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by Marc A. Weiner

Download Richard Wagner and the Anti-Semitic Imagination (Texts and Contexts) fb2, epub

ISBN: 0803247753
Author: Marc A. Weiner
Language: English
Publisher: University of Nebraska Press; y First printing edition (April 28, 1995)
Pages: 447
Category: History & Criticism
Subcategory: Literature
Rating: 4.7
Votes: 885
Size Fb2: 1174 kb
Size ePub: 1711 kb
Size Djvu: 1844 kb
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But is there actual evidence of anti-Semitism in the works themselves?. Marc A. Weiner is a professor of Germanic studies and film studies at Indiana University and the author of Undertones of Insurrection (Nebraska 1993).

But is there actual evidence of anti-Semitism in the works themselves?. Weiner’s brilliant book gathers the evidence more meticulously and comprehensively than any has done before, and is essential reading. Barry Millington, Opera. Barry Millington Opera ). A serious attempt to place Wagner’s dramatic work into proper context both in the field of music and in the repertoire of antisemitic literature-and it deserves to be studied carefully. Cecil Bloom, Judaism Today.

Richard Wagner and the Anti-Semitic Imagination (Texts and Contexts). Weiner thinks Wagner's operas are riddled with anti-Semitism

Richard Wagner and the Anti-Semitic Imagination (Texts and Contexts). Weiner thinks Wagner's operas are riddled with anti-Semitism. The villains are all Jewish stereotypes and even the music is meant depict stock anti-Semitic tropes about the Jewish body, gait, voice, and odor.

Antisemitism, Anti-Israelism, Anti-Americanism By Raab, Earl Judaism: A Quarterly Journal of Jewish Life and Thought, Vol. 51, N. .

This book addresses one of the most hotly contested debates in contemporary cultural life: the question of how anti-Semitism figures in the operas of Richard Wagner. Until now, scholars have generally acknowledged Wagner's anti-Semitism but have argued that it is irrelevant to the operas themselves. Antisemitism, Anti-Israelism, Anti-Americanism By Raab, Earl Judaism: A Quarterly Journal of Jewish Life and Thought, Vol. 51, No. 4, Fall 2002.

This banner text can have markup. Weiner challenges that traditional view by asserting that anti-Semitism is a crucial, pervasive feature in Wagner's operas. Dear Internet Archive Supporter, I ask only once a year: please help the Internet Archive today. Weiner argues that the operas exemplify and contribute to a vast collection of images that are patently anti-Semitic - and that were readily recognized as such by nineteenth-century German audiences. These images were associated particularly with the body.

Nobody in their right mind denies that Wagner was an anti-Semite, and a virulent one at that. But is there actual evidence of anti-Semitism in the works themselves?. Weiner's brilliant book gathers the evidence more meticulously and comprehensively than any has done before, and is essential reading. -Barry Millington, Opera. A serious attempt to place Wagner's dramatic work into proper context both in the field of music and in the repertoire of antisemitic literature-and it deserves to be studied carefully. -Cecil Bloom, Judaism Today.

Marc A. Weiner's Richard Wagner and the Anti-Semitic Imagination is an.Above all, however, Weiner wants to establish the cultural context for Wagner's production.

It has long been known that Wagner was an extreme anti-Semite, but what to do with this knowledge has consternated scholars for years. Weiner makes a substantial contribution to Wagner studies through his exposure of how the composer's anti-Semitism pervaded his performative as well as his theoretical oeuvre. Weiner is a professor of Germanic studies and film studies at Indiana University and the author of Undertones of.

Weiner's brilliant book gathers the evidence more meticulously and .

Weiner's brilliant book gathers the evidence more meticulously and comprehensively than any has done before, and is essential reading. A serious attempt to place Wagner's dramatic work into proper context both in the field of music and in the repertoire of antisemitic literature?and it deserves to be studied carefully.

page 134 note 1. R. W. Gutman, Richard Wagner: TheMan, His Mind, and His Music (San Diego: Harcourt Brace . Full text views reflects the number of PDF downloads, PDFs sent to Google Drive, Dropbox and Kindle and HTML full text views. Gutman, Richard Wagner: TheMan, His Mind, and His Music (San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1968,1990), p. 221. page 134 note 2. Ibid. p. 219. page 134 note 3. M. K. Wimsatt and Monroe Beardsley, The Intentional Fallacy, in W. Wimsatt, The Verbal Icon: Studies in the Meaning of Poetry (Lexington: University of Kentucky Press, 1954), p. 4. Recommend this journal.

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This book addresses one of the most hotly contested debates in contemporary cultural life: the question of how anti-Semitism figures in the operas of Richard Wagner. Until now, scholars have generally acknowledged Wagner's anti-Semitism but have argued that it is irrelevant to the operas themselves. Marc A. Weiner challenges that traditional view by asserting that anti-Semitism is a crucial, pervasive feature in Wagner's operas.Weiner argues that the operas exemplify and contribute to a vast collection of images that are patently anti-Semitic - and that were readily recognized as such by nineteenth-century German audiences. These images were associated particularly with the body.Through a careful examination of Wagner's music, libretti, and stage directions, Weiner reconstructs iconographies of corporeal images - iconographies of the eye, voice, smell, gait, and sexuality - that were essential to the operas and were "associated with anti-Semitism and the longing for an imagined German community."

Comments:

Aria
Historians first. Weiner's total lack of contemporary citations backing his thesis as been well documented by earlier reviewers. But what is more shocking and contemptible is his response to critics in his postscript to the paperback edition. Weiner says people who "insist...upon a more positivistic documentation (chronicling the reception of the works in the nineteenth century)..." have somehow missed his point. He seems to believe that overt racism in Wagner's dramas was so obvious to early audiences that no one felt the need to write about it or discuss it in any way. The trouble with this, of course, is that if lack of evidence becomes the best evidence anything can be "proved". It's absurd.

Now academics. Weiner refers to Wagner's prose works as "essayistic productions" eight times! Not satisfied, he also sites their "ideational content". The book is littered with this silliness. (Note the "positivistic" cited above.) Is it any wonder that academia has the reputation of pointy-headed obfuscation? And we also have a "mute point" (p. 322) which I suppose can be charitably blamed on spell-checker or an overworked grad student editor.

Amazon's spell checker has tagged "positivistic" "ideational" and "essayistic". I rest my case. I hope Amazon doesn't reject this review for too many "misspellings".
Landarn
this guy sees anti-semitism under every rock. irritating.
Cerar
Weiner did a great job. wagnerites normally dismiss the allegations of anti-semitism, using the old hat about music as pure art. wagner is a proto-nazi and racist when writing, but a genial artist while composing. Weiner simply organizes a catalogue of music figures, showing their relation to the traditional images of the Jew in German and Slavic culture: the oriental, the black, the clubfoot, the strange and so on. He even makes the most embarassing question: is wagner heard today in spite of his proto-nazi musical ideas or because of them?
Bukelv
I recently finished a paper on this very subject. I personally love Wagnerian opera. I was a fan of it before I was aware of the Anti-Semitic controversy. After reading Das Judenthum in der Musik, there is no doubt that Wagner was an Anti-Semite. This book argues that those ideas that are present in the essay that he wrote under his name, are also present in his musical dramas. This book does a great job presenting the evidence at hand, and has a strong argument. I recommend reading it!
Jarortr
The book's thesis is that Wagner's "good" characters, especially in the "Ring" and "Meistersinger" are all Aryans, while his bad characters are all Jews. This ignores the fact that the "Ring" depicts a struggle between love and the will to power, in which both gods and Nibelungs value power over love, and are morally equivalent. The gods are not "good", nor the Nibelungs "evil". And Wagner is on the side of love, not power. (The Nazis came to realise the gulf between their views and Wagner's, banning performances of both the "Ring" and "Parsifal" throughout the Third Reich, because they contained pacifist and anti-militarist messages. Hitler's admiration for Wagner has been much exaggerated; there's some evidence that he preferred Bruckner.)
Weiner's basic misunderstanding of Wagner's ideas suggests limited acquaintance of, or understanding of, the texts he's attacking. And his arguments are of a standard you'd expect to find in alien abduction books, not scholarly texts.
For example, on page 90 he argues that his "Aryan" characters are associated with noble animals, including the "magic, superior dragon". On page 91 he remembers that Alberich*, who Weiner thinks is an antisemitic caricature, is associated with dragons because he once turned himself into one. So only a page later Weiner calls dragons ignoble "inferior" animals, because that suits his argument. Similarly, "ravens" are noble and therefore Aryan, according to Weiner, when they are associated with Wotan; but he forgets that in "Meistersinger" Walther compares Beckmesser to a raven. If Weiner's "rule" about animals is correct, then Walther is labelling Beckmesser as Aryan. But Weiner's "rules" are the intellectual equivalent of paper tissues; you use them once and then throw them away. (*As early as 1907 George Bernard Shaw pointed out, correctly, that Alberich is a Nibelung, one of an exploited people who work hard in mines and factories; he represents the working class. 19th century antisemites didn't think that Jews were exploited manual labourers. The Nibelungs aren't Jews.)
Weiner consistently makes up rules, then discards them after one use. For example, a rule for spotting "Jewish" characters, says Weiner, is that they have poor eyesight. Mime, in "Siegfried", is described by Siegfried as having dripping eyes. I read that as Mime crying to try to win Siegfried's sympathy, but yes, he _might_ have poor eyesight. But Wotan appears in "Siegfried", in disguise, and meets Mime and Alberich (supposedly "Jewish") and Erda (supposedly "Aryan"). Mime takes a while to recognise Wotan, as does Erda; but sharp-eyed Alberich penetrates the disguise immediately. Logically that should make Mime and Erda (an earth goddess and former lover of Wotan) Jewish, and Alberich Aryan; but Weiner won't apply his "rule" when it doesn't suit him.
Moving to "Meistersinger", Weiner's now forgotten the rule completely, because in Act II Eva disguises herself as her maid Magdalena. Walther, a hero, is fooled until she gets close; Beckmesser is likewise fooled. So is Eva's father Pogner. Sharp-eyed David sees through the disguise immediately. So are they all Jews except David? No, because Weiner's rules apply only when he wants them to. He concludes that only Beckmesser is Jewish. (Beckmesser is the Marker, one of the most respected positions in the Mastersingers, not an outsider from a ghetto. He is the Town Clerk of 16th Century Nuremberg, which is not a town that appointed Jewish Town Clerks. And he is the favoured suitor to win the hand of a rich Christian merchant's daughter, before Walther comes along, without race or religion being an issue. Beckmesser, respected citizen and eligible bachelor - if a little old - is not a Jewish caricature or character, on perfectly clear and unambiguous factual grounds.)
But Weiner's not interested in facts. Two more examples. Jewish characters, says Weiner, sing high. So does that make the heroes Walther, Siegfried and half the Valkyries Jewish? No: only Mime, and, oddly, the baritones Beckmesser and Alberich, who aren't higher than Wotan. And he "forgets" to mention Hagen, Klingsor and Kundry, because though he wants to claim them as Jewish, they sing low. Another Weiner "rule"? Jews sing coloratura, while Aryans sing straight. The rule "proves" Beckmesser is Jewish: he sings coloratura. But so does Brunnhilde in "Siegfried", so is she Jewish too? No, Weiner doesn't apply the "rule" then. And so on.
He also claims, falsely, that these incoherent "rules" of Weiner's were understood in Wagner's day. Since they aren't rules at all, they weren't, of course. He brings forward no evidence to support this claim. And yet there are ample records of contemporary reviews of Wagner's operas, which show that, contrary to Weiner's claim, it never occured to Wagner's contemporaries that his operas contain secret antisemitic messages. I suspect Weiner knows that, because he must have looked through when trying to find something he could quote to support his case; and the silence there is eloquent.
In short this is a silly book, intellectually startling, but not in a good way. It's interesting in the way very bad films are interesting, and a must for bad-argument fans, but it's profoundly dishonest and unreliable as a guide to Wagner.
This is not to say that Wagner was not antisemitic; of course he was (Jacob Katz's "Wagner: The Dark Side of Genius" is a far better book that exposes and condemns Wagner's antisemitism). It is only to say that Wagner had the artistic judgement to keep his cranky and bigoted side out of works that he wanted to have some claim to universality. He was a shoddy human being but a supreme artist.
Laon

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