer has placed his scholarship at the service of the famed Bayreuth Festival. With this volume, he gives us a summation of decades of engagement with the phenomenon of Wagner and, at the same time, the result of an abiding critical passion for his works.

Industry Reviews

"Borchmeyer ... program annotator for the Bayreuth Festival where Wagner's music dramas are famously showcased each year, considers the whole range of those works--characters, themes, literary sources, political and ideological contexts--in a straightforward yet exhaustively researched and well documented manner."--Symphony "Dieter Borchmeyer provides unique insights into the Wagnerian outlook and purpose, insights not likely encountered elsewhere."--Clifford D. Alper, Opera Journal

Prefacep. vii
Love's Madness, Fairy-Tale Enchantment, and a Sicilian Carnivalp. 1
On the Uses and Disadvantages of History for the Music Drama-Grand Opera Die hohe Braut Rienzi and Their Consequencesp. 29
The Transformations of Ahasuerus: The Flying Dutchman and His Metamorphosesp. 79
Venus in Exile: Tannhuuml;user between Romanticism and Young Germanyp. 101
Lohengrin: The Mythical Palimpsest of Wagner's Last Romantic Operap. 147
Love and Objectification in the Music Drama: Tristan's Isolde and Her Sistersp. 157
Nuremberg as an Aesthetic State: Die Meistersinger, an Image and Counterimage of Historyp. 180
The Myth of the Beginning and End of History: Der Ring des Nibelungenp. 212
Redemption and Apocatastasis: Parsifal and the Religion of the Late Wagnerp. 238
An Encounter between Two Anomaliesp. 261
Wagner and Bismarck: An Epoch-Making Nonrelationshipp. 279
Two-Faced Passion: Nietzsche's Critique of Wagnerp. 288
Parallel Action: Thomas Mann's Response to Wagnerp. 308
The Disinherited Heir to the Throne Franz Wilhelm Beidler Wagner's "Lost Grandson"-a Postludep. 329
Notesp. 338
Indexp. 383
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780691114972
ISBN-10: 0691114978
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 416
Published: 30th November 2003
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.5 x 15.2  x 1.91
Weight (kg): 0.73