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Richard Wagner's Ring of the Nibelung is one of the greatest works of art created in modern times, and has fascinated both critics and devotees for over a century and a half. No recent study has examined the meaning of Wagner's masterpiece with the attention to detail and intellectual power that Roger Scruton brings to it in this inspiring account. The Ring of Truth is an exploration of the drama, music, symbolism and philosophy of the Ring from a writer whose knowledge and understanding of the Western musical tradition are the equal of his capacities as a philosopher.Scruton shows how, through musical connections and brilliant dramatic strokes, Wagner is able to express truths about the human condition which few other creative artists have been able to convey so convincingly. For Wagner, writes Scruton, the task of art is to 'show us freedom in its immediate, contingent, human form, reminding us of what it means to us. Even if we live in a world from which gods and heroes have disappeared we can, by imagining them, dramatize the deep truths of our condition and renew our faith in what we are.'Love, death, sacrifice and the liberation that we win through sacrifice - these are the great themes of the Ring, as they are of this book. Scruton's passionate and moving interpretation allows us to understand more fully than ever how Wagner conveys his ideas about who we are, and why the Ring continues to be such a hypnotically absorbing work.
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About the Author

Roger Scruton is a writer and philosopher who has held positions at the universities of London, Oxford, Boston and St Andrews and who has written widely on art, architecture, music and aesthetics. His books include his now classic Short History of Modern Philosophy (1981), The Aesthetics of Music (1997), Death-Devoted Heart: Sex and the Sacred in Wagner's Tristan and Isolde (2004), Fools, Frauds and Firebrands (1985, republished 2015) an examination of the New Left and its influence on intellectual life in Europe and America. He is a fellow of the British Academy and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

Reviews

After reading this book, only the most unadventurous reader would turn down the chance to see Wagner's masterpiece. * Economist * A brilliant gallop through the master's religious, musical and philosophical contexts -- Sue Prideaux * Spectator * Roger Scruton is in many ways the ideal interpreter of the Ring ... His book is no mere dispassionate analysis of a cultural phenomenon, but a deeply felt rallying call for the view of humanity and its place in the cosmos that Scruton sees as embodied in the Ring. ... Scruton brilliantly teases out the connections between the conception of the Ring and the idealist philosophy of writers such as Hegel, in whose work Wagner was steeped [and] analyses fascinatingly and convincingly how Wagner's drama embodies, in its twists and turns, the Hegelian struggle, the "dialectic", between matter and spirit, power and freedom. -- Adam Lively * The Sunday Times * Highly original and penetrating ... he writes about the music authoritatively but comprehensibly... lucidly, cogently and even entertainingly... [Scruton] brings a philosopher's toolkit to the task of reaching the heart of what he sees as an essentially philosophical work. ... After reading tremendous homage to Wagner, not everyone will agree that The Ring of the Nibelung deserves to be called 'The Ring of Truth', but very few will deny that it contains a great deal of wisdom. -- Tim Blanning * Literary Review * Admirably lucid ... a perceptive and detailed account ... constantly enlightening commentary -- Lucy Beckett * Tablet *

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