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In addition to being an exceptional composer, Richard Wagner was once additionally a major thinker. Julian younger starts by way of studying the philosophy of paintings and society Wagner constructs in the course of his time as a progressive anarchist-communist. Modernity, Wagner argued, is to be rescued from its present anomie throughout the rebirth of Greek tragedy (the unique Gesamtkunstwerk) within the type of the “artwork of the future," an art of which his personal operas are the prototype.
Young then examines the totally varied philosophy Wagner constructs after his 1854 conversion from Hegelian optimism to Schopenhauerian pessimism. “Redemption” now turns into, now not a destiny utopia during this global, yet fairly “transfigured” lifestyles in one other international, possible in simple terms via dying. Viewing Wagner’s operas throughout the lens of his philosophy, the ebook deals frequently novel interpretations of Lohengrin, The Ring cycle, Tristan und Isolde, Die Meistersinger, and Parsifal.
Finally, younger clothes the reason for Friedrich Nietzsche’s transformation from Wagner’s intimate good friend and disciple into his so much savage critic. Nietzsche’s basic accusation, it's argued, is considered one of betrayal: that Wagner betrayed his early, “life putting forward” philosophy of paintings and lifestyles in desire of “life-denial." Nietzsche’s statement and the ultimate end of the e-book is that our job, now, is to “become higher Wagnerians than Wagner.”
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With us as with them “beauty withd[raws] in desire of absolute utility”: he has in brain the manufacturing unit or coal mine, possibly. Like them we deal with nature as a “milch cow” (AF, 161) on hand for limitless exploitation. and prefer them, we disguise over our low materialism with a veneer of Greek taste—the financial institution or railway station disguised as a Greek temple (AF, seventy four, 160–61, 170). forty bankruptcy three CHRISTIANITY AND THE dying OF paintings in response to Wagner, then, modernity, the recent Rome, is a global with out (world-historical) artwork. His “death of artwork” thesis, despite the fact that, embraces greater than Rome and modernity. It embraces the couple of millennia isolating them, specifically the entire of the Christian period. This turns out to make Christian artwork an seen and crushing refutation of his thesis. The medieval cathedral—that community-collecting synthesis of non secular ritual, literature, structure and portray (though now not dance)—would appear to be, now not simply an instance, yet as regards to a paradigm of the Wagnerian Gesamtkunstwerk. Wagner tackles the problem head-on: there's, he claims, no such factor as Christian paintings. “The candid artist perceives firstly look that neither was once Christianity artwork, nor may possibly it ever bring about from itself precise and dwelling artwork” (AR, 38). Like approximately all at the nineteenth-century, innovative Left, the early Wagner hated Christianity. even if, he drew a pointy contrast among Christianity and the ancient Jesus, whom he well-liked. The Galilean chippie, he held, was once (like himself) a progressive anarcho-socialist with no metaphysical pretensions. “I carry now not peace however the sword,” Jesus acknowledged, directing his conflict cry opposed to the ruling Pharisees, the quislings who collaborated with the Romans so that it will higher oppress their fellow Jews. Jesus’s suggestion, Wagner keeps, was once (like his personal) the imaginative and prescient of a destiny global of common love—an excellent Jesus couldn't have believed in had he shared Christianity’s disgust at human nature’s “original,” inalienable, sinfulness, due to the fact that disgusting beings are unlovable. It was once now not Jesus, in spite of the fact that, however the Roman Church, and extra fairly that switched over Pharisee, St. Paul, who created this photograph of humanity (AR, 37–41). three Christianity constructed from a minority cult right into a global faith, Wagner claims, at the again of the self-disgust of the later Roman Empire, its disgust at its personal absorption in crude sensuality. Christianity preached that earthly lifestyles is intrinsically valueless and that redemption lies within the supernatural, thereby either explaining why issues have been as they have been and supplying the promise of redemption. in response to the Christian worldview the realm is irredeemably the paintings of the satan in order that no job might be dedicated to the futile job of attempting to enhance it (AR, 37–41). Christianity doesn't advertise, doesn't even try and advertise, the flourishing of human lifestyles. relatively, it has just one “object,” specifically, dying. Christianity is not anything yet a “longing for demise” (OD, 159–60). Wagner permits one partial exception to his account of the Christian paintings of the center a long time.