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Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgements ix 1 The Case of Wagner 1 2 Prejudices and Banalities 14 3 Getting under Way 31 4 Domesticating Wagner 48 5 Grandeur and Suffering in Wagner:Some Case Studies 63 6 Lobengrin and its Prelude 83 7 Wagner Ponders 95 8 What is the Ring about? l09 9 Men and Gods 119 10 The Fearless Hero 131 11 The Passion of Passion 140 12 Art, Tradition and Authority 156 13 The Ring Resumed 168 14 Redemption to the Redeemer 184 15 Posdude: Wagner and Culture 201 Chronology 213 Select Bibliography 222 Index 227

About the Author

Michael Tanner was educated in the RAF and at Cambridge University where he lecturerd in Philosophy from 1961-1997. He was also a Fellow at Corpus Christi College. He is the author of "Nietzsche" and "Schopenhauer" and is the opera editor of the "Spectator".


British academic philosopher Tanner has written on music for the Times Literary Supplement and is author of Nietzsche, a volume in the "Past Masters" series from Oxford University Press (1994). Nietzsche wrote a lot about Wagner, joining a flow of opinions that became a river long ago. Tanner quotes him here, mainly in order to argue with him and many others who find fault with the complicated, controversial German music dramatist. Opening by harshly explicating some Wagner criticism as "inane," "outrageously unfair," and "priggish," Tanner then spiritedly discusses all the operas in chronological order, focusing upon effects he feels their characters, stories, and music are meant to have on thoughtful members of the audience. When these effects are contradictory, Tanner self-consciously argues with himself. A short bibliographic essay provides leads to still more views. A warm-hearted, occasionally hot-headed defense of Wagner; recommended for balance.‘Bonnie Jo Dopp, Long Branch Community Lib., Silver Spring, Md.

"Tanner belongs in [the] tiny but distinguished company of committed Wagnerians who write extraordinarily well ... His observations are consistently fresh and provocative, often as witty as they are arresting ... His short book is a joy to read and worth dozens of longer ones."--G. W. Bowersock, Opera News "Focused and concise... [A] wonderfully open-minded book."--Rupert Christiansen, Sunday Telegraph "[A] quietly magnificent study of one of the most controversial figures in modern music."--Virginia Quarterly Review "The most spirited and unapologetic book about Wagner to appear in a long time... Fine, intellectually sparkling, and always engaging... A welcome addition to any Wagner library."--Wagner Notes "[Tanner] provides a valuable study of the meaning and significance of Richard Wagner's music dramas... Tanner leads the reader to understand Wagner's lifelong preoccupations, the common threads and themes that underlie his production."--Choice

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