The Wagnerian Drama

ChamberlainWagnerHouston Stewart Chamberlain

Edited by Alex Kurtagić
London: The Palingenesis Project, 2013
188 pages

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Houston Stewart Chamberlain attended his first Wagner opera at the age of 23. Though disappointed, he was undeterred, and soon became completely immersed Wagner’s work, going on to become the intellectual leader of the Bayreuth Circle; Wagner’s biographer; and, in 1909, Wagner’s son-in-law. Published in 1892, The Wagnerian Drama was Chamberlain’s first book.

The work builds on his previous essays commenting on individual Wagner operas—‘Notes sur Lohengrin’ (1882), his first published essay; ‘Notes sur Parsifal’ (1886); ‘Notes sur Tristan’ (1887); and ‘Die Sprache in Tristan und Isolde und ihr Verhältnis zur Musik’ (1888)—and is a commentary on the whole of Wagner’s dramatic work, focusing on its heroic Germanic elements, and intended to inspire a deeper appreciation for the great master.

The Wagnerian Drama was self-financed, and went unnoticed upon initial publication, selling only five copies altogether, which were bought by the author himself. Nevertheless, it would eventually go through six German editions during Chamberlain’s lifetime and would see translations into French, Catalan, English, Spanish, and Italian.

CONTENTS

Note on the Text

I. Introduction
II. Historical
III. The Teaching of the Word-Tone-Drama
IV. The Dramas of the Period Before 1848
V. The Dramas After 1848

Index

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Houston Stewart Chamberlain (1855–1927) was a British author of books on philosophy, music, race, and politics. An ardent admirer of Richard Wagner, Chamberlain married Wagner’s daughter Eva and became one of the chief intellectual exponents of Wagner’s thought. His best-known works are Richard Wagner (1897) and Foundations of the Nineteenth-Century (1899) .

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