by Ignatieff, Michael
Publisher:Weidenfeld & Nicolson
The influence of Richard Wagner on the art, culture and politics of our age is so great that he might almost be called a godfather of the 20th century. Both admired and vilified during his time, he remains a highly controversial figure. Wagner's main obsession in life was redemption: to redeem society from industrialization and greed, to redeem art from degeneration at the hands of the masses, and to redeem theatre from commercialization. People, he believed, who were redeemed from their lust for power and money would be rewarded with the gift of a new art and a new religion. The musical dramas of Wagner were this new ultimate art form. Typified in "The Ring", fifteen hours of opera, this new art form presented audiences with the composer's inexhaustible myth of love and power, worldly corruption and salvation through love and beauty. But what is the current value of Wagner's work and ideas on art, religion and society? In this collection of essays the impact of Wagner is examined by Claudio Magris, Ivan Klima, Martha Nussbaum, Roger Scruton, Bernard Williams, Nike Wagner, and the editor of the collection, Michael Ignatieff. This is a book about one of the most extraordinary figures of the 20th century with contributions from an impressive cast of writers, intellectuals, philosophers and historians.
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