Few major artists have aroused the ire and adulation of successive generations as persistently as Richard Wagner. He was the centre of controversy during his lifetime and yet, when he died, he was the most idolized man in Germany. The situation has not changed much since then. Simon Williams explores the reasons for this adulation and antipathy by examining an aspect that may be a fundamental cause for this radical division in the reception of Wagner's work, the phenomenon of heroism. Williams analyses this heroism as a function of Wagner's theatre and music, beginning with a definition and examination of the concept of the heroic. The book also discusses all thirteen stage works by Wagner and the phenomenon of heroism and Wagner's adaptation of the figure of the Romantic hero. Williams offers a theatrical, musical, and cultural re-evaluation of one of the most enduring figures in the arts.
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Number of pages: 204
Weight: 310 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 12 mm
"Whether or not the reader agrees with all points, those with an interest in Wagner and with some of the broader implications of his work will come away with cogent ideas to ponder. Another strength of the book is the writing, which is highly literate and very fine throughout." German Studies Review Barry Salwen, University of North Carolina, Wilmington
Wagner and the Romantic Hero originated in talks that Williams gave at the Bayreuth Festival and elsewhere a few years ago. Now in the definitive printed version we also get a six-page bibliography as further evidence of a mastery over the applicable literature. All told, this book seems to be designed for a wide range of readers, Wagnerian initiates and tyros alike, who should learn much from its blend of knowledge and insight." - Christopher Hatch, Dorset, Vermont
"Well worth reading for its insight into the music and drama."
John Harrison, University of Northern Colorado, The Opera Journal