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[humanities.music.composers.wagner] Wagner Books FAQ
Section - B. Wagner's Influence

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%T Darwin, Marx, Wagner : Critique of a Heritage 
%A Jacques Barzun
%D 1981
%C Chicago
%I Univ. of Chicago Press
%G ISBN 0 2260 3859 9 ; CT105 .B33
%X Among the subjects discussed in the book are Wagner's relationships
with Berlioz, Liszt and Nietzsche, and his influence on literature and
artistic life in Germany and England respectively.
%O Originally published in 1941 by Little, Brown and Co., Boston


%T Wagner and Debussy
%A Robin Holloway
%D 1979
%C London
%I Eulenburg
%G ISBN 0 9038 7325 7
%X


%T Musica Ficta : Figures of Wagner
%M French *
%A Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe
%F Felicia McCarren
%D 1994
%C Stanford
%I Stanford Univ. Press
%G ISBN 0 8047 2385 0 hbk, 0 8047 2376 1 pbk ; ML410.W19 L213 1994
%X The title of this book is deceptive: although Wagner is very much
present in the first of the four essays, he progressively fades away
in the remaining three. The first essay deals with the impact of
Wagner's music on Baudelaire, who wrote an extraordinary letter to the
composer after first hearing excerpts from four of Wagner's operas at
a concert in 1860. He declared them "sublime". It is interesting to
note that this initial reaction was to Wagner's music as absolute
music and not in the context of the 'Gesamtkunstwerk', and so not to
the Wagnerian program itself. If not already, then before writing his
'Richard Wagner and Tannhäuser in Paris' a year later, Baudelaire had
read an article in which Wagner summarised his theoretical ideas.
Lacoue-Labarthe (or his translator) refers to it as the 'Letter on
Music' but it might be better known to the reader as 'Zukunftmusik' or
'The Music of the Future'. The second essay concerns Mallarmé, who was
expressing opinions about Wagner before he had heard a note of his
music; although Mallarmé had read both Baudelaire's essay and
'Zukunftmusik'. Those who find Mallarmé's prose opaque should not
expect Lacoue-Labarthe to provide illumination. 
  The next essay is about Heidegger's views on art. Although Wagner is
scarcely mentioned in Heidegger's works -- neither is music -- the
author has found one place where he is discussed: in a series of
lectures on Nietzsche's ideas about art and aesthetics, 'The Will to
Power as Art', which Lacoue-Labarthe explores together with an almost
contemporary essay by Heidegger, 'On the Origin of the Art-work'. It
is not always easy to tell when the author is discussing Nietzsche's
thought and when he is discussing Heidegger's thoughts inspired by
Nietzsche; and to complicate matters further, the discussion is
grounded in Hegel's theory of the historical development of art and
aesthetics. The essay touches on such interesting questions as whether
Wagner's post- 1850 dramas were an artistic project or an aesthetic
one, whether this project was "a failure", and whether Nietzsche's
break with Wagner was justified on philosophical grounds. Heidegger
claimed that it was a historical necessity, and in particular a
necessity of German history.
  The last essay is about Adorno and contains few mentions of Wagner,
which is perhaps just as well. It starts out in the direction of a
general discussion of the relative importance of words and music in
opera (the theme of Strauss' 'Capriccio') but soon focuses on a late
(1963) essay by Adorno, one concerning Schoenberg's 'Moses and Aaron',
and ends up considering this opera in relation to Hegel's concept of
the sublime. The author's connection of this essay to Hölderlin's
theory of tragedy is clever rather than explanatory and his comparison
of Schoenberg's opera to 'Parsifal' is superficial; it would have been
more interesting to read a discussion of whether Adorno's arguments
about 'Moses' also could be applied to 'Tannhäuser'.
 Although one can sympathise with a translator who has to render a 
work filled with philosophical terminology from French, and in
addition cope with extensive quotations from works originally
published in German, the result could be described as polyglot and
must be read with some care. It would have helped if the translator
had taken more care with near- cognates; for example, by writing
*Affekt* rather than (as noun) affect. As far as I know, there is no
such word in English as "historial" (which is used throughout the
book); the correct translation of "geschichtliche" is, historical or
historic. It does not help that the author delights not only in using
Greek words (such as mimesis =representation; agôn, anamnesis ="the
remembrance of things past", eidos, ekphanastathon, épistèmè,
katharsis, lexis, metexis, mousiké, phainesthai, physis, polémos,
propos, tekhnè, topos, tupein, haplè diègèsis) and quoting from St.
John's Gospel but also in using words derived from Greek roots (such
as, eidetic). Those readers who have forgotten their Greek should have
a dictionary close to hand. 
%O French original was published in 1991.  Table of contents:
< http://www.loc.gov/catdir/toc/cam028/94015594.html >


%T Richard Wagner : The Terrible Man and His Truthful Art: The 1998 
Larkin-Stuart Lectures
%A M. Owen Lee
%D 1999
%C Toronto and New York
%I University of Toronto Press
%G ISBN 0 8020 4721 1 ; ML410.W13 L44 1999
%X Discusses various aspects of Wagner and his influence.

  

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