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In this new biography of Richard Wagner, Joachim Kohler draws on social and political analysis, documentary interpretation, and psychological insights to paint a rounded picture of Wagner as both a controversial historical phenomenon and a complex human being. Kohler's reading of the letters, diaries, and other documents of the main protagonists, some of them unfamiliar even to seasoned Wagnerians, results in some breathtaking but convincing reappraisals. He examines Wagner's love affairs with Jessie Laussot, Mathilde Wesendonck, and Judith Gautier and assesses their lasting emotional effect. He re-evaluates Wagner's relationships with his mother, step-father, sister, and--most revealingly--his wife, Cosima, a relationship seen as based on fear rather than love. Kohler explores the philosophical roots of Wagner's work, which the composer himself deliberately obfuscated. And he analyzes Wagner's relationship with King Ludwig, whom Wagner is revealed to have blackmailed, and with Nietzsche, whom he tried to destroy. The traumas of his youth haunted Wagner throughout his life, as his emotional development underlay his notorious anti-semitism. Kohler's interpretation of Wagner's dreams, as recorded in Cosima's diaries, offers astonishing insights into the paranoia and insecurity of a man who was one of the leading composers of his age.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780300104226
ISBN-10: 0300104227
Format: Hardback
(235mm x 156mm x 58mm)
Pages: 704
Imprint: Yale University Press
Publisher: Yale University Press
Publish Date: 5-Oct-2004
Country of Publication: United States

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Author Biography - Joachim Kohler

Joachim Kohler is the author of Nietzsche and Wagner: A Lesson in Subjugation, and Zarathustra's Secret: The Interior Life of Friedrich Nietzsche, both published by Yale University Press. He is also the author of Wagner's Hitler. Stewart Spencer is editor of The Selected Letters of Richard Wagner, Wagner's Ring, and Wagner Remembered.

Books By Author Joachim Kohler

Zarathustra's Secret by Joachim Kohler

Zarathustra's Secret

Paperback, April 2002
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Wagner's Hitler by Joachim Kohler

Wagner's Hitler

Paperback, August 2001
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Nietzsche and Wagner by Joachim Kohler

Nietzsche and Wagner

Paperback, October 1998
$30.59