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European Intellectual History from Rousseau to Nietzsche$
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Frank M Turner and Richard A. Lofthouse

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780300207293

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300207293.001.0001

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(p.193) Chapter 12 Wagner
European Intellectual History from Rousseau to Nietzsche

Frank M. Turner

, Richard A. Lofthouse
Yale University Press

This chapter discusses the life and the work of Richard Wagner. More than any major artist of the nineteenth century Wagner drew together the currents of social discontent, animosity toward bourgeois life, and aesthetics. At the same time, he transformed himself into a contemporary cultural phenomenon whose musical legacy both transports audiences to new heights of aesthetic experience and whose political thought and activity continues to trouble and anger later generations. The thought and aesthetic of Wagner descends primarily from Romanticism with its emphasis on the transcendent artist, medievalism, and the irrational. Wagner made a career of attacking middle-class and philistine values, but he also he saw the power that would revolutionize and transform society as lodged in art and music as he conceived them.

Keywords:   Richard Wagner, artists, musicians, political thought, Romanticism, bourgeois culture

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