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The Tristan Chord: Wagner and Philosophy Paperback – October 1, 2002
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Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
As Magee shows, Wagner's thinking should not be too readily dismissed. Wagner was no philosophical dilletante. He was awesomely well-read in the philosophy, philology and linguistics of his day, in addition to his vast reading in literature ancient and "modern", in history, myth, and the history of myth, and much more. And he was an intelligent and sometimes extraordinarily perceptive man, whose erudition was not just for showing off with but of vital importance to his thought and work.
However Wagner believed, wrongly, that his intuition was as sure a guide in the world of ideas as it was in music and drama. So his philosophical writings follow his intuitions, not his reasoning - indeed he seems to avoid reasoning, except in small bursts, out of principle. His writing is therefore irrational and self-contradictory, obscure in the worst German manner: neither original (except accidentally, where he achieves originality by misunderstanding a source, particularly Schopenhauer), nor lucid, nor "true". "True", that is, in the sense of being based on "matters of fact or reason".
So his philosophy is not, despite what Wagner probably thought, of much importance in its own right. It is mainly important because it permeates and influences his major works, which are among the few most endlessly fascinating human creations of any kind.Read more ›
The book's greatest highlight for me was a precis on Kant's philosophy and how it linked with Schopenhauer's eventual world view. The concepts of phenomena and noumena are well explained, and there is a brilliant vision of the occidental philosophical grasp of reality in the romantic era. Certainly, these German philosphers were brilliant and sufficiently detached to transcend their cultural outlook and fly over it.
To me the book did not wade deeply enough into Nietzche and Schopenhauer but this was obviously not the author's objective and his treatments though non voluminous are comprehensive. On the other hand the book is also a eulogy of Wagner and was certainly a bit subjective as the author pours over some of the operas and gives a great deal of over zealous details, which a reader unfamiliar with the stuff may want to pass over in preference to actually getting the CD (telling us what to buy would have spared most of the description).
The author uses the book as a stage from which to demolish Wagner's neo-Nazi credentials and he gives the low down as to why Nietzche abandoned Wagner, using the composer to enhance Nietzche's reputation at the same time as ridiculing the composer later on.
Whether Wagner was really that philosophical compared to any other great composer (the philosophical interests of which are less known) as the author contends is debatable. That the composer drew on the finest German philosophy and myth available to him is not in doubt.Read more ›
In a way one can only appreciate this book if he has already spent some time ploughing through even a fraction of the tendentious trash in print that attempts to deal with this man (e.g. Gutman, Millington, even M. Owen Lee at times). If you have done that, then you will really be in a position to enjoy what Bryan Magee has done, how he has done it, and what a tremendous debt we owe to him for presenting to us Wagner the man in all of his outrageous and openly contradictory complexity. This is a book for people who are interested in learning more closely what kind of man Wagner actually was (that, for example, he possessed a most 'commanding' personality but yet what that simple fact might mean in real terms, and why that in itself might be a petty thing to hold against him in our age of pathologically inflated egos and equally calculating self-interest). And Mr.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A very readable work which had me engrossed until I completed it.. Not knowing very much about Wagner's life and influences yet having listened to opera for over 40 years - it has... Read morePublished 16 months ago by Sonofhector
One cannot trust me when it comes to Wagner. Despites if many flaws, he made few as a composer and teller of stories. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Thistle Brown
I was thrilled to find this book. It's hard to find really good analysis of Wagner's amazing operas, works that dwarf anything else in the genre, with the possible exception of... Read morePublished 19 months ago by Ann N. Michelini
The other day I mentioned Richard Wagner to my 16-year-old son, who is not much interested in classical music (I hope that changes soon). He replied, "Wasn't he sort of a Nazi? Read morePublished on March 6, 2014 by Aging Boomer
Bryan Magee has written a thoroughly objective analysis of the remarkable maturation of Richard Wagner's philosophical thoughts as they regard the astonishing changes to the... Read morePublished on November 12, 2013 by Quantrill
I have a considerable number Wagner scholarly books. This is
one of the most, objective (sorely need in Wagner's literature) and interesting books on the subject. Read more
Anyone else have this problem with their copy? One of the first few pages was a "List of Illustrations", but the illustrations/photos themselves were nowhere to be found. Read morePublished on August 5, 2013 by Deborah Scherer