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Catalogue Number
Houston Stewart Chamberlain
The Wagnerian Drama
Music Criticism
Date of Publication
28 September 2013
Demi 8vo

Houston Stewart Chamberlain attended his first Wagner opera at the age of 23. Though disappointed, he was undeterred, and soon became completely immersed Wagner’s work, going on to become the intellectual leader of the Bayreuth Circle, centred on the composer’s widow; Wagner’s biographer; and, in 1909, Wagner’s son-in-law.

Published in 1892, The Wagnerian Drama was Chamberlain’s first book. The work builds on his previous essays commenting on individual Wagner operas—‘Notes sur Lohengrin’ (1882), his fi rst published essay; ‘Notes sur Parsifal’ (1886); ‘Notes sur Tristan’ (1887); and ‘Die Sprache in Tristan und Isolde und ihr Verhältnis zur Musik’ (1888)—and is a commentary on the whole of Wagner’s dramatic work, focusing on its heroic Germanic elements, and intended to inspire a deeper appreciation for the great master.

The Wagnerian Drama was self-financed, and went unnoticed upon initial publication, selling only five copies altogether, which were bought by the author himself. Nevertheless, it would eventually go through six German editions during Chamberlain’s lifetime and would see translations into French, Catalan, English, Spanish, and Italian. This second English edition comes 90 years after the fi rst, and is the first with annotations and an index.

The cover artwork is by Alex Kurtagic.

Table of Contents:

Note on the Text vii
Introduction 1
Historical 5
The Teaching of the Word-Tone-Drama 21
The Dramas of the Period Before 1848 39
The Dramas After 1848 67
Index 177

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