Originally published in 1981, this is a one-volume paperback edition of Dr von Westernhagen's distinguished biography, first published in English by Cambridge University Press as a hardcover edition in two volumes. Its distinction was that it made use of fresh archive material, and took as its starting point the supreme greatness of Wagner's artistry. Dr von Westerhagen quotes extensively from letters and diaries to throw light, for example, on Wagner's estrangement from Nietzsche. The author also consulted the contents of the composer's Dresden library and teenage composition exercises written for his teacher, Theodor Weinlig, to establish early influences upon him. Particularly useful features of this study are the appendices which include a chronological summary of Wagner's life, a complete list of his musical and literary compositions and a large bibliography. This is a definitive biography which stands beside Newman's classic work as an indispensable reference book for all studies of Wagner.