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[] Wagner Books FAQ
Section - B. Biographies of Richard Wagner

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In addition to some of the biographies listed here, marked with (P),
Deathridge and Dahlhaus include among the "principal biographies",
those by M. Koch ("Richard Wagner", Berlin, 1907-18), and M. Fehr
("Richard Wagners Schweitzer Zeit", Aarau/Leipzig 1934 and
Arrau/Frankfurt a.M., 1954), neither of which appear to have been
translated into English.

B1 - Major biographies

%T Richard Wagner : His Life in His Work
%T Wagner: Das Leben im Werke
%M German *
%A Paul Bekker
%F M. M. Bozman
%D 1981 (reprint)
%C Westport, Conn.
%I Greenwood Press
%G ISBN 0 8371 3443 9 ; ML410.W13 B243 1971
%X This is a highly readable biography of the old-fashioned, romantic
kind. While some details have been corrected by later scholarship,
this does not detract from the value of the book as an introduction to
Wagner's life and work. Each chapter concentrates on one or more of
the thirteen operas, providing biographical background and introducing
the opera, in the order in which the music was written. Thus one
chapter is devoted to the creation of the 'Ring', while later chapters
provide the background to 'Siegfried' act 3 and 'Götterdämmerung'
respectively; one chapter is devoted to the creation of 'Tannhäuser'
and a later chapter considers the rewrite for Paris (the 'Venusberg')
and ensuing scandal.
  Bekker is particularly insightful on Wagner's music: he was, for
example, the first to observe that the motif 'Welterbschaft'
(Inheritance of the World) -- he calls it "the Siegfried melody"
(p.397) -- which appears for the first time in S-3-i and for the last
time in the closing bars of the tetralogy, is closely related to the
march of the Master- singers. He did not know, however, that this
theme had been conceived for 'Die Sieger' (see Osthoff, below).
Although Bozman has retained the original German in Bekker's
quotations from Wagner's poems, he provides English translations only
from "singable" versions (variously by Newman and Corder), which, by
diverging from the meaning of the German, can only serve to mislead
and confuse the reader. 
%O Original version was published in 1924 and the translation in 1931.

%T Richard Wagner : His Life and Works from 1813 to 1834 (P)
%A Mary Banks Burrell
%A John N. Burk (ed)
%D 1972 (reprint)
%C London
%I Vienna House Inc
%G ISBN 0 8443 0031 4 ; ML410.W1 B82 (1898)
%X An account of Wagner's early life compiled from original letters,
manuscripts, the first three volumes of Wagner's autobiography and
other documents by Mrs Burrell née Banks and illustrated with
portraits and facsimiles. See also (section VI) the edition of letters
collected by Mrs. Burrell. Ernest Newman wrote the following
concerning Mrs. Burrell: "About 1883, the year of Wagner's death, the
Hon. Mrs. Burrell began collecting material for a life of the
composer. She managed to obtain from the widow of Bonfantini, the
Italian printer in Basle who, between 1870 and 1875, had set up the
private edition of 'Mein Leben' (limited to fifteen copies), an extra
copy of that work which Bonfantini had surreptitiously struck off for
his own benefit. 'Mein Leben' set Mrs. Burrell on the track of a
number of people mentioned therein who were still alive, or whose
heirs would be likely to possess valuable Wagner documents. She
acquired a large number of these documents..." Unfortunately Mrs.
Burrell died in 1898 after completing only this first volume of her
Wagner biography.
%O Originally published in 1898 by A. Wyon, London.

%T Richard Wagner : With photogravures and collotypes, facsimiles and 
%T Richard Wagner : Mit zahlreichen Porträts, Faksimiles, 
Illustrationen und Beilagen
%M German *
%A Houston Stewart Chamberlain
%F George Ainslie Hight
%D 1897, 1900
%C Philadelphia, London
%I J.B. Lippincott, J. M. Dent & Co.
%V 2 vols.
%G ML410.W1 C41
%X Chamberlain, who never met Richard Wagner, would marry Eva Wagner 
in 1908 and become a central figure in the "Bayreuth Circle". He was
born an English aristocrat but took German nationality. He is best
known for his book 'Grundlagen des 19. Jahrhunderts', which described
human history in terms of racial struggles. Chamberlain's
interpretation of Wagner, from a viewpoint of anti-modernism and
racial prejudice, can be seen as one step towards his subsequent
adoption by the Nazi movement. For biographical information see
'Evangelist of Race: the Germanic Vision of Houston Stewart
Chamberlain', Geoffrey G. Field, Columbia Univ. Press, 1981.
%O German original published by F. Bruckmann (Verlagsanstalt für Kunst 
und Wissenschaft) in 1896, Munich. This edition reprinted 1915 and 

%T Life of Richard Wagner : Being an Authorized English Version of 
'Das Leben Richard Wagners' (P)
%M Earlier chapters originally written by Glasenapp in German. *
%A William Ashton Ellis
%A Carl Friedrich Glasenapp
%D 1977 (reprint)
%C London
%I Da Capo Press Inc
%V 6 vols.
%G ML410.W1 G6 (1900), ML410.W1 G533 1977
%X The first part of Glasenapp's biography translated into English and
enlarged by Wm. Ashton Ellis. Glasenapp is generally regarded as
having continued the process of myth-making that Wagner himself began
in 'Mein Leben' and he has been accused of hagiography. Wagner himself
said that if he had not been an artist then he would have liked to
have become a saint -- but precisely because he was an artist, he
could not also be a saint. Despite its subtitle, Ellis' book only
follows Glasenapp for its first three volumes.
%O Ellis's biography was originally published 1900-08, Kegan Paul,
Trench, Trübner & Co., London. Glasenapp's biography was first
published in 1894. For the electronic edition of Glasenapp's biog-
raphy, see section XII below.

%T Wagner and His Works : the Story of his Life, with Critical Comments
%A Henry Theophilus Finck
%D 1968 (reprint)
%C Westport, Conn.
%I Greenwood Press
%V 2 vols.
%G ISBN 1 4047 9097 7 ; ML410.W1 F3 (1893)
%X Henry T. Finck was the music editor of "The New York Evening Post".  
A review of this book, from 1893, appears in "The Wagner Library" at: 
< >.
%O Originally published in 1893 by Charles Scribner's Sons, NY, and by 
H. Grevel and Co, London.

%T Richard Wagner : His Life, His Work, His Century (P)
%T Richard Wagner : sein Leben, sein Werk, sein Jahrhundert
%M German *
%A Martin Gregor-Dellin
%F J. Maxwell Brownjohn
%D 1983
%C London, San Diego
%I Collins, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich
%G ML410.W1 G73413 1983
%X Abridged version of the German original, Munich 1980. With 
%O For the electronic edition of the German text, see section XII 

%T Richard Wagner : The Man, His Mind and His Music (P)
%A Robert W. Gutman
%D 1990 (revised edition)
%C London and San Diego; Toronto
%I Harcourt Brace Jovanovich
%G ISBN 0 1402 1168 3 pbk (1971), 0 1567 7615 4 pbk (1990) ; ML410.W1 
G83 1990
%X Gutman has been criticized by Wagner scholars for selective and
inaccurate quotation, for misrepresenting his sources and for his
bizarre interpretations of Wagner's operas. Despite this, his book has
been very popular in the USA, where it has poisoned the minds of an
entire generation. Some Wagnerians, including the editor of this FAQ,
believe that Gutman has done great damage through his influence on
other authors (such as Rose, Weiner and Köhler) and on producers who
have staged Wagner's works.
 Gutman's account of Wagner's life is consistently inaccurate and 
often highly misleading. He gets the facts wrong about Wagner's birth,
his death and much that happened in-between. His portrayal of the "the
man" could be considered defamatory. As far as "his mind" is
concerned, Gutman portrays Wagner as a sociopathic monster who bears
little resemblance to the man described by those who knew him; compare
the account by Praeger and 'Wagner Remembered' (personal accounts
selected and edited by Spencer). He also describes Wagner as a
proto-Nazi and in doing so, makes a better job of portraying a Wagner
who would have been acceptable to the Nazi ideologues than von
Westernhagen did in his 'Richard Wagners Kampf gegen seelische
Fremdherrschaft'. According to Gutman, compared to Wagner, Adolf
Hitler was a liberal. In general Gutman's approach is to gainsay
Wagner's more scholarly biographers where there is a consensus and to
agree with the minority where they are divided, except where the
majority view is critical of Wagner. Gutman's comments on "his music"
are superficial, misleading and built upon an interpretation of
Wagner's technique that the composer himself rejected.
  On the basis of one word in the libretto -- probably a misprint --
Gutman claims that 'Tristan und Isolde' is about a triangular
relationship between the title characters and Tristan's boyfriend,
Melot. His novel interpretation of 'Parsifal' rests upon the
assumption that the libretto was influenced by the racial theories of
'Count' Gobineau, despite the fact that Wagner had not read anything
by Gobineau until three years after he had completed his libretto.
Gutman's interpretation of 'Parsifal' as a celebration of "racial
purity" was demolished by Constantin Floros in 'Studien zur
Parsifal-Rezeption' (in 'Richard Wagner: Parsifal', Musik-Konzepte,
no. 25, ed. Metzger and Riehn, 1982; pages 25 -32) and by Lucy Beckett
in her Cambridge Opera Handbook on 'Parsifal', pages 121-123.
Unfortunately this perverse interpretation is still being promoted by
Barry Millington (see below).
  His treatment of the brief relationship between Wagner and Gobineau
cannot be reconciled with the Wagner-Gobineau correspondence, which he
had obviously never consulted. When discussing the relationship
between Wagner and Nietzsche he accepts without question the
distortions and falsifications of Nietzsche's writings and
correspondence made by his sister Elisabeth, and he repeats von
Westernhagen's interpretation of the "mortal insult", one that later
scholarship has shown to be untenable. 
  The revised edition fails to correct many of the misconceptions, 
mis-translations, and errors both of fact and of judgement that
disfigured the first edition. Those who are concerned for the
environment can only weep at the thought that many trees were cut down
for the sake of this dreadful book.
%O Originally published in 1968, appearing in paperback in 1971. This
book is sometimes found with two others (Culshaw's 'Ring Resounding'
and Shaw's 'Perfect Wagnerite') in a boxed set issued by Time Life
Books. The discerning reader will keep only Culshaw and Shaw.

%T Richard Wagner : A Critical Biography
%A George Ainslie Hight
%D 2001 (reprint)
%I Best Books
%V 2 vols.
%G ISBN 0 7222 5579 9 ; ML410.Wl H63 (1925)
%X As well as an account of Wagner's life this book provides an intro-
duction to the major works, with extensive discussion of their musical
form and content.
%O Originally published in 1925 by Arrowsmith, London.

%T Richard Wagner : His Life and Works
%T Richard Wagner : sa vie et ses oeuvres
%M French *
%A Adolphe Jullien
%F Florence Percival Hall
%F B.J. Lang (introduction)
%D Original 1886 and 1892, reprint 1981
%C Boston; Neptune NJ
%I Millet; Paganiniana Publications
%G ISBN 0 8766 6579 2 (reprint), ML401.Wl J9 (1892)
%V Original in 2 volumes.  Reprint in a single volume.
%X A profusely illustrated biography of Richard Wagner.  The French
original contained fourteen engravings by Fantin-Latour, to whom the
book was dedicated, together with many contemporary illustrations. 
The American edition added further illustrations: according to the 
title page it contains, "... fifteen portraits of Richard Wagner and 
one hundred and thirteen text-cuts; scenes from his operas; views of
theatres, autographs and numerous caricatures".  The Paganiniana 
reprint has added a few more drawings and photographs, introducing 
material from the twentieth century. The caption writer was in error, 
however, in describing Winifred Wagner as "granddaughter of Richard 
Wagner" (under illustration facing page 415).
%O French original published by J. Rouam, Paris.  English translation
first published by G. Wood, London, 1886.  American edition 1892.

%T Richard Wagner : the Last of the Titans
%T Der Letzte der Titanen : Richard Wagners Leben und Werk
%M German *
%A Joachim Köhler
%F Stewart Spencer
%D 2004
%C New Haven and London
%I Yale University Press
%G ISBN 0 3001 0422 7 
%X Joachim Köhler has been called "the von Däniken of Wagner scholar- 
ship". In this radical reappraisal of Richard Wagner, he reveals that
Wagner's relationship with Cosima was based on fear, rather than love;
that Wagner was blackmailing his patron, the king of Bavaria; and that
Wagner set out to destroy another homosexual, Friedrich Nietzsche.
According to Köhler, the key to understanding Wagner's adult life (as
the author claims to understand that life) is to be found in his
childhood and in his relationships with his mother, his stepfather
Geyer and his sister Rosalie during those formative years. With 24
black and white illustrations. 
  Reviewing this book for 'The Washington Post', Patrick J. Smith 
takes the view that it is "very much a product, and victim, of current
modes of thought and sensibility. His subtitle, 'The Last of the
Titans', is meant to be cuttingly ironic. Here is a portrait of Wagner
with not just feet of clay but a whole body of it, a thoroughly nasty
man leading a thoroughly nasty life... Kohler discusses each opera --
even the early, rarely performed ones -- but everywhere his aim is
reductive and psychologically obsessed. The transfiguration of woman
that recurs in Wagner's operas relates, we're told, to the composer's
adoration of the memory of his older sister Rosalie, who died young in
childbirth; all Wagner's evil geniuses are reincarnations of his
stepfather, Ludwig Geyer, a theater trickster and general nullity
(whom Wagner uneasily felt might be his father -- and possibly Jewish
to boot). Even the extended discussions of operas are reducible to
psychological cliche, such as the "insight" that Lohengrin's problem
is a fear of castration, while the essence of the 'Ring' cycle lies in
the opposition of the Aryan Siegfried and the Jew Hagen."
%O The German original was published by Claassen, Munich, in 2001.

%T The Life of Richard Wagner (P)
%A Ernest Newman
%D 1976 (reprint)
%C Cambridge
%I Cambridge University Press
%G ISBN 0 5212 9149 6; ML410.W1 N532
%V 4 vols.
%X Despite it being more than 50 years old, and written at a time when
many primary sources were suppressed or difficult to obtain, this is
still considered to be one of the most authoritative Wagner
biographies in English. Newman had his blind spots, however; as Bryan
Magee has pointed out, he was inaccurate when writing about
Schopenhauer and his influence on Wagner; and Walker described his
treatment of Franz Liszt as "character assassination". Reference and
source literature is listed at the start of each volume.
%O Originally published in 1933-47.

%T Richard Wagner : the Story of an Artist
%T Wagner, histoire d'un artiste
%M French *
%A Guy Comte de Pourtalès
%F Lewis May
%D 1972 (reprint)
%C Westport, Conn.
%I Greenwood Press 
%G ML410.W1 P73 1972
%X A readable biography.  It will be of little value to the scholar,
however, on account of the author's occasional carelessness with 
chronology.  In general he follows the canonical account of Wagner's
life and work, as defined by Glasenapp, Chamberlain and Wagner himself.
%O Originally published in 1932 by Harper and Brothers.

%T Wagner as I Knew Him
%T Wagner, wie ich ihn kannte (German translation)
%A Ferdinand Christian Wilhelm Praeger
%D 2001, 2003 (reprints)
%C Honolulu
%I University Press of the Pacific; Best Books
%G ISBN 1 4102 0771 4 pbk, 0 7222 5598 5 hbk ; ML410.W1 P9 (1892)
%X According to Sir W.H. Hadow this book "was received with great 
alarm and indignation by the Wagnerians, partly because it fell short
of unthinking hero-worship, partly because it gave a full and
indiscreet account of the Dresden revolution, Wagner's part in which
it was a matter of religion to ignore or minimize. The German version
of the book was suppressed at the instance of H.S. Chamberlain ..."
There can be no doubt that Chamberlain's efforts to suppress this book
were motivated by the desire to eradicate all knowledge of Wagner's
socialist views and of his revolutionary activities, which had become
an embarassment to the reactionary "Bayreuth circle".
  Hadow concluded: "I have read many books on Wagner ... and have come 
to the conclusion that among contemporary biographies Praeger gives
the truest picture." On the other hand Newman described him as,
"generally untrustworthy", and he is sometimes misleading. Most of
Praeger's account is based on what he was told by Wagner himself; in
some cases it is likely that Praeger has misunderstood or that a
conversation was less than perfectly remembered. It should also be
kept in mind that Wagner did not always tell the whole truth and
nothing but the truth. Praeger also relied in part on other unreliable
sources and he was not always entirely truthful about his own
friendship with Wagner. Despite these faults, the book is a
fascinating account of Wagner as he was known to one of his friends.
  Two years Wagner's junior, like him Praeger grew up in Leipzig but
settled in London from 1834. It was during a visit to Dresden in 1843
that Praeger was introduced to Wagner, perhaps by August Roeckel, with
whom he maintained a correspondence from which he quotes in this book.
Thus Praeger's account of Wagner's revolutionary years is partly based
on accounts by Wagner himself -- given during his Zürich years and so
before he began to conceal his part in the Dresden revolt -- and
partly on letters from Roeckel, who served a thirteen-year prison
sentence for his part in those events. Praeger and his wife got to
know Wagner well at the time of his London concerts in the spring of
1855. This visit is described in detail, although Praeger might have
exaggerated the part he played in the decision to invite Wagner.
  As well as being a writer, Praeger was a musician and composer. His
accounts of the creation of many of Wagner's musical works, although
based on conversations with Wagner and study of his scores (and in
some cases manuscripts), are not always to be relied upon. For
example, his comment that when writing 'Lohengrin' Wagner composed the
third act, then the first and second, is a misunderstanding based on
examination of the orchestral draft of the score, which was composed
in that order, although the earlier draft had been composed from act
one to act three. %O Originally published in 1885 by Longmans, Green
and Co., London. German translation (by the author) published in 1892
by Breitkopf & Härtel, Leipzig. The Hawaii edition is a facsimile of
an 1892 copy. It does not correct any of the errors in the original,
which shows little evidence of editing or proofreading. This
especially concerns the German quotations and the titles of Wagner's
works, some of which are garbled.

%T Wagner : A Biography (P)
%T Wagner
%M German *
%A Curt von Westernhagen
%F Mary Whittall
%D 1978 
%C Cambridge UK
%I Cambridge University Press
%G ISBN 0 5212 8254 3 ; ML410.W1 W543
%V 2 vols.
%X A conservative biography from a noted German scholar, who in the 
1930s had published a study of Wagner entitled, 'Richard Wagners Kampf
gegen seelische Fremdherrschaft' (Richard Wagner's Struggle against
Spiritual Foreign Domination), in which he tried to convince the Nazi
movement to adopt Wagner and to prefer him to Nietzsche. Even in 1968,
Westernhagen still played down Wagner's revolutionary involvement in
1848-9 and he referred to Wagner's "alleged" anti-Semitism. Michael
Tanner writes: "a work of piety by an old Wagnerian, selectively 
making use of modern research".
%O Originally published in 1968.  See also Westernhagen's 'Richard 
Wagner: sein Werk, sein Wesen, sein Welt' (P), Zürich 1956.

B2 - Shorter biographies

%T Wagner, a Biography : with a Selection of Books, Editions and 
%A Robert Anderson
%D 1980
%C London and Hamden, Conn.
%I C. Bingley, Linnet Books
%S The Concertgoer's Companions
%G ISBN 0 2080 1677 5 ; ML410.W1 A599
%X With bibliography and discography.

%T Wagner
%A John Chancellor
%D 1978 and 1980
%C London, Boston
%I Weidenfeld and Nicolson; Little, Brown; Panther (pbk)
%G ISBN 0 2977 7429 8, 0 3161 3622 0 ; ML410.W1 C43 1978b
%X One of the first biographies to make extensive use of Cosima 
Wagner's Diaries, then newly published. With bibliography.

%T Wagner, the Man and his Music 
%A John Culshaw
%A Gerald Fitzgerald (picture ed.)
%D 1978 and 1979
%C New York and London
%I E. P. Dutton, Hutchinson
%S Composer Series
%G ISBN 0 5252 2960 4 ; ML410.W1 C9
%Q Metropolitan Opera Guild

%T The New Grove Wagner
%A John Deathridge and Carl Dahlhaus
%D 1984
%C London and New York
%I W. W. Norton & Co
%G ISBN 0 3933 1590 8 pbk ; ML410.W1 D3 1984
%S New Grove Composer Biographies
%X A critical biography that destroys some of the myths created by
Wagner and later perpetuated by Glasenapp, Ellis and von Westernhagen.
Given its origin in a dictionary article, it is understandable that
this book emphasises the facts about Wagner and his works, and that it
provides little criticism or interpretation. The final chapters,
concerning the operas and music-dramas, are essentially an abridged
version of Dahlhaus' book 'Richard Wagner's Music Dramas'. There are
useful appendices including a list of Wagner's musical and dramatic
works (based on the WWV catalogue), a list of his writings and
speeches (cross-referenced to GSD/SSD and to the Prose Works), and an
extensive bibliography. If, like Mr. Gradgrind, you want facts alone,
then this is the biography to obtain.
%O Reprinted in 1997.  Not to be confused with the later book by Barry
Millington (see below).

%T The Life of Richard Wagner and the Wagnerian Drama
%A David Falkayn
%D 2002
%I Fredonia Books
%G ISBN 1 5896 3927 8

%T Richard Wagner 
%A Hans Gal
%F Hans-Hubert Schönzeler.
%D 1976
%C New York
%I Stein and Day 
%G ISBN 0 8128 1942 X ; ML410.W1 G143 1976b
%X Part 1: The life of an adventurer.  Part 2: The man and his music.
%O German original published in 1963.

%T The Illustrated Lives of the Great Composers : Wagner
%A Howard Gray
%D 1990
%C London, New York and Sydney
%I Omnibus Press
%G ISBN 0 7119 1687 X pbk ; ML410.W1 G685 1990
%X Wagner's life in words and pictures.

%T Richard Wagner
%A Sir William Henry Hadow
%D 1934
%C London
%I Thornton Butterworth, Ltd.
%G ML410.W1 H26
%X An entertaining biography that would make a good short introduction
to Wagner's life and works.  Apart from 'Mein Leben' (in which Hadow
places a little too much faith) and various editions of Wagner's
letters, Hadow has distilled and condensed his material from the more
substantial biographies already published: primarily those by Bekker,
Chamberlain, Ellis, Finck, Hight and Wallace, the memoirs of Praeger,
Newman's 'Wagner as Man and Artist' and the first volume of his
monumental biography. In other words the book is mostly derivative.
There are some minor errors, some of which suggest that Hadow was not
intimately familiar with Wagner's scores; he is careless with dates.

%T Richard Wagner, His Life and His Dramas : A Biographical Study of 
the Man and an Explanation of His Work
%A William James Henderson
%D 1990 (reprint)
%I Reprint Services Corporation
%G ISBN 0 7812 9098 8 ; ML410.Wl H52 (1923)
%O Originally published in 1901 by G.P.Putnam's sons, NY and London.
Republished in 1923. Reprinted in 1971, AMS Press, NY.  

%T Richard Wagner, 1813-1883
%A Francis Hueffer
%D 1934
%C London
%I Sampson, Low, Marston and Co., Ltd. 
%O First published in 1872, London.

%T Wagner
%A Robert L. Jacobs 
%D 1977
%I Littlefield Adams
%G ISBN 0 8226 0724 7 ; ML410.W1 J17 
%S The Master Musicians
%O Originally published in 1965 by J.M. Dent and Sons, London, and by
E.P. Dutton and Co., New York.

%T Wagner and the Romantic Disaster
%A Burnett James
%D 1983
%C New York and Tunbridge Wells
%I Hippocrene, Midas, Seven Hills.
%G ISBN 0 8825 4667 8, 0 8593 6106 3 
%X With bibliography.

%T Wagner's life and works
%A Gustav Kobbé
%D 2001 (reprint)
%I Best Books
%G ISBN 0 7812 9341 3, 0 7222 5586 1  ; ML410.W1 K72
%V 2 vols.
%X With bibliography.
%O Originally published by G. Schirmer, New York, in 1896.

%T Portrait of Wagner : an Illustrated Biography
%T Richard Wagner in Selbstzeugnissen und Bilddokumenten
%M German *
%A Hans Mayer
%F Robert Nowell
%D 1972
%C New York
%I Herder and Herder, McGraw-Hill
%G ISBN 0 0707 3240 X ; ML410.W1 M28 1972

%T Wagner
%A Barry Millington
%D 1984
%C London
%I J.M.Dent and Sons Ltd
%G ISBN 0 4600 3181 3 hbk, 0 4608 6069 0 pbk, 0 3947 5279 1 pbk ;
ML410.W1 M58 1984
%S The Master Musicians
%X Considered by many to be the best single-volume introduction to
Wagner's life and works, this short biography (of which only a little
over a hundred pages is strictly biographical, the remaining
two-thirds of the book considering the works) is very well researched
and, in general, a useful introduction. It is also problematic.
Millington's discussion of the sources, conception and development of
the canonical dramas should be treated with caution; not least because
of his extreme focus on Wagner's anti-Semitic and racial obsessions;
it has been suggested that Millington is the one with the obsession.
  The chapter on the 'Ring' provides a good introduction to the work.
Millington provides a brief overview of the sources of the libretto
and a detailed account of the origins and development of the
scenarios, poems and scores of the four component operas. He discusses
Wagner's approach to the synthesis of music and poetry, and he shares
some insight into Wagner's leitmotivic technique; he concludes this
section by following the Rhinemaiden's motif through all the
fluctuations of passion throughout the four-part drama, which is
something Wagner recommended in an 1879 essay. The chapter ends with a
survey of interpretations of the drama, concluding with the assertion
that no single interpretation has an exclusive claim to authenticity.
  The chapter on 'Die Meistersinger' is the weakest in the book, with 
its factual errors and strange omissions. In discussing Wagner's
source material, it ignores the sources that other commentators have
regarded as the most significant. It perpetuates old myths -- such as
Wagner's assertion that Hanslick walked out of a reading of the
libretto when he recognised himself in Beckmesser -- and introduces
new ones, notably Millington's fantasy about an anti-Semitic subtext;
see the main Wagner FAQ, part III, section D, for references that
discuss this subject.
  The earlier sections of his chapter on 'Parsifal' are informative 
and in parts insightful. In the last three pages, however, Millington
embarks upon a muddled discussion of the views of Robert Gutman and
the even more extreme interpretation of 'Parsifal' by Hartmut
Zelinsky. The naive reader might be left with the impression that
there was some substance in these bizarre interpretations of the
%O Appendices include a detailed chronology and a bibliography.

%T The New Grove Wagner
%A Barry Millington
%D 2001
%C London
%I St Martins Press
%G ISBN 0 3122 3324 8 ; ML410.W1 N46 2002
%X A "spin-off" from the second edition of the New Grove Dictionary,
this biography has been developed from articles by Barry Millington
and other contributors to New Grove. Some of these articles present a
view of each of the canonical dramas that Millington has developed
further since writing the 'Master Musicians' biography listed above.
  Whilst it must be conceded that Barry Millington has read widely, if
not always critically enough, in the Wagner literature, and that he
has many facts at his fingertips, the reader should be aware that this
author holds an idiosyncratic view of Wagner's life and works. Other
commentators, such as Michael Tanner and Dieter Borchmeyer, strongly
disagree both with Millington's approach and with his conclusions. The
increasing domination of reference works in English by Millington has
led to his viewpoint becoming a paradigm, one that should not be taken
uncritically; indeed, it can be and should be challenged. Millington's
theories, regardless of how many times they appear in print, are not
facts and his opinions are by no means beyond criticism.
  In his account of 'Die Meistersinger', Millington alleges that the
work was part of an "ideological crusade" that was waged by Wagner in
the 1860's. It would be interesting to see some evidence to support
the existence of this "crusade" and to know how, if it existed, it
affected 'Die Meistersinger'. Millington repeats his claim that the
character of Beckmesser "carries, at the very least, overtones of
anti-Semitic sentiment". This claim is, to put it mildly, highly
controversial, and there are many who believe that, in his advocacy of
this interpretation, Millington has moved into the "lunatic fringe" of
Wagner scholarship.
  In his comments on 'Parsifal', Millington once more alleges that 
this work contains "concepts of racial purity", an idea that he had
absorbed from Gutman's book. In fact, there are no references to
racial purity, neither direct or indirect, in 'Parsifal', and it is
remarkable that Millington persists in this delusion. Furthermore, the
idea that Wagner was concerned with racial purity is a
misunderstanding that originated with Gutman and one that all serious
scholars have rejected.
%O Not to be confused with the earlier book, which was derived from 
the first edition of New Grove, by Deathridge and Dalhaus.

%T Richard Wagner : a Sketch of his Life and Works
%T Richard Wagner : Eine Skizze Seines Lebens Und Wirkens
%M German *
%A Franz Muncker
%A Heinrich Nisle (illustrator)
%F D. Landman
%D 1891
%C Bamberg
%I Buchner
%G ML410.W1 M94

%T Wagner as Man and Artist
%A Ernest Newman
%D Revised version 1963, reprints 1969, 1985 and 1989
%C London and NY
%I Victor Gollancz Ltd; Cape; Limelight Editions
%G ISBN 0 2246 1586 6, 0 8791 0052 4 and 0 8446 2653 8 ; ML410.W1 N5 
1925 and ML410.W1 N55 1985
%X An expanded version of the 1914 original.  Neither as detailed nor 
as informative as Newman's four-volume biography (see above). In the
1914 edition Newman provided the first objective account of the Jessie
Laussot affair. J.K. Holman writes that Newman "cleared away a vast
underbrush of inadequate Wagner commentary ... he separated fact from
fiction with regard to aspects of Wagner's personal life, which had
been rigidly protected and/or extravagantly reinvented by the composer
himself in the autobiography 'Mein Leben', and subsequently by his
wife, Cosima. Newman also separated sense from nonsense in Wagner's
extensive theoretical writings ..."
%O Originally published by J.M. Dent and Sons, London and Toronto.
Republished in 1925 by John Lane at The Bodley Head, London. First US 
edition published by Garden City Pub. Co. in 1937.

%T Wagner and his World
%A Charles Osborne
%D 1977
%C London and New York
%I Thames and Hudson, Charles Scribner's Sons
%G ISBN 0 5001 3060 4 ; ML410.W1 O8
%X Traces Wagner's life through hardships, debt, political exile, long
artistic frustrations and triumphant successes. With 142 b&w pictures.

%T Wagner
%A Elaine Padmore
%D 1971 and 1973
%C London and New York
%I Faber and Faber Ltd., T. Y. Crowell Co. 
%S The Great Composers
%G ISBN 0 5710 8785 X, 0 6908 6512 0, 0 6908 6511 2 ; ML410.W1 P23
%X Elaine Padmore studied music variously at the University of
Birmingham, the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and Trinity 
College of Music, London. After a short career as a singer, she became
a music producer with the BBC, where she was responsible for opera
broadcasts. Ms. Padmore has been director of the Wexford Festival
(1982-1994) and artistic director of the Royal Opera in Copenhagen
(1993-2002). She is currently the director of opera at Covent Garden.

%T Richard Wagner
%A Robert Raphael
%D 1969
%C New York
%I Twayne Publishers 
%G ISBN 0 8057 2976 3 ; ML410.W1 R33
%X With bibliography. Michael Tanner writes concerning Raphael's 
account of the works: "Robert Raphael ... is entirely concerned to
elucidate their significance, and mainly does so very well, though one
often feels he could be writing about spoken dramas".

%T Richard Wagner, Composer of Operas
%A John F. Runciman
%D 2001 (reprint)
%C London
%I Best Books
%G ISBN 0 7222 5599 3 ; ML410.Wl R82
%X Casts aside much previously written about Wagner (by Glasenapp and 
Chamberlain, for example) and attempts to discover the real Wagner.
%O Originally published by G. Bell, London, in 1913.  Available etext:
< >

%T The Real Wagner
%A Rudolph Sabor
%D 1987
%C London
%I Andre Deutsch
%G ISBN 0 2339 7870 4 ; ML410.W1 S12 1987
%X This biographical study consists of a series of essays, each of 
them considering a different aspect of Wagner's character, yet also
tracing the story of Wagner's life. Much of that story is told in the
words of Wagner and his correspondents. The book is beautifully
illustrated and obviously a labour of love.
%O Foreword by Wolfgang Wagner.

%T Wagner
%A Michael Tanner
%D 1995
%C Cambridge UK, Princeton NJ
%I Cambridge Univ. Press, Princeton Univ. Press
%G ISBN 0 0025 5532 8, 0 6910 1162 1 ; ML410.W13 T36 1996
%X This is more a series of essays than a complete biography. The
author discusses Wagner's life in relation to his dramas and the
reverse. Tanner's conservative and romantic viewpoint (he writes on
opera for the 'Spectator') makes an interesting contrast to the more
radical and analytical approach of Millington, with whom Tanner has
crossed swords.
%O Includes a chronology and a short but informative bibliography.

%T Richard Wagner : His Life, Art and Thought
%A Ronald Taylor
%D 1979
%C London and New York
%I Paul Elek, Taplinger
%G ISBN 0 8008 4792 X ; ML410.W1 T4 1979b
%X With bibliography.

%T Wagner 
%A Walter James Redfern Turner
%D 1979, 1993 (reprints)
%C Westport, Conn. 
%I Greenwood Press
%G ISBN 0 7812 9629 3 ; ML410.W1 T8
%X Born in Melbourne in 1884, W.J.R. Turner went to London in 1907 to 
become a writer. He spent some time in Germany and Austria in 1913-14
writing satirical sketches for the 'New Age' and concert reviews for 
the 'Musical Standard'. He served in the First World War during which
he published 'The Hunter and Other Poems' (1916), the first of sixteen
volumes of poetry. From 1918-1940 he was music critic of the 'New
%O Originally published by Duckworth in 1933, London.

%T Richard Wagner as he Lived 
%A William Wallace
%D 2001 (reprint)
%I Best Books
%G ISBN 0 7222 5602 7 hbk ; ML410.W1 W22 1933
%O Originally published in 1933 by Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner and 
Co., London.

%T Richard Wagner : A Biography
%A Derek Watson
%D 1979, 1981, 1983
%C London, New York
%I J. M. Dent & Co., Schirmer, McGraw-Hill
%G ISBN 0 4600 3166 X hbk, 0 0287 2700 2 hbk, 0 0706 8479 0 pbk; 
ML410.W1 W38 1981
%X With bibliography.

B3 - Sketches and summaries

%T Richard Wagner
%A Nathan Haskell Dole
%D 2003 reprint
%G ISBN 0 7950 4262 0 ; ML410.W1 D66
%O Originally published in 1891.

%T Richard Wagner : an Introduction 
%A Isaac Goldberg
%D 1924
%C Girard, Kansas
%I Haldeman-Julius Company 
%G ML410.W13 G75
%X A short introduction to the life and work of Richard Wagner.

%T An introduction to the Life and Works of Richard Wagner
%A Chappell White
%D 1967
%C Englewood Cliffs, N.J.
%I Prentice-Hall 
%G ML410.W1 W56

B4 - For younger readers

%T Wagner
%A Greta Cencetti
%D 2001
%I McGraw-Hill Childrens Publishing
%G ISBN 1 5884 5474 6
%X For children "in grades 2 to 6" (ages 7-12).

%T Richard Wagner and German Opera
%A Donna Getzinger and Daniel Felsenfeld
%D 2004
%C Greenboro, NC
%I Reynolds, Morgan Incorporated
%G ISBN 1 9317 9824 9
%X For young adults.

%T Richard Wagner : Titan of Music
%A Monroe Stearns
%D 1969
%C New York
%I F. Watts 
%S Immortals of Music
%G ML410.W13 S78
%X For young readers in grades 4 to 8 (ages 9-14).

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