Wagner and Philosophy

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9780140295191: Wagner and Philosophy

Wagner was one of the few major composers who studied philosophy seriously. Bryan Magee places the composer's artistic development in the context of the philosophy of his age, and gives us the first detailed and comprehensive study of the close links between Wagner and the philosophers - from the pre-Marxist socialists to Feuerbach and Schopenhauer. Magee explores the relationship between words and music, between the conscious and the unconscious mind, between art and philosophy. It tackles soberly and judiciously the Wagner whose paranoia, egocentricity and anti-semitism are repugnant, as well as the Wagner of artistic genius. The resulting text illuminates Wagner and the music-dramas in altogether new ways.

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Review:

Bryan Magee is perhaps best known for his TV programme The Great Philosophers but he has also been a Member of Parliament, a music and theatre critic, a broadcaster and author of The Philosophy of Schopenhauerand the now classic Aspects of Wagner.

In Wagner and Philosophy, Magee concerns his expertise with the ways in which philosophical ideas penetrated Wagner's work. The dominant philosophical figure in the book and in Wagner's life is Arthur Schopenhauer and it is the influence of Schoepenhauer's metaphysics on Wagner's world-view and ultimately his operas that constitutes the heart of the book.

There are two Wagners in our culture, unrecognisably different from one another, thinks Magee; there are "those who know his work and the Wagner imagined by those who know him by name and reputation". What Magee attempts to debunk is the common view of Wagner as a "sort of proto-Nazi", a man "jingoistically nationalistic", and "quintessentially right-wing". Wagner's disillusionment with revolutionary socialist politics is not to be explained as a movement from left to right but rather "from politics to metaphysics". To understand Wagner's "turn", his "re-evaluation of his values" one must understand the monumental influence Kantian--Schoepenhauerian philosophy had upon him. Similarly he debunks the assumption that Wagner was much influenced by Nietzsche and in a fascinating chapter detailing the eight-year intimate friendship between the two men, Magee affirms what researchers already know; that during that time Nietzsche was in thrall to Wagner--indeed, worshipped him.

What readers familiar with German philosophy but unfamiliar with Wagner and opera in general will find awesome is the sheer magnitude of Wagner's artistic genius and the role played by Schopenhauer in freeing up that artistic genius. The result is that one finds oneself running back to Schopenhauer once more before buying up Wagner CDs and looking out for the next performance. What Wagnerians unfamiliar with philosophy should find is an enhanced understanding of the ways in which Schopenhauer's ideas were absorbed into the texture of the operas themselves. However one need not be familiar with either Wagner or philosophy of any kind to enjoy this book because Magee writes about both with clarity and an infectious reverential enthusiasm. --Larry Brown

About the Author:

Bryan Magee has had a distinguished and varied career as scholar, broadcaster and parliamentarian. His previous books include Aspects of Wagner (1968), On Blindness (with Martin Milligan, 1996), The Philosophy of Schopenhauer (1997) and Confessions of a Philosopher (1997). He was a Labour MP from 1974 until joining the SDP in 1982.

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Book Description Penguin Books Ltd, United Kingdom, 2001. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 192 x 128 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. Wagner was one of the few major composers who studied philosophy seriously. Bryan Magee places the composer s artistic development in the context of the philosophy of his age, and gives us the first detailed and comprehensive study of the close links between Wagner and the philosophers - from the pre-Marxist socialists to Feuerbach and Schopenhauer. Magee explores the relationship between words and music, between the conscious and the unconscious mind, between art and philosophy. It tackles soberly and judiciously the Wagner whose paranoia, egocentricity and anti-semitism are repugnant, as well as the Wagner of artistic genius. The resulting text illuminates Wagner and the music-dramas in altogether new ways. Bookseller Inventory # APG9780140295191

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Book Description Penguin Books Ltd, United Kingdom, 2001. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 192 x 128 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. Wagner was one of the few major composers who studied philosophy seriously. Bryan Magee places the composer s artistic development in the context of the philosophy of his age, and gives us the first detailed and comprehensive study of the close links between Wagner and the philosophers - from the pre-Marxist socialists to Feuerbach and Schopenhauer. Magee explores the relationship between words and music, between the conscious and the unconscious mind, between art and philosophy. It tackles soberly and judiciously the Wagner whose paranoia, egocentricity and anti-semitism are repugnant, as well as the Wagner of artistic genius. The resulting text illuminates Wagner and the music-dramas in altogether new ways. Bookseller Inventory # APG9780140295191

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Book Description 2001. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 1st. 129mm x 198mm x 19mm. Paperback. A contribution to the literature of 19th-century culture, this is a study of the close links between Wagner and the philosophy of his age. The author tries to make sense of both the man an.Shipping may be from multiple locations in the US or from the UK, depending on stock availability. 432 pages. 0.307. Bookseller Inventory # 9780140295191

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Book Description Penguin Books Ltd. Paperback. Book Condition: new. BRAND NEW, Wagner and Philosophy, Bryan Magee, Wagner was one of the few major composers who studied philosophy seriously. Bryan Magee places the composer's artistic development in the context of the philosophy of his age, and gives us the first detailed and comprehensive study of the close links between Wagner and the philosophers - from the pre-Marxist socialists to Feuerbach and Schopenhauer. Magee explores the relationship between words and music, between the conscious and the unconscious mind, between art and philosophy. It tackles soberly and judiciously the Wagner whose paranoia, egocentricity and anti-semitism are repugnant, as well as the Wagner of artistic genius. The resulting text illuminates Wagner and the music-dramas in altogether new ways. Bookseller Inventory # B9780140295191

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Book Description Penguin Books, Limited (UK). Book Condition: New. 2001. New Ed. Paperback. Wagner was one of the few major composers who studied philosophy seriously. This title places the composer's artistic development in the context of the philosophy of his age, and offers a comprehensive study of the close links between Wagner and the philosophers - from the pre-Marxist socialists to Feuerbach and Schopenhauer. Num Pages: 432 pages, 8pp b&w illustrations, index. BIC Classification: AVH; HP. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 197 x 129 x 19. Weight in Grams: 302. . . . . . Books ship from the US and Ireland. Bookseller Inventory # V9780140295191

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Book Description Penguin Books, Limited (UK), 2001. Book Condition: New. 2001. New Ed. Paperback. Wagner was one of the few major composers who studied philosophy seriously. This title places the composer's artistic development in the context of the philosophy of his age, and offers a comprehensive study of the close links between Wagner and the philosophers - from the pre-Marxist socialists to Feuerbach and Schopenhauer. Num Pages: 432 pages, 8pp b&w illustrations, index. BIC Classification: AVH; HP. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 197 x 129 x 19. Weight in Grams: 302. . . . . . . Bookseller Inventory # V9780140295191

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