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Wagnerism: Art and Politics in the Shadow of Music

Wagnerism: Art and Politics in the Shadow of Music

Alex Ross, renowned New Yorker music critic and author of the international bestseller and Pulitzer Prize finalist The Rest Is Noise, reveals how Richard Wagner became the proving ground for modern art and politics--an aesthetic war zone where the Western world wrestled with its capacity for beauty and violence.

For better or worse, Wagner is the most widely influential figure in the history of music. Around 1900, the phenomenon known as Wagnerism saturated European and American culture. Such colossal creations as The Ring of the Nibelung, Tristan und Isolde, and Parsifal were models of formal daring, mythmaking, erotic freedom, and mystical speculation. A mighty procession of artists, including Virginia Woolf, Thomas Mann, Paul C�zanne, Isadora Duncan, and Luis Bu�uel, felt his impact. Anarchists, occultists, feminists, and gay-rights pioneers saw him as a kindred spirit. Then Adolf Hitler incorporated Wagner into the soundtrack of Nazi Germany, and the composer came to be defined by his ferocious antisemitism. For many, his name is now almost synonymous with artistic evil.

In Wagnerism, Alex Ross restores the magnificent confusion of what it means to be a Wagnerian. A pandemonium of geniuses, madmen, charlatans, and prophets do battle over Wagner's many-sided legacy. As readers of his brilliant articles for The New Yorker have come to expect, Ross ranges thrillingly across artistic disciplines, from the architecture of Louis Sullivan to the novels of Philip K. Dick, from the Zionist writings of Theodor Herzl to the civil-rights essays of WEB Du Bois, from O Pioneers! to Apocalypse Now.

In many ways, Wagnerism tells a tragic tale. An artist who might have rivaled Shakespeare in universal reach is undone by an ideology of hate. Still, his shadow lingers over twenty-first century culture, his mythic motifs coursing through superhero films and fantasy fiction. Neither apologia nor condemnation, Wagnerism is a work of passionate discovery, urging us toward a more honest idea of how art acts in the world.

Titulo:Wagnerism: Art and Politics in the Shadow of Music
Idioma de edición:English
ISBN:9780374285937
Tipo de formato:



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    Wagnerism: Art and Politics in the Shadow of Music Comentarios

  • Tosh

    Probably one of the 'fun' reads this year is "Wagnerism" by Alex Ross. And to be honest I don't care about Wagner. What I do find fascinating is how a 19th-century composer can transform not only the ...

  • lark benobi

    It's not an exaggeration to say that Ross's 2007 book THE REST IS NOISE forever changed the way I think about and listen to music. What a glorious, exalted, human experience it was to read his earlier...

  • Kimley

    Wow! Just, wow! Tosh and I discuss this on our Book Musik podcast.A famous quip goes “Wagner’s music is better than it sounds.” Whether you find Wagner’s music to be sublime or bombastic, this...

  • Chris Molnar

    Robert Ashley or Kanye West engage me viscerally with their loose reimaginings of the form, using the word "opera" to harness history while pushing into the unknown. Puccini or Mozart, on the other ha...

  • Harris

    Probably once or twice a year I read one of these massive yet easy-to-read pop history books about a topic that catches my interest for whatever reason. I always enjoy them, but this one is truly fant...

  • Dan Graser

    This is the most thorough examination of the panoply of lenses through which Wagner's effects on art and society have been viewed. Speaking as a musician there are certainly composers who have had a l...

  • Bill FromPA

    Wagnerism Audiovisual CompanionIch weiß allein, / daß die Stücke mir nichts nützten I hope after some reflection to write a fuller review, though I think the five star rating is likely to stand. R...

  • Marks54

    This is a book by the music critic of the New Yorker about the life and work of Richard Wagner. It is much more than that. It is a study of the impact of Wagner’s work on the broader political and c...

  • Dr. Andrew Higgins

    This has to be one of the most comprehensive and excellent books I have read on my favourite composer Richard Wagner. Ross gives an in-depth analysis of the influence Wagner and his works had on all f...

  • Andrew Austin

    Comprehensive, informative, thought-provoking, analytical at times look into how and why Wagner permeates culture. Not a biography of the man - but a journey into various art forms and philosophies th...

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