German A.N. Wilson Winnie and Wolf

ISBN 13: 9780091796761

Winnie and Wolf

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9780091796761: Winnie and Wolf

Winnie and Wolf is the story of the extraordinary relationship between Winifred Wagner and Adolf Hitler that took place during the years 1925–40, as seen through the eyes of the secretary at the Wagner house in Bayreuth.

Winifred, an English girl, brought up in an orphanage in East Grinstead, married at the age of eighteen to the son of Germany’s most controversial genius, is a passionate Germanophile, a Wagnerian dreamer, a Teutonic patriot.

In the debacle of the post-Versailles world, the Wagner family hope for the coming, not of a warrior, a fearless Siegfried, but of a Parsifal, a mystic idealist, a redeemer-figure. In 1925, they meet their Parsifal – a wild-eyed Viennese opera-fanatic in a trilby hat, a mac and a badly fitting suit. Hitler has already made a name for himself in some sections of German society through rabble-rousing and street corner speeches. It is Winifred, though, who believes she can really see his poetry. Almost at once they drop formalities and call one another ‘Du’ rather than ‘Sie’. She is Winnie and he is Wolf.

Like Winnie, Hitler was an outsider. Like her, he was haunted by the impossibility of reconciling the pursuit of love and the pursuit of power; the ultimate inevitability, if you pursued power, of destruction. Both had known the humiliations of poverty. Both felt angry and excluded by society. Both found each other in an unusual kinship that expressed itself through a love of opera.

In A.N. Wilson’s most bold and ambitious novel yet, the world of the Weimar Republic and Nazi Germany is brilliantly recreated, and forms the backdrop to this incredible bond, which ultimately reveals the remarkable capacity of human beings to deceive themselves.

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From the Back Cover:

‘An extraordinary work whose achievements are almost Wagnerian in scale’ Daily Mail

Winnie and Wolf is the story of the extraordinary relationship between Winifred Wagner and Adolf Hitler, as seen through the eyes of the secretary at the Wagner house in Bayreuth.

Winifred, an English girl who married the son of Germany’s most controversial genius at the age of just eighteen, is a passionate Germanophile, a Wagnerian dreamer, a Teutonic patriot.

She and the Wagner family hope, in the debacle of the post-Versailles world, for the coming, not of a warrior, a fearless Siegfried, but of a Parsifal, a mystic idealist, a redeemer-figure. In 1923, they think they have found him: a wild-eyed Viennese opera-fanatic in a trilby hat, a mac and a badly fitting suit.

Hitler has already made a name for himself in some sections of German society through rabble-rousing and street corner speeches. It is Winifred, though, who believes she can really see his poetry. Almost at once they drop formalities and call one another ‘Du’ rather than ‘Sie’. She is Winnie and he is Wolf.

Like Winnie, Hitler is an outsider. Like her, he is haunted by the impossibility of reconciling the pursuit of love and the pursuit of power, and the inevitability, if you seek power, of destruction. Both have known the humiliations of poverty. Both have felt angry and excluded by society. In each other, they find an unusual kinship that expresses itself through a love of opera.

In A. N. Wilson’s most ambitious novel yet, the world of the Weimar Republic and Nazi Germany is brilliantly recreated, and forms the backdrop to this incredible bond, which ultimately reveals the remarkable capacity of human beings to deceive themselves.

‘Grippingly imaginative’ Observer

‘A bold, ambitious piece of fiction’ Guardian

‘Deeply clever and gripping... Vividly presented and immaculately researched’ Spectator

About the Author:

A. N. Wilson was born in 1950 and educated at Rugby and New College, Oxford. A fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, he has held a prominent position in the world of literature and journalism. He is an award winning biographer and a celebrated novelist, winning prizes for much of his fiction. He lives in North London.

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