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While Wagner was writing his opera Siegfried, Cosima von Bulow left her husband to join Wagner. From that day until he died, Cosima (soon to be Cosima Wagner) kept a detailed, daily journal of life with "R" (as Cosima calls him). This book is an abridgment of those complete diaries, and a mere 1/4 the length of the original. Martin Cooper, who translated the full length original, did the editing for this abridgment, and he did an admirable job. He captured the "important" stuff, while leaving out all the detail. If you just want to read about Wagner, but are not interested in all the fluff, this book is for you. Learn about Wagner the man without all of the usual hyperbole. Those who are interested in the diaries but are put off by its 2000 pages now have a good alternative. It can be highly recommended to everyone except specialists. If you are a Wagner aficionado, however, you will want to get your hands on the full-length original.
Skelton has left the skeletons buried deep inside Cosima's closet. Once again we have less than full disclosure in the quest for the Great Wagnerian Myth. A comparison of sources reveals that the reason for the breech with Richter was due to his marriage to a Jewess. [This omitted in the abridgement]. One of the more fascinating aspects of the Cosima Wagner diaries are many of the dreams that she records Richard passed on to her. The not-so-tidy subject of self-flaggelation with candles is tidily omitted in Skelton. Caveat Emptor.