Sitting in her forest green long velvet dress storyteller and word magician Orunamamu perused the small book of poetry looking for the poem our host had read just before her arrival at the neighbourhood friendship potluck gathering. I had told her about it because I knew she would like it. Something about the combination of courage, gaiety and the quiet mind.

On my hands and knees in my ridiculous but practical hort outfit I spend hours tending to dozens, maybe even, hundreds of plants, perennials, heritage, gifts, volunteers, seeds, flowering, vegetables, herbs, invasives (too enthusiastic at the wrong place and time).

The garden is one place where some of us find courage as we see the tiny new growth on a plant that has looked forlorn for months, barely alive in the fall many of them transplanted perhaps too late in the season surviving somehow the trauma of roots being wrenched apart, moved far from the others in a cold place that will only get colder. Death would have been a logical conclusion but somehow they survived protected by layers of mulch and snow and God’s grace.

I never use the old word gaiety but it does describe the “sweet moment” of gardening when you see a clump of early blue violets flourishing in an urban garden in Calgary, a reminder of my older sister’s uncanny ability to speedily find and make a wild blue violet bouquet; single shooting star plant chosen for the garden because of the Garry Woods fields on Vancouver Island; a single brilliant orange poppy opening in May; and too many to describe because the garden and the robins are waiting.

A quiet mind in an anxious world where even one’s own home and garden is temporary and insecure.

Two years ago the 1950s bungalow across the street with its very old heritage garden was demolished, the fertile ancient river bed soil was scraped away and a duplex quickly filled the entire lot. The front landscaping is as polite as that in any new development.

Last year a neighbour sold and moved back east. The new owner tore out the old garden that had been tended for 15 years replacing it with more practical grass which requires less work in their busy schedule.

On the corner one of our oldest neighbours has finally agreed to his family’s desire to sell. The house was built in 1945 and moved in the 1950’s and is surrounded by a horticultural heritage garden, sun rooms, inviting comfortable sitting areas in every corner, sheds overflowing with tools . . . It too will be sold, demolished, the garden uprooted, the topsoil scoured and replaced by other built forms like the one next door, and the one next to that and the next one: walls of sensible stucco with ubiquitous earth colours coordinating with other homes, designs and forms. Perhaps its what postmodernism has become in the booming housing market, picking up on details from Tudor, Victorian, Queen Ann, etc from here and there and tacking them on superficially. Their height is maximized to the zoning limits and the walls extend to the edge of the property. The intelligent pragmatic architecture and materials of these buildings will be easily recognized in the future as D1 of the 21st century many surviving only as photos since the actual buildings are not made to the same standards as pre-1980s. Fortunately the set back gives room for some old trees and tasteful, smart urban landscapes spaces.

This is not “my” garden. I for a short period of time am simply the worker for the robins, plants and the worms. It is a gift to the street. I work outside the fence. I have to be realistic.

As I dig up ancient river stones I write on them, words that I then reread when I am taking out the braids in the rhizome of roots.

But for today I will compost, mulch, feed, plant, transplant, water, tidy, admire, get tired, feel courage, gaiety and enjoy fleeting moments of a quiet mind.

Locating the Concept of  Success

"We thank Thee for this place in which we dwell;
for the love that unites us;
for the peace accorded us this day;
for the hope with which we expect the morrow;
for the health, the work, the food, and the bright skies,
that make our lives delightful;
for our friends in all parts of the earth,
and our friendly helpers in this foreign isle.
Let peace abound in our small company.
Purge out of every heart the lurking grudge.
Give us grace and strength to forbear and to persevere.
Offenders, give us the grace to accept and to forgive offenders.
Forgetful ourselves, help us to bear cheerfully the forgetfulness of others.
Give us courage and gaiety and the quiet mind.
Spare to us our friends, soften to us our enemies.
Bless us, if it may be, in all our innocent endeavours.
If it may not, give us the strength to encounter that which is to come,
that we be brave in peril, constant in tribulation,
temperate in wrath, and in all changes of fortune,
and, down to the gates of death,
loyal and loving one to another.
As the clay to the potter,
as the windmill to the wind,
as children of their sire,
we beseech of Thee."
Robert Louis Stevenson

Stevenson wrote the Valima Letters after he and his wife Fanny settled In the village of Valima on Upolu island, Samoa. He also became an much-appreciated activist highly critical of European colonial administrators worked very hard on land he had purchased in Vailima. He published A Footnote to History. He died in 1894.


The valkries, warrior maidens, based on Richard Wagner’s (1813-1883) opera music-drama “The Ride of the Valkyries” (1954) illustrated below by Victorian illustrator Arthur Rackman (1867-1939).

The Rhinegold and The Valkyrie comprises Volume One of Russell’s adaptation of the Ring cycle by German composer Richard Wagner. Woton, King of the Gods (god of light, air, and wind) and the father of the 8 Valkries, the warrior-maidens, has exhausted himself and his godly resources to have a mighty fortress built with the labor of the giants, Fasolt and his brother Fafnir (later turned into a dragon). But in his bargaining with them, he has promised his wife Fricka’s (goddess of marriage) sister who is the fair Freia, goddess of love, youth, and beauty and the keeper of the golden apple tree whose fruit gives power and immortality to the gods. The giants come to collect their pay, and only Logé, the trickster god, can find something to offer the giants in exchange: the Rhinegold. The only problem is, Woton doesn’t have the Rhinegold yet!

From Art Images Downloaded

The Ride of the Valkyries Ritt der Walküren) (c.1854), is one of Richard Wagner’s most popular pieces. Although it was written for the opera, it is usually heard as an instrumental.

In the operatic version, as prelude to Act III of Die Walküre, with the mountain peak as backdrop, the orchestra accompanies and enhances the voices of the 8 valkyries or warrior-maidens, daughters of Wotan: Brünnhilde, Waltraute, Helmwige, Gerhilde, Siegrune, Schwertleite, Ortlinde, Grimgerde and Rossweisse singing their greetings to each other and their battle cry as they gather together to bring home their fallen heroes to Valhalla.

Richard Wagner wrote four operas that comprise Der Ring des Nibelungen and Walkürenritt is the second.

Christopher J. Noel conducting the UI Symphony Orchestra playing Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyries” at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, Feb. 2007

A Timeline of Selected Events Related to Walkürenritt.

620 BC-563 BC Aesop,

“The life and history is involved, like that of Homer, the most famous of Greek poets, in much obscurity. Sardis, the capital of Lydia; Samos, a Greek island; Mesembria, an ancient colony in Thrace; and Cotiaeum, the chief city of a province of Phrygia, contend for the distinction of being the birthplace of Aesop. Although the honor thus claimed cannot be definitely assigned to any one of these places, yet there are a few incidents now generally accepted by scholars as established facts, relating to the birth, life, and death of Aesop. He is, by an almost universal consent, allowed to have been born about the year 620 B.C., and to have been by birth a slave. He was owned by two masters in succession, both inhabitants of Samos, Xanthus and Jadmon, the latter of whom gave him his liberty as a reward for his learning and wit. One of the privileges of a freedman in the ancient republics of Greece, was the permission to take an active interest in public affairs; and Aesop, like the philosophers Phaedo, Menippus, and Epictetus, in later times, raised himself from the indignity of a servile condition to a position of high renown. In his desire alike to instruct and to be instructed, he travelled through many countries, and among others came to Sardis, the capital of the famous king of Lydia, the great patron, in that day, of learning and of learned men. He met at the court of Croesus with Solon, Thales, and other sages, and is related so to have pleased his royal master, by the part he took in the conversations held with these philosophers, that he applied to him an expression which has since passed into a proverb, “The Phrygian has spoken better than all.”

“On the invitation of Croesus he fixed his residence at Sardis, and was employed by that monarch in various difficult and delicate affairs of State. In his discharge of these commissions he visited the different petty republics of Greece. At one time he is found in Corinth, and at another in Athens, endeavouring, by the narration of some of his wise fables, to reconcile the inhabitants of those cities to the administration of their respective rulers Periander and Pisistratus. One of these ambassadorial missions, undertaken at the command of Croesus, was the occasion of his death. Having been sent to Delphi with a large sum of gold for distribution among the citizens, he was so provoked at their covetousness that he refused to divide the money, and sent it back to his master. The Delphians, enraged at this treatment, accused him of impiety, and, in spite of his sacred character as ambassador, executed him as a public criminal. This cruel death of Aesop was not unavenged. The citizens of Delphi were visited with a series of calamities, until they made a public reparation of their crime; and, “The blood of Aesop” became a well-known adage, bearing witness to the truth that deeds of wrong would not pass unpunished. Neither did the great fabulist lack posthumous honors; for a statue was erected to his memory at Athens, the work of Lysippus, one of the most famous of Greek sculptors. Phaedrus thus immortalizes the event:

Aesopo ingentem statuam posuere Attici,
Servumque collocarunt aeterna in basi:
Patere honoris scirent ut cuncti viam;
Nec generi tribui sed virtuti gloriam.

“These few facts are all that can be relied on with any degree of certainty, in reference to the birth, life, and death of Aesop. They were first brought to light, after a patient search and diligent perusal of ancient authors, by a Frenchman, M. Claude Gaspard Bachet de Mezeriac, who declined the honor of being tutor to Louis XIII of France, from his desire to devote himself exclusively to literature. He published his Life of Aesop, Anno Domini 1632. The later investigations of a host of English and German scholars have added very little to the facts given by M. Mezeriac. The substantial truth of his statements has been confirmed by later criticism and inquiry. It remains to state, that prior to this publication of M. Mezeriac, the life of Aesop was from the pen of Maximus Planudes, a monk of Constantinople, who was sent on an embassy to Venice by the Byzantine Emperor Andronicus the elder, and who wrote in the early part of the fourteenth century. His life was prefixed to all the early editions of these fables, and was republished as late as 1727 by Archdeacon Croxall as the introduction to his edition of Aesop. This life by Planudes contains, however, so small an amount of truth, and is so full of absurd pictures of the grotesque deformity of Aesop, of wondrous apocryphal stories, of lying legends, and gross anachronisms, that it is now universally condemned as false, puerile, and unauthentic. 101 It is given up in the present day, by general consent, as unworthy of the slightest credit. George Fyler Townsend, George Fyler . “

567 Brynhildr (c. 543 – 613), the Visigothic princess Brunhilda married king Sigebert I of Austrasia. Princess Brynhildr who ruled the eastern kingdoms of Austrasia and Burgundy in the names of her sons and grandsons was first admired as a leader but became notorious for her avarice and cruelty. Her story includes fratricide with long battles between brothers, and with the Huns. Brynhildr (Brunhilda) may have been Wagner’s inspiration for the warrior maiden Brünnhilde, one of the valkyries, daughter of Wotan in Wagner’s operatic series entitled Der Ring des Nibelungen.

599 When Brunhilda’s eldest grandson, Theudebert I, exiled her, she was found wandering near Arcis in Champagne by a peasant, who brought her to Theuderic II who fell under her influence and sought vengeance against his older brother leading to war between the brothers. From then onwards Brunhilda became ruthless and violent.

613 Princess Brynhildr was tortured and executed.

“Then the army of the Franks and Burgundians joined into one, all shouted together that death would be most fitting for the very wicked Brunhilda. Then King Clotaire ordered that she be lifted on to a camel and led through the entire army. Then she was tied to the feet of wild horses and torn apart limb from limb. Finally she died. Her final grave was the fire. Her bones were burnt.” One legend has her being dragged by a wild mare down the Roman road La Chaussée Brunehaut at Abbeville.

400-500 The origins of the material upon which the Völsungasaga is based, echo real events in Central Europe during the fifth and sixth centuries.

The Nibelungenlied, translated as The Song of the Nibelungs, is an epic poem in Middle High German. The story tells of dragon-slayer Siegfried at the court of the Burgundians, how he was murdered, and of his wife Kriemhild’s revenge. The Nibelungenlied is based on pre-Christian Germanic heroic motifs (the “Nibelungensaga”), which include oral traditions and reports based on historic events and individuals of the 5th and 6th centuries. Old Norse parallels of the legend survive in the Völsunga saga, the Prose Edda, the Poetic Edda, the Legend of Norna-Gest, and the Þiðrekssaga.

C. 1000 AD The earliest known pictorial representation of this tradition is the Ramsund carving, Sweden, which was created c. 1000 AD.

c. 1180- 1210 An anonymous poet from the area of the Danube between Passau and Vienna, probably was the author of the written Nibelungenlied possibly at the court of Wolfger von Erla, the bishop of Passau (in office 1191–1204). Most scholars consider it likely that the author was a man of literary and ecclesiastical education at the bishop’s court, and that the poem’s recipients were the clerics and noblemen at the same court. The “Nibelung’s lament” (Diu Klage), a sort of appendix to the poem proper, mentions a “Meister Konrad” who was charged by a bishop “Pilgrim” of Passau with the copying of the text. This is taken as a reference to Saint Pilgrim, bishop of Passau from 971–991. wiki

c. 1180 French poet Chrestien de Troyes composed the famous “Comte del Graal” on the subject of Parzival  possibly about 1180. Chrestien situates the story of Parzival as part of the cycle of King Arthur. Wolfram mentions this work, but cites as his source the work of an unknown Provencal poet, Kyot (Guiot).

1200-1216 Bavarian-born Middle High German epic poet Wolfram von Eschenbach (died c. 1216) wrote the epic poem entitled Parzival, which consists of 25, 000 verses. Wolfram von Eschenbach also situates the story of Parzival and his search for the Holy Grail within the Arthurian cycle. Parzival is a simpleton who passes through struggle and temptation to become finally the King of the Holy Grail and to earn the highest earthly happiness. Wolfram von Eschenbach owned Wildenberg, a small estate near Ansbach. Ludwig II of Bavaria was inspired by the poem, and Singers’ Hall in his castle Neuschwanstein is decorated with tapestries and paintings depicting the story. He was also patron to the composer Richard Wagner and encouraged him to create the opera Parsifal based on the epic. He then commissioned eight private performances of the work. Wagner writes Wolfram into his opera Tannhäuser in a romanticized form.

c. 1220-1250 Nibelungenlied Manuscript C, Folio 1r, Owned by Landesbank Baden-Württemberg and Bundesrepublik Deutschland. Permanent loan to the Badische Landesbibliothek, Karlsruhe (Codex Donaueschingen 63).

1245-1265 Bavarian Middle High German Minnesänger and poet Tannhäuser presumed familial lineage with the Lords of Thannhausen, residents in their castle at Tannhausen, near Ellwangen and Dinkelsbühl. The historical Tannhausen castle, is at Neumarkt in der Oberpfalz.

 Der Tannhäuser Teutonic Order habit, suggesting he might have fought the Fifth Crusade (1213–21).

He may have fought the Fifth Crusade (1213–21).

c. 1280 The Völsungasaga (often referred to in English as the Volsunga Saga or Saga of the Völsungs) is a legendary saga, a late 13th century Icelandic prose rendition of the origin and decline of the Völsung clan (including the story of Sigurd and Brynhild and destruction of the Burgundians). It is largely based on epic poetry.

1400 The only manuscript of the saga, The Völsungasaga Ny kgl. Saml. 1824 b 4to, dates to about 1400. In this manuscript, the saga leads straight in to Ragnars saga loðbrókar.

The Middle High German epic poem Nibelungenlied is based largely on the old stories, which were commonly known in all of the Germanic lands from the early Middle Ages on, but reworks the material into a courtly medieval setting.
Among the more notable adaptations of The Völsungasaga are Richard Wagner’s operatic tetralogy, Der Ring des Nibelungen (1876), Ernest Reyer’s opera Sigurd (1867), and William Morris’s epic poem The Story of Sigurd the Volsung and the Fall of the Niblungs.

1430 Based on his erotic Bußlied, (Poem on Atonement) Tannhäuser became the subject of legend, first attested in 1430, propagated in ballads from 1450. The legendary account makes Tannhäuser a knight and poet who found the Venusberg, the subterranean home of Venus, and spent a year there worshipping the goddess.

1475 The execution of Brunehaut was illustrated in Laurent de Premier translated edition of Giovanno Boccaccio’s Des Cas Nobles Hommes et Femmes.

The illustration associated with the workshop of Maître François is described as MS in French on paper, Paris, ca. 1475, 508 ff. (-6), 37×26 cm, 2 columns, (27×19 cm), 41-42 lines in a distinguished lettre bâtarde, headings in red, 2-line illuminated initials in burnished gold on red and blue grounds with white tracery, 3-to 4-line initials in red and blue with coloured flowers on burnished gold grounds, 5 very large (average 11,5×18,5 cm,) miniatures in arched compartments, with full borders of flowers, fruit and gold ivy leaves on hairline stems, by a workshop associated with Maître François. Binding: France, 16th c., pigskin over wooden boards, sewn on 5 double cords, rolltooled, stamped with roundels of Hus, Luther, Erasmus and Melanchton and others. Provenance: 1. Gyrard Laurens, France (ca. 1475); 2. Louis Malet, Lord of Graville, Admiral of France (d. 1516, until 1518); 3. Anne de Graville, poetress (from 1518); 4. Claude d’Urfe, l’Abbatie, le Forez (17th-18th c.); 5. Duc de la Vallière, Paris (from 1776); 6. Montjoye; 7. Sotheby’s 13.7.1977:44; 8. Sotheby’s 6.12.1988:46; 9. Sam Fogg, Cat. 12(1989):22. Commentary: The text is Premierfait’s 2nd version completed in 1409, dedicated to Jehan Duc du Berry. About 60 illuminated copies survive. This text belongs to group “A” in Carla Bozzolo’s stemma of textual variants. Exhibited: The text is Premierfait’s 2nd version completed in 1409, dedicated to Jehan Duc du Berry. About 60 illuminated copies survive. This text belongs to group “A” in Carla Bozzolo’s stemma of textual variants. MS 268

1632 A Frenchman, M. Claude Gaspard Bachet de Mezeriac, published his Life of Aesop, Anno Domini. De Mezeriac was offered a position as tutor to Louis XIII bur declined in order to devote himself exclusively to literature.

1618-1648 30 Years War involved most of Europe and shaped colonialism, ending in the Peace of Westphalia and the formation of the concept of Westphalian nation-state, was fought in what is now Germany territory.

1751-1820 Bildung is a central concept of Classical culture (Bruford) and German and enlightenment emancipation. Bildung refers to self-formation or the culture of the inner man. Pestalozzi and Christian Wilhelm (1751-1820) promoted Bildung in terms of both individual development and social policy through policies and practices.  From the 18th century to WWII Bildung and middle-class respectability became integral to German nationalist ideologies (Grossman 2000:16).

1774 German philosopher, theologian and poet Johann Gottfried von Herder (1744 – 1803)  published Volkslieder, a collection of translations of folk songs from around the world.

1781 The period of German Jewish civil emancipation in the Germanies was tied to the uses of Yiddish language in German literary and cultural contexts. During this period until 1936 German Jews espoused the concept of Bildung and attitudes of tolerance and liberal ideas promoting the entrance of German Jews into bourgeois society (Grossman 2000).

1784 German philosopher, theologian and poet Johann Gottfried von Herder (1744 – 1803) associated with the periods of Enlightenment, Sturm und Drang, and Weimar Classicism (Goethe/Schiller) published  his book entitled “Ideas on the Philosophy of the History of Mankind” in which his asserted that all true culture must rise from authentic culture of the “the volk”, common people, not from the cosmopolitan mannerism of the upper classes which was a rejection of the influence of French aristocracy in German provinces.

1789 The French Revolution.

1790 Schiller, Johann Christoph Friedrich von (1759-1805) wrote about the 30 Years War which involved most of Europe and shaped colonialism, ending in the Peace of Westphalia and the formation of the concept of Westphalian nation-state, was fought in what is now Germany territory.

“All this was effected by religion. Religion alone could have rendered possible all that was accomplished, but it was far from being the SOLE motive of the war. Had not private advantages and state interests been closely connected with it, vain and powerless would have been the arguments of theologians; and the cry of the people would never have met with princes so willing to espouse their cause, nor the new doctrines have found such numerous, brave, and persevering champions. The Reformation is undoubtedly owing in a great measure to the invincible power of truth, or of opinions which were held as such. The abuses in the old church, the absurdity of many of its dogmas, the extravagance of its requisitions, necessarily revolted the tempers of men, already half-won with the promise of a better light, and favourably disposed them towards the new doctrines. The charm of independence, the rich plunder of monastic institutions, made the Reformation attractive in the eyes of princes, and tended not a little to strengthen their inward convictions. Nothing, however, but political considerations could have driven them to espouse it. Had not Charles the Fifth, in the intoxication of success, made an attempt on the independence of the German States, a Protestant league would scarcely have rushed to arms in defence of freedom of belief; but for the ambition of the Guises, the Calvinists in France would never have beheld a Conde or a Coligny at their head. Without the exaction of the tenth and the twentieth penny, the See of Rome had never lost the United Netherlands. Princes fought in self-defence or for aggrandizement, while religious enthusiasm recruited their armies, and opened to them the treasures of their subjects. Of the multitude who flocked to their standards, such as were not lured by the hope of plunder imagined they were fighting for the truth, while in fact they were shedding their blood for the personal objects of their princes (Schiller, Johann Christoph Friedrich von (1759-1805). 1791–93. A History of the Thirty Years’ War in Germany (1618 –1648) Geschichte des dreißigjährigen Kriegs).”

1791 Mozart’s The Magic Flute Die Zauberflote combined tales of trial and redemption involving supernatural forces which the meditative and philosophically-inclined Germans appreciated (Florea 2004:772).”

1793 Austria, the Kingdom of Sardinia, the Kingdom of Naples, Prussia, Spain and the Kingdom of Great Britain formed the First Coalition against Napoleon.

1797 When the First Coalition were defeated by Napoleon Austrians were forced to accept terms of The Treaty of Campo Formio or Peace of Campo Formio through which a number of Austrian territories were ceded to Napoleon.

1813 Wagner is born (His birth described in Kultur’s Wagner 17:34/1:36:57.

1813 Napoleon’s Grande Armée suffered disastrous defeat in Russia. As the risk of epidemic rose with the arrival of many sick and wounded French soldiers in Berlin’s hospitals, resentment against French occupation festered among patriotic Germans.

1813-1814 German composer, writer and literary critic, E. T. A. Hoffmann, wrote Undine which incorporated fantastic elements and a wild, ominous nature (Florea 2004:772).” Undine

1814 Wagner is 1.

1812-1857 Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm published the series Grimms’ Fairy Tales which contain much anti-Semitic material where Jews are cast as villain of stories, such as in “The Good Bargain (Der gute Handel)” and “The Jew Among Thorns (Der Jude im Dorn).”

1815 Wagner is 2. Napoleon was defeated at Waterloo ending the Napoleonic Wars.

1816 Wagner is 3

1817 Wagner is 4

1818 Wagner is 5. German philosopherArthur Schopenhauer’s (1788 – 1860) central work entitled The World as Will and Representation (Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung) was published. German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer published his doctoral dissertation entitled “On the Fourfold Root of the Principle of Sufficient Reason. Schopenhauer revised this important work and re-published it in 1847. Throughout all Schopenhauer’s later works he consistently refers his readers to this short treatise as the necessary beginning point for a full understanding of his entire system. Schopenhauer appropriated and extended Immanuel Kant’s theory of knowledge, his epistemology.  Schopenhauer transformed Kant’s forms of sensibility (space, time, and causality) into what Schopenhauer referred to as “the understanding.” Kant’s distinguished between the thing-in-itself and the phenomenal world in which it appears, i.e., the world as we represent it to ourselves.

Payne concisely summarized the Fourfold Root, “Our knowing consciousness…is divisible solely into subject and object. To be object for the subject and to be our representation or mental picture are one and the same. All our representations are objects for the subject, and all objects of the subject are our representations. These stand to one another in a regulated connection which in form is determinable a priori, and by virtue of this connection nothing existing by itself and independent, nothing single and detached, can become an object for us. …The first aspect of this principle is that of becoming, where it appears as the law of causality and is applicable only to changes. Thus if the cause is given, the effect must of necessity follow. The second aspect deals with [knowing] concepts or abstract representations, which are themselves drawn from representations of intuitive perception, and here the principle of sufficient reason states that, if certain premises are given, the conclusion must follow. The third aspect of the principle is concerned with being in space and time, and shows that the existence of one relation inevitably implies the other, thus that the equality of the angles of a triangle necessarily implies the equality of its sides and vice versa. Finally, the fourth aspect deals with [willing] actions, and the principle appears as the law of motivation, which states that a definite course of action inevitably ensues on a given character and motive (Payne, E. F. J. 1954. Trans. “Translator’s Introduction.” in  to Schopenhauer, Arthur. 1954 [1818]. The World as Will and Representation. Dover Publications).

1819 Wagner is 6

1820 Wagner is 7.

1821 Wagner is 8

1821 Wagner is 8 Carl Maria von Weber composed Der Freischutz (The Freeshooter) on a Faustian theme of man selling his soul to the devil in exchange for magic bullets that would enable him to win the heart of his beloved. The “opera basks in the dark mystery of Northern forest populated with fantastic characters.” After a battle pitting angels against devils, the hero redeems himself (Florea 2004:772).”

1822 Wagner is 9

1823 Wagner is 10

1824 Wagner is 11

1825 Wagner is 12

1826 Wagner is 13

1827 Wagner is 14

1828 Wagner is 15

1829 Wagner is 16

1830 Wagner is 17

1831 Wagner is 18

1832 Wagner is 19. Wagner was born in Leipzig and educated in Dresden and at the Leipzig Thomasschule. We wrote his Symphony in C in 1832 and his first completed opera was Die Feen The Fairies written in the style of Carl Maria von Weber’s Oberon. It was not however performed in his lifetime. His next work, Das Liebesverbot Forbidden Love based on Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure was produced in 1836 at Magdeburg where Wagner had been appointed music director two years earlier. There he met Minna Planer w member of the company who became his wife in 1836 (The Houghton Miffln dictionary of biography).  (The Houghton Miffln dictionary of biography).

King Max of Bavaria restored the Royal Castle Hohenschwangau between 1832 and 1836 in a romantic medieval style. Hohenschwangau’s position can only be called magnificent; it is situated beside a blue alpine lake, the Alpsee, and about 2 kilometres from the Austrian border and the Tyrolean Alps. Ludwig II, King Max’s grandson (1845-1888) and the future King of Bavaria and Wagner’s infatuated patron had a miserable childhood in which he was constantly received beatings. Ludwig’s favourite times of the year were the summer holidays the family spent at the Castle Hohenschwangau surrounded by murals describing the Swan Knight. etc. The Queen enjoyed taking Ludwig and his younger brother Otto on lengthy hikes in the nearby alps and it would have been on these occasions that Ludwig developed his love of the mountains and their solitude, as well as his lifelong devotion to the Schwangau region. He also loved to feed the wild swans that lived around the lake, and several drawings of swans that he made at this time survive today (more).

1833 Wagner is 20

1834 Wagner is 21

1835 Wagner is 22

1836 Wagner is 23

1836 Wagner Das Liebesverbot Forbidden Love based on Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure was produced in 1836 at Magdeburg where Wagner had been appointed music director two years earlier. There he met Minna Planer w member of the company who became his wife in 1836. The Magdeburg opera soon went bankrupt as did the theatre at Konigsberg where Wagner found his next post. (The Houghton Mifflin dictionary of biography).  Jewish composer Giacomo Meyerbeer produced his opera entitled Les Huguenots in the style of the grand opera which was a huge success at the Paris Opera (1836-02-29). Grand opera included “large crowd scenes, grandiose ballets, lavish settings and stage props such as flying machines.” French opera storylines were often “adapted from medieval legends, classical mythology, or French history.” Les Huguenots was a “kaleidoscope of rapidly shifting audio-visual tableaux depicting conflicts between religious and political factions in France on the eve of the Night of St. Bartholomew (Florea 2004:772).”

1837 Wagner is 24. Cosima Francesca Gaetana Wagner, (1837  – 1930) was born out of wedlock, at Como, Italy, to the Countess Marie d’Agoult, a longtime mistress of Liszt who, after their affair had ended, became an author using the pen name Daniel Stern.

1838 Wagner is 25

1839 Wagner is 26. Wagner was assistant composer at Riga (1837-39).

1840 Wagner is 27. “The young Engels wrote in 1840 eulogising Siegfried’s homeland and asking ‘What is the song of Anno archbishop of Cologne against the Nibelungen? (Engels. Siegfrieds Heimat. in Marx-Engels Gesamtausgabe. Eds D. Rajazamov and V. Adoratski. Berlin 1927-32. vol 1/2. p. 9 in Berry 2006:22).

1841 Wagner is 28. Jewish composer Giacomo Meyerbeer  gave Richard Wagner financial support and used his influence to help Wagner stage his first successful opera entitled Rienzi in Dresden, Saxony. At this time Wagner was a slavish admirer of the work of Meyerbeer.

1842 Wagner is 29.

1842-1861 Hungarian composer, virtuoso pianist, teacher and benefactor Franz Liszt (1811-1886) was appointed Kapellmeister Extraordinaire by the Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna of Russia to settle at Weimar.  During this period in Weimar Liszt he acted as conductor at court concerts and gave lessons to a number of pianists, including the great virtuoso Hans von Bülow, who married Liszt’s daughter Cosima in 1857 (years later, she would marry Richard Wagner). Franz Liszt (1811-1886) wrote articles championing Berlioz and Wagner. His efforts on behalf of Wagner, who was then an exile in Switzerland, culminated in the first performance of Lohengrin in 1850.

1842 Wagner is 29. Wagner resolved to try his luck in Paris with his partly finished opera based on Bulwer Lytton’s romance Rienzi. There in spite of Giacomo Meyerbeer’s help he barely made a living as journalist and by undertaking hack operatic arrangements. He left Paris in 1842 with Rienzi- which he finished in a debtor’s prison-still unperformed, but now accepted for presentation at Dresden where it scored a resounding success (The Houghton Mifflin dictionary of biography).

1843 Wagner is 30. Wagner produced Der fliegende Hollander The Flying Dutchman which incorporated medeival legends of salvation and redemption. In Der fliegende Hollander The Flying Dutchman Wagner incorporated medeival legends of salvation and redemption (Florea 2004:772).” Der fliegende Hollander (1843 The Flying Dutchman was also successful and Wagner was shortly afterwards appointed Kapellmeister at Dresden. There he conducted performances of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and other works that became legendary (The Houghton Mifflin dictionary of biography).

1844 Wagner is 31. 1844 Friedrich Nietzsche (1844–1900) was born. His grandparents were from the Province of Saxony.

1845 The baby who was to become the future King Ludwig II of Bavaria (1864-) was born in Nymphenburg Castle outside Munich in the early hours of August 25, 1845. He was the eldest son of King Maximillian II and Queen Marie, and was named after his grandfather, King Ludwig I.

1845 Wagner is 32. Tannhauser was produced in Dresden in 1845. At this point Wagner began work on the theme that was to develop into the Ring Cycle. He began with the poem for Seigfried’s Tod (The Death of Siegfried” the future Gotterdommerung Twilight of the Gods, which he completed in 1848. Lohengrin was finished in 1848 but by this time Wagner was deeply implicated in the revolutionary movement and barely escaped arrest by fleeing from Saxony (The Houghton Mifflin dictionary of biography).  In Tannhauser Richard Wagner incorporated medeival legends of salvation and redemption and “succumbed to the charms of grand opera” (Florea 2004:772).

“Wagner’s story behind his opera in three acts entitled Tannhäuser and the Song Contest on the Wartburg was based on the Wartburgkrieg (c. 1250), the Tannhauserlied (c.1515), probably suggested by L. Bechstein’s der Sagenschatz und die Sagenkreise des Thuringerlandes (1835-8) with ideas from L. Tieck’s Der getreue Eckhart und der Tannenhauser (1799), E. T. A. Hoffmann’s Der Kampf der Sanger (1818) and Heine’s Der Tannhauser. Wagner’s opera premiered in Dresden in 1845-10-19. The Wartburg Thuringia, at the beginning of the 13th century. Inside the Venusberg. Tannhauser sings in praise of the pleasures offered him by Venus. But sated he longs to return to the world, and when he names the Virgin Mary, the Venusburg disappears and he finds himself in the valley of the Wartburg where a young shepherd is singing. A group of pilgrims passes on the way to Rome; then horns herald the landgrave Hermann, Tannhauser’s friend Wolfram and other knights. They welcome Tannhauser after his absence and he decides to return with them after hearing how sad the Landgrave’s niece Elizabeth has been since his departure. The Hall of Song in Warburg Castle. Elizabeth greets the Hall, then welcomes Tannhauser who will not however reveal where he has been. The knights and their guests enter for the song contest; the Landgrave announces the theme as love. Wolfram sings of a pure, selfless love; but Tannhauser follows with an outburst in praise of Venus. The knights threaten him but Elizabeth follows with an outburst in praise of Venus. The knights threaten him but Elizabeth intervenes. Tannhauser promises atonement; he is banished to seek absolution from the Pope, and joins the pilgrims. In the Valley of Wartburg, several months later, Elizabeth is praying for Tannhauser’s forgiveness. When she sadly returns home Wolfram prays to the evening star to protect her. Tannhauser returns, distraught at the Pope’s refusal of absolution: he can now only return to Venus. A funeral procession approaches: Elizabeth has died of a broken heart. Tannhauser sinks dead beside her. Pilgrims arrive from Rome with the Pope’s staff which has sprouted leaves in token that God has forgiven him.”

1846 Wagner is 33.

1847 Wagner is 34.

1848 German composer Richard Wagner (1813-1883) at 35-years-old was already a relentlessly obnoxious and egomaniacal personality who believed that his musical genius entitled him to wealth and power. He was a political activist who was partly responsible for the burning of the Opera House in Dresden, Saxony. Accused of inciting the popular uprising he was forced into exile. In Saxony he competed unsuccessfully with the popular Jewish composer Giacomo Meyerbeer.

1848 Wagner at 35 completed Gotterdommerung Twilight of the Gods and Lohengrin was finished in 1848 (The Houghton Mifflin dictionary of biography). Liszt (37-years-old) Settles in Weimar. Writes Consolations and begins work on Les Préludes and Berg Symphony. Wagner writes Lohengrin. Donizetti and Chateaubriand die. Uprisings in most European countries, Louis Napoleon elected president.

1848 The failure of the 1848 revolutions in France, Italy, and a number of German states symbolized to many people the failure of the Romantic ideals of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Literature and arts were shifting to realism in style and subject matter, and the era of industrialization and modernization was quickly becoming a reality. As a result, composers of the mid-1800s were left with the task of creating a musical language and style befitting the new cultural climate (Stapleton-Corcoran 2004:774).

1849 The first performance of the hugely successful 5 act opera Le prophète (The Prophet) by German Jewish composer Giacomo Meyerbeer opened at the Théâtre de l’Académie Royale de Musique, Paris in 1849. By 1850 the opera had been performed in London, Vienna, Lisbon, Antwerp, New Orleans, Budapest, Brussels, Prague and Basel as well as in cities all over Germany. Its tremendous success continued throughout the 19th century.

1849 The Saxon Revolution. Liszt is 38. He aids Wagner’s who is 36 escape to Switzerland after he flees Dresden revolt. Liszt conducts Tannhauser. Chopin dies. Schumann writes Manfred. Garabaldi overthrown.  Wagner was deeply implicated in the revolutionary movement and barely escaped arrest by fleeing from Saxony (The Houghton Mifflin dictionary of biography).

1850 Wagner is 37. Liszt is 39. Aided financially by Franz Liszt at Weimar he went first to Paris and then to Zurich. Lohengrin was eventually produced in Weimar by Liszt in 1850 (The Houghton Mifflin  dictionary of biography). Prometheus first version performed. Composes Héroïde funèbre and Ad nos, ad salutarem undam. Balzac dies.

1850 Richard Wagner incorporated medeival legends of salvation and redemption in his opera Lohengrin which is considered to be the last important German Romantic opera (Florea 2004:772). 1850 Wagner’s Lohengrin premiered at the Deutsche Nationaltheater and Staatskapelle Weimar (DNT), the most important musical and theatrical venue in Weimar in Germany.  Franz Liszt championed the music of Richard Wagner and conducted the world premieres of Wagner’s Lohengrin in 1850.

1850 German composer Richard Wagner published Das Judenthum in der Musik (“Jewishness in Music”) under a pseudonym in the Neue Zeitschrift für Musik. The essay began as an attack on Jewish composers, particularly Wagner’s contemporaries (and rivals) Felix Mendelssohn and Giacomo Meyerbeer, but expanded to accuse Jews of being a harmful and alien element in German culture. The article was republished under Wagner’s name in 1869. It is regarded by many as an important landmark in the history of German antisemitism.

1851 Wagner is 38. Bulow becomes Liszt’s pupil. Writes Mazeppa, two Polonaises, and the final versions of the Transcendental Études and the Grand Études of Paganini. Writes book F. Chopin. Melville publishes Moby Dick. Verdi writes Rigoletto. Wagner writes book Opera and Drama.

1850s Hungarian-born composer and piano virtuoso Franz Liszt; German composer Richard Wagner and French composer Hector Berlioz created a progressive faction of composers known as the New German school that championed music’s association with literary elements and opposed the Classicism of most Viennese composers. The New German school created three new musical genres: a multimovement composition associated with a story or poem called the program symphony (Berlioz), a one movement, programmic orchestral genre composed in free musical form called the symphonic poem (Liszt); and the music drama (Wagner), an idiom in which music, poetry, drama, and stagecraft all serve to enhance the dramatic work as a whole (Stapleton-Corcoran 2004:774).” Examples of Wagner’s music dramas include Tristan and Isolde, The Ring of the Nibelung, a four-opera cycle based on Norse mythology comprised of The Rhinegold, the Valkrie, Siegfried, the Twilight of the Gods.

1852 Wagner is 39. During his exile Wagner made a living by writing, and he completed the poem of the Ring Cycle in 1852. Liszt conducts the premieres of Schumann’s Manfred and Berlioz’s Benvenuto Cellini. Joachim turns-coat and leaves Liszt circle. Cornelius comes onboard. Napoleon III establishes Second Empire in France. Wagner had intended on a single drama Siegfried’s Tod. The work increased as he realized his historical explanations could not be reduced to one drama. The stature and complexity of Wotan increased from the Nibelung Plan of 1848 to the revision of Der junge Siegfried in 1852.  (Berry 2006:10). Why did this happen? The optimistic view of the Ring may have been influenced by Feuerbach’s philosophy and Wagner’s activism in revolutionary politics. The pessimistic view may have been informed by Wagner’s exile in Switzerland and on his reading of the pessimistic Schopenhauer.

1853 Wagner at 40 began to write the music for Das Rhinegold, The Rhinegold. Liszt Writes Sonata in B minor, Ballade no.2 and Festklänge. Liszt visits children & mother in Paris with Carolyne and Wagner. Verdi writes both Il Trovatore and La Traviata. Cosima Francesca Gaetana Wagner, (1837  – 1930) was introduced to Richard Wagner  (1813-1883)  by her father composer Franz Liszt. Wagner was still married to Minna Planer.

1854 Wagner is 41. 1854 Liszt noted that there was already a Wagner Literature to which he too had contributed. Wagner was an author as well as a composer. In 1854 Wagner began composition of Die Walkure. Wagner claimed that his world-view found its most perfect artistic expression in the Ring poem. Only Wagner could write the gesamthunstwerk of the Ring of the Nibelung. Liszt described Wagner as a dramatist, decorator, machinist, copyist, Kapellmeister, schoolmaster when it concerns his own work (Berry 2006:1).

Wagner was transformed by his reading of Arthur Schopenhauer’s “Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung” (The World as Will and Representation). Wagner claimed that Schopenhauer enabled him to conceptualize his deepest intuitions (Berry 2006:13). Both Feuerbach’s Thoughts on Death and Immortality and Schopenhauer’s World as Will and Representation share common roots in German Romanticism. Romantic writers such as Novalis were crucial to understanding Wagner’s use of music and words to express ideas. Germany was deemed by Wagner to possess the peculiar ability indeed an imperative to synthesize developments from other nations and to bring them to their conclusion (SS Richard Wagner. Samtliche Schriften and Dichtungen. Eds R. Sternfield. H. von Wolzogen. 16 vol in 10. Leipzig 1912-4 in (Berry 2006:18). Wagner wrote of his preoccupations with Schopenhauer and Tristan in a letter to Franz Liszt (1854-12-06). Schopenhauer argued that man, is driven by continued, unachievable desires. Humans experience only misery since there an unbridgeable abyss between our desire to know/love and our incapacity to comprehend knowledge/love. Schopenhauer reinterpreted Kantian concepts of phenomenon and noumenon. In his  dramatization of the legend of Tristan and Isolde, Wagner inserts the concept of phenomenon as the false realm of day where lovers are bound by social mores to smother their love. Noumenon or the impossibility of fully knowing reality/ love/each other is represented by the Night. Under the dictates of social mores, Tristan was forced to remove Isolde from Ireland and to marry her to his Uncle Marke even though he himself loved her. His desire Sehnen can never be fully assuaged since even in the realm of night/noumenon it is impossible for the lovers to sustain their love for one another. They can only truly love each other when joined in death. (“Dem Land das Tristan meint, der Sonne Licht nicht scheint”).  According to Schopenhauer man can only achieve inner peace if he renounces his desires. Wagner fully explored fully this theme in his last opera, Parsifal.

Schopenhauer’s identification of the Kantian noumenon (i.e., the actually existing entity) with what he termed “will” deserves some explanation. The noumenon was what Kant called theDing an Sich, the “Thing in Itself”, the reality that is the foundation of our sensory and mental representations of an external world. In Kantian terms, those sensory and mental representations are mere phenomena. Schopenhauer departed from Kant in his description of the relationship between the phenomenon and the noumenon. According to Kant, things-in-themselves ground the phenomenal representations in our minds; Schopenhauer, on the other hand, believed phenomena and noumena to be two different sides of the same coin. Noumena do not cause phenomena, but rather phenomena are simply the way by which our minds perceive the noumena, according to the Principle of Sufficient Reason. This is explained more fully in Schopenhauer’s doctoral thesis, On the Fourfold Root of the Principle of Sufficient Reason.

The harmonic language of the later nineteenth century saw the introduction of bold, complex chords and a nontraditional, shocking treatment of dissonances that stretched postclassical harmony to its utmost limits and, in works of Liszt (the ‘Faust’ Symphony [1854]; Nuages gris [Gray Clouds, 1881] for piano) and Wagner (Tristan and Isolde, [1857-9, the trilogy Das Ring des Nibeliungen [The Ring of the Nibelung, completed in 1874], the Parsifal [1882]), challenged-and ultimately overthrew-the very concepts of traditional tonality, form, function, and structure (Florea 2004:772).” Orpheus and Festklänge receive premieres while Les Préludes, Mazeppa and Tasso reach final versions. Faust Symphony composed save the final chorus. Hungaria is composed. George Eliot visits Weimar. Janácek & Humperdinck born. Harriet Smithson & Lamennais die. Berlioz writes L’enfance du Christ.

1855 Wagner is 42. Liszt Piano Concerto no.1 premieres with Liszt at piano and Berlioz conducting. Liszt hosts the second Berlioz festival Missa Solennis and Prelude & Fugue on BACH composed. Tausig becomes Liszt’s pupil. Final version of Prometheus performed and Psalm 13. First performance of Ad Nos. Paris World Fair. Steinway NY introduces cross-stringing in new pianos. Lord Leighton’s Cimabue’s Madonna is a major success at the Royal Academy.

1856 Wagner at 43 wrote the music for Die Walkrie 1856 The Valkryes. Wagner composed Tristan and Isolde between 1856 and 1859. Liszt hosts a Centenary Mozart Festival & another Berlioz Festival. Missa Solennis and Hungaria premiere in Hungary. Dante Symphony reaches completion. Heine & Schumann die.

1857 Wagner at 44 wrote acts one and two of Siegfried. Liszt Piano Concerto no.2 and final version of Berg Symphony premiere, along with Sonata in B minor, Faust Symphony, Dante Symphony, Héroïde funèbre, Battle of the Huns. Smetana visits Liszt. Cosima marries von Bulow and Blandine marries Emile Ollivier. Czerny and Glinka die. Elgar born. Baudelaire writes Les Fleurs du Mal. Wagner begins Tristan while putting The Ring on hold. Cosima Francesca Gaetana Wagner, (1837  – 1930) daughter of composer Franz Liszt  married Hans von Bülow, a piano virtuoso, teacher and orchestral conductor.

1858 Wagner is 45. Friedrich Nietzsche (1858-1864) between the ages of 14 and 19 attended a first-rate boarding school, Schulpforta from which he graduated in 1864. During his summers in Naumburg, Nietzsche led a small music and literature club named “Germania,” and became acquainted with Richard Wagner’s music through the club’s subscription to the Zeitschrift für Musik. The teenage Nietzsche also read the German romantic writings of Friedrich Hölderlin and Jean-Paul Richter, along with David Strauss’s controversial and demythologizing Life of Jesus Critically Examined (Das Leben Jesu kritisch bearbeitet, 1848). Nietzsche was confirmed along with his lifelong acquaintance, Paul Deussen (1845–1919), the Orientalist, historian of philosophy, and founder of the Schopenhauer Society (1911) (Wicks 1997-2010). Liszt premieres Cornelius’ The Barber of Baghdad only to receive vicious attacks prompting his resignation. Puccini and Leoncavallo born. Berlioz finishes Les Troyens. Teddy Roosevelt is born.

1857-8 Otto Wesendonck, (from Wuppertal) a wealthy New York shareholder in a silk trading company, moved into his newly-built, grand, neo-classical house, (Villa Wesendonck) with his 24-year-old wife Mathilde who invited academics, intellectuals and artists. After meeting Wagner in 1852, Otto Wesendock offered Wagner and his wife Minna an asylum, a villa on a green hill on his estate, where they stayed for 16 months (1857-1858) Wagner and Mathilda exchanged love letters and he lost interest in his work on Der Ring des Nibelungen (which he did not resume until c. 1870). Instead he began work on Tristan und Isolde, completing the handwritten libretto and setting out the first sketches of the opera. Mathilde, who was a poetess, contributed five of her poems to be set to music (the Wesendonck Songs). On 1857-01-01, in the presence of his wife Minna, Mathilda and Otto Wesendonck, and Cosima and Hans von Bulow, Wagner gave his beloved muse Mathilda the draft score of “Tristan and Isolde” with a poem dedicated to her: “Full of joy, empty of pain, pure and free, forever with thee”. Wagner’s open and unremorseful affair with Mathilde Wesendonck led to the end of his 22-year marriage with Minna. He left his refuge in 1858 for Venice. Wagner interrupted his work on The Ring Cycle when he began work on Tristan and Isolde which was based on the old German version of the legend by Gottfried von Strassburg, and is often claimed to have inspired by Wagner’s current love affair with Mathilde wife of his friend and patron Otto Wesendock

1857-1859 Wagner in his opera Tristan and Isolde “transcended the limits of the traditional concept of ‘number opera’ consisting of well-delineated arias, recitatives, and chorus scenes, and plunged into the hitherto unexplored territory of continuous, unbroken melodic lines and intensely chromatic harmonies. Previously used in Lohengrin, the leitmotif– a reoccuring musical theme associated with particular personages, objects, or situations- became all-pervasive in Tristan, where the orchestra, often the carrier of such themes, was given a prominence that elevated its status to that of a prima donna (Florea 2004:772).”

1857-1859 Wagner in his opera Tristan and Isolde “transcended the limits of the traditional concept of ‘number opera’ consisting of well-delineated arias, recitatives, and chorus scenes, and plunged into the hitherto unexplored territory of continuous, unbroken melodic lines and intensely chromatic harmonies. Previously used in Lohengrin, the leitmotif– a reoccuring musical theme associated with particular personages, objects, or situations- became all-pervasive in Tristan, where the orchestra, often the carrier of such themes, was given a prominence that elevated its status to that of a prima donna. As the nineteenth century wore on, Romantic ideology and aesthetics, together with the view of the musician’s role in society grew more radical. The rise of the composer and interpreter to the status of superhuman hero, already visible in Beethoven’s somewhat eccentric mannerisms, was accentuated towards the middle of the century and found its climax in the musical philosophy and practice of Liszt and Wagner, both narcississtic personalities who took immense pleasure in subjugating the crowds, and professed music as a quasi-religious ritual of which they viewed themselves the semiofficial priests. With all this came a marked change in the concept of sound and, consequently, of harmony and instrumental color. The expansive use of chromaticism sought to infuse music with a profusion of harmonic nuances-thus greater expressive potential; this, together with widespread use of unexpected chord progressions and sudden modulations to distant keys, gradually ‘liberated’ music from the conventions of the earlier part of the century. The harmonic language of the later nineteenth century saw the introduction of bold, complex chords and a nontraditional, shocking treatment of dissonances that stretched postclassical harmony to its utmost limits and, in works of Liszt (the ‘Faust’ Symphony [1854]; Nuages gris [Gray Clouds, 1881] for piano) and Wagner (Tristan and Isolde, [1857-9, the trilogy Das Ring des Nibeliungen [The Ring of the Nibelung, completed in 1874], the Parsifal [1882]), challenged-and ultimately overthrew-the very concepts of traditional tonality, form, function, and structure (Florea 2004:772).”

1858 Wagner lives in Venice where he is again heavily in debt. His friend Liszt advises him against living in Venice but he does not heed the advice.

Ludwig (1845-) the future King of Bavaria was thirteen years old, his governess told him of the upcoming production of Richard Wagner’s opera Lohengrin, the story of which centres around the heroic medieval Swan-knight Lohengrin. Since the walls of Hohenschwangau were covered in frescoes featuring Lohengrin, a curious Ludwig acquired a copy of the opera’s libretto and he read it voraciously. It wasn’t too long before the Prince had learnt the entire libretto off by heart, as well as the libretto of another Wagner opera, Tannhäuser. He was soon devouring every book written by Wagner, and on February 2nd, 1861, Ludwig heard a Wagner opera for the first time. Lohengrin, the Knight of the Swan, reveals his identity to the people of Antwerp at the dramatic climax of “Lohengrin”. Appropriately it was Lohengrin and the experience left a profound impression on the Prince. In 1863 he acquired Wagner’s recently published Ring Cycle, the preface of which contained a comment about the miserable state of the German theatre. In order for the Ring to be produced, Wagner wrote, a German Prince would need to be found to provide the required funds. To Ludwig, this was a direct message from the master. He would be that Prince (more).

1859 Wagner is 46. Liszt Relations with Wagner become strained. Liszt Writes book The Gypsies and their music in Hungary. Liszt’s son Daniel dies in is arms at age 20. Darwin’s On the Origin of Species is published. Austria is defeated in Italy during Franco-Austrian War.

1860 Wagner is 47. Joachim and Brahms publish bitting Manifesto against Liszt and the moderns. Liszt’s first grandchild Daniela von Bulow is born. Writes Two Episodes from Lenau’s Faust and Les Morts in memory of his son Daniel. Gustave Mahler and Paderewski born. Victor Emmanuel is proclaimed King of Italy by Garabaldi.

1860 Reverend George Fyler Townsend (1814-1900) published a revised edition of The Arabian Nights. Not George Townsend (1876 – 1957).

Reverend George Fyler Townsend (1814-1900) translated the standard English edition of Aesop’s Fables. Although there are more modern collections and translations, Townsend’s volume of 350 fables introduced the practice of stating a succinct moral at the conclusion of each story, and continues to be influential. Several editions were published in his lifetime, and others since. At an unknown date, Townsend published, under the auspices of the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, a volume entitled ‘The Sea Kings of the Mediterranean’. This is an account of the Knights of Malta, from their beginnings up to Townsend’s own time. The dedication is addressed to his ‘Dear Boys’, ‘in the hope that they will hate all that is low and base, and love all that is noble, great and good.’ One wonders if he and Baden-Powell ever met, and if so, what they made of each other.

1861 Wagner is 48. While visiting Paris Liszt plays for Napoleon III and meets Bizet, Marie d’Agoult and Wagner. Wagner sought to gain favour in Paris and eventually Napoleon III called for a command performance of Tannhauser but the opera failed there.  Liszt’s marraige to Carolyne in Rome comes to naught as difficulties over Carolyne’s annulment in the Vatican proves to be a last minute sabatoge to their long awaited hopes. American Civil War breaks out. Gustave Doré publishes his Dante’s Inferno plates at own expense and achieves huge success. The future King of Bavaria, Ludwig II at 16-years of age had read every book written by Wagner, and on February 2nd, 1861, Ludwig heard a Wagner opera for the first time. Lohengrin, the Knight of the Swan, reveals his identity to the people of Antwerp at the dramatic climax of “Lohengrin”. Appropriately it was Lohengrin and the experience left a profound impression on the Prince (more). In 1861 Wagner was allowed to return to Germany but he still had a hard battle for recognition.

1862 Wagner is 49. Liszt’s daughter Blandine dies giving birth to Daniel. St. Elisabeth oratorio finished. Writes Cantico del sol di St. Francesco di’Assisi. Debussy and Delius born. Victor Hugo writes Les Misérables.

1863 Wagner is 50. Liszt enters into the Madonna del Rosario monastery in Rome. He plays the piano for the Pope. Delacroix dies. Mascagni and Henry Ford are born. The future King of Bavaria at the age of 17 acquired Wagner’s recently published Ring Cycle, the preface of which contained a comment about the miserable state of the German theatre. In order for the Ring to be produced, Wagner wrote, a German Prince would need to be found to provide the required funds. To Ludwig, this was a direct message from the master. He would be that Prince (more).

1864 Wagner is 51. Liszt Meets Wagner who is under the patronage of the infatuated Ludwig II of Bavaria, who vows to see Richard reach his ultimate goals. Yet Cosima also has her eyes on Richard as the adulterous affair strains the Liszt -Wagner union. 1864 Friedrich Nietzsche in 1864 was 20 when “he entered the University of Bonn as a theology and philology student, and his interests soon gravitated more exclusively towards philology — a discipline which then centered upon the interpretation of classical and biblical texts. As a student of philology, Nietzsche attended lectures by Otto Jahn (1813–1869) and Friedrich Wilhelm Ritschl (1806–1876). Jahn was a biographer of Mozart who had studied at the University of Berlin under Karl Lachmann (1793–1851) — a philologist known both for his studies of the Roman philosopher, Lucretius (ca. 99–55 BCE), and for having developed the genealogical, or stemmatic, method in textual recension; Ritschl was a classics scholar whose work centered on the Roman comic poet, Plautus (254–184 BCE)  (Wicks 1997-2010).” Liszt writes La Notte in memory of his daughter Blandine. R.Strauss and d’Albert born. Meyerbeer dies. Ludwig II becomes King of Bavaria.

1864-1886 Eighteen-year-old Ludwig II became king when his grandfather died. He reigned as King of Bavaria from 1864 –1886. He was sometimes called the Swan King or the Fairy Tale King known for building extravagant fantasy castles, including the most famous Neuschwanstein. Bavarians continue to enjoy the massive tourist revenue thanks to these castles. He had admired Wagner’s work since he was a child. Once he became King of Bavaria he put his wealth at the disposal of Wagner.

“Within days of his ascension, the young King ordered his ministers to track down Wagner and bring him to Munich. The task was not as easy as first thought, but eventually Wagner, running from his creditors, was located in Vienna and brought to the King. To the 51 year old composer Ludwig was a new Siegfried, come to rescue art. To the 18 year old King, Wagner was a god. Ludwig became Wagner’s patron, settled his debts, and set him up comfortably in an Italianate-style villa. The two were inseparable, and Ludwig was soon planning the construction of a large festival theatre in Munich. On several occasions Wagner stayed with Ludwig at Schloss Berg, another mock-Gothic summer castle, as well as visits to Hohenschwangau. Richard Wagner photographed at about the time he met Ludwig (more).”

However, Munich society grew “tired of Wagner’s arrogance and jealous of his influence on their young King, and the ministers feared Wagner would try to influence Ludwig in political matters. It was only a matter of time before Wagner was forced to leave Bavaria. Eighteen months after his arrival, Wagner left Munich for Switzerland, and to a house rented by Ludwig for him. Ludwig fled to Hohenschwangau. The one thing that was giving him happiness had been taken from him (more).”

Tristan was accepted at Vienna but abandoned as impracticable before it could be performed and now aged 50 pursued by creditors and vilified by critics the composer was on the point of giving up in despair when the tide dramatically turned (The Houghton Mifflin dictionary of biography).  The eccentric young king of Bavaria Ludwig II impressed by the pageantry of Lohengrin read Wagner’s Ring poem with its pessimistic preface. He summoned Wagner to his court and lavished hospitality on him.

1865 Wagner is 52.  Tristan and Isolde premiered in Munich on 10 June 1865 with Hans von Bülow conducting. Tristan was staged with brilliant success in Munich in 1865 but Wagner’s extravagance, political meddling, and preferential treatment aroused so much hostility that he was obliged to withdraw temporarily to the villa of Tribschen at Lucerne in Switzerland. Cosima wife of the musical director Hans von Bulow and daughter of Liszt had been having an affair with Wagner since 1863 and now (The Houghton Mifflin dictionary of biography). Isolde is born of Cosima and Richard Wagner.  Liszt goes to Pest for the premiere of St. Elisabeth desperately dragging Bulow and Cosima along in hopes of salvaging their marriage.  Bulow performs Liszt’s Totentanz.  Twenty-year-old King Ludwig II of Bavaria was forced to sign the order for mobilising the army and joining the Seven Weeks War, and thereby ordering thousands into battle. 21-year-old Friedrich Nietzsche  followed Herr Ritschl to the University of Leipzig. When was 21 he accidentally discovered “Arthur Schopenhauer’s The World as Will and Representation (1818) in a local bookstore. Schopenhauer’s atheistic and turbulent vision of the world, in conjunction with his highest praise of music as an art form, captured Nietzsche’s imagination, and the extent to which the “cadaverous perfume” of Schopenhauer’s world-view continued to permeate Nietzsche’s mature thought remains a matter of scholarly debate. After discovering Schopenhauer, Nietzsche read F.A. Lange’s newly-published History of Materialism and Critique of its Present Significance (1866) — a work that criticizes materialist theories from the standpoint of Kant’s critique of metaphysics, and that attracted Nietzsche’s interest in its view that metaphysical speculation is an expression of poetic illusion (Wicks 1997-2010).” Liszt enters the Vatican and receives the tonsure and minor orders. Liszt  writes the Missa Choralis. American Civil War ends. President Lincoln is assassinated. Sibelius and Dukas are born.

1866 Wagner is 53. Liszt’s mother dies. It’s the last time he sees Marie d’Agoult. Sgambati conducts the Dante Symphony at the inauguration of the Sala Dante in Rome. Spanish Rhapsody & Les Préludes performed in Amsterdam. Liszt & Saint-Saens play Dante Symphony for 2 pianos at artist Gustave Doré’s house. Busoni & Satie born. Smetana writes The Bartered Bride.

1866 Cosima Francesca Gaetana Wagner, (1837  – 1930) daughter of composer Franz Liszt set up house with Richard Wagner  (1813-1883)  in a villa at Tribschen, paid for by King Ludwig II of Bavaria, on the shore of Lake Lucerne, Switzerland. The reign of Wagner’s generous young patron King Ludwig was a series of tragedies and disappointments.

“In 1866 war broke out between Austria and Prussia, the most powerful of the German states in what became known as the Seven Weeks War. Because of Bavaria’s strong links with Austria, she too was drawn into the conflict on the Austrian side. Unfortunately for Bavaria, Prussia was victorious, and the country was thrown into gloom. In a secret treaty Ludwig placed the Bavarian army at the disposal of the Prussian General Staff. A part of Bavaria’s independence was lost (more).”

The young King Ludwig II left Munich incognito with Prince Paul intending to abdicate the throne and devote his life to serving Wagner. Wagner quickly encouraged him to return to Munich otherwise he would have lost his limitless source of income. At this time Wagner described for the King how he perceived the role of Bavaria within a united Germany. See also Kultur’s Wagner Part Eight.

1867 Wagner is 54. Liszt With Christus complete Sgambati conducts the first part in Rome. Liszt attends the Hungarian Coronation Mass performance in Pest. St. Elisabeth performed in Weimar. Ingres & Baudelaire die. Granados born. Wagner writes Die Meistersinger and Verdi writes Don Carlos.

1867 The engagement between Sophie and Ludwig II ended and she married Prince Ferdinand d’Orleans, a grandson of King Louis-Phillipe of France.

Ludwig II was relieved as he had stated to the Court Secretary that he would rather drown himself in the Alpsee than to marry. In a letter to Wagner he confided, “Oh, if only I could be carried on a magic carpet to you . . . at dear, peaceful Tribschen (Wagner’s house in Lucerne, Switzerland.) – even for an hour or two. What I would give to be able to do that!”  When Sophie’s father finally ended the engagement Ludwig II wrote in his diary, “Sophie is finished with. The gloomy picture vanishes. I longed for freedom, I thirsted for freedom, to wake from this horrible nightmare.” Ludwig fled to his beloved Alps, and hid there in his dreams. He wrote to Wagner from Hohenschwangau on 21 November, 1867; “I write these lines sitting in my cosy gothic bow-window, by the light of my lonely lamp, while outside the blizzard rages. It is so peaceful here, this silence is stimulating, whereas in the clamour of the world I feel absolutely miserable. “Thank God I am alone at last. My mother is far away, as is my former bride, who would have made me unspeakably unhappy. Before me stands a bust of the one, true Friend whom I shall love until death. . . If only I had the opportunity to die for you […] It was from this time onwards in his life that Ludwig began planning and building his castles. The task of being king was far too great for a young man in his early 20’s. This is possibly the most important fact that we must keep in mind when dealing with Ludwig. The traumatic episode of his failed engagement occurred when he was 21 (more).”

1868 Wagner is 55. 24-year-old Friedrich Nietzsche met the Richard Wagner (1813–1883) at the home of Hermann Brockhaus (1806–1877), an Orientalist a specialist in Sanskrit and Persian whose publications included (1850) an edition of the Vendidad Sade — a text of the Zoroastrian religion, whose prophet was Zarathustra (Zoroaster). Brockhaus was married to Richard Wagner’s sister, Ottilie  (Wicks 1997-2010).”  Liszt performs a fund raising concert in Rome for the needy. Liszt performs in the Vatican Library for the Pope and dignitaries.Cosima leaves Bulow to live with Wagner. Poet Longfellow and artist George Healy visit Liszt in Rome. Rossini dies. Grieg writes Piano Concerto.

1868-1878 Friedrich Nietzsche and Richard Wagner (1813–1883) formed a quasi-familial and sometimes-stormy friendship that ended in 1878 when Nietzsche tired of Wagner’s vitriolic anti-Semitism. Wagner and Nietzsche shared an enthusiasm for Schopenhauer, and Nietzsche — who had been composing piano, choral and orchestral music since he was a teenager — admired Wagner for his musical genius, magnetic personality and cultural influence. Wagner was the same age Nietzsche’s father would have been, and he had also attended the University of Leipzig many years before. Nietzsche wrote in 1869 that his friendship with Wagner was the “greatest achievement” [die größte Errungenschaft] of his life, almost twenty years later, he would still be assessing Wagner’s cultural significance. In the interim — a year before Wagner’s death and a good seven years before his own breakdown — Nietzsche was already reminiscing wistfully in 1882 about how his days with Wagner had been the best of his life  (Wicks 1997-2010).”

1869 Ludwig II built Neuschwanstein Castle as a homage to and refuge for Wagner. This Romanesque Revival palace on a rugged hill above the village of Hohenschwangau in southwest Bavaria, Germany inspired Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle. Ludwig paid for the castles and private performances out of his own pocket, and not from the State coffers.

1869? Wagner described Bavaria to Ludvig II 1:02:17/1:36:57 when Ludvig wants to abdicate.

1869 From 1869 to 1883 Cosima Wagner (1837  – 1930) kept a detailed diary of their daily life together, which was later published. Cosima was a notorious anti-Semite, perhaps even more so than Wagner, although this was possibly in reaction to her husband.

1869 Wagner is 56. Liszt begins his threefold life; winter & spring in Budapest -summer in Weimar and autumn in Rome. Dante Symphony and Hunagria performed. Berlioz & Lamartine die. Suez Canal is opened.

1869 German composer Richard Wagner republished his landmark German antisemitic article (1850) entitled  Das Judenthum in der Musik (“Jewishness in Music”) under his own name. The essay began as an attack on Jewish composers, particularly Wagner’s contemporaries (and rivals) Felix Mendelssohn and Giacomo Meyerbeer, but expanded to accuse Jews of being a harmful and alien element in German culture. “Friedrich Nietzsche at 24 began teaching at the University of Basel as a member of the classical philology faculty. He was recommended by Herr Ritschl.  Nietzsche also cultivated his friendship with Richard Wagner and visited him often at his Swiss home in Tribschen, a small town near Lucerne. Nietzsche was not comfortable with his relationship with the classical philology faculty. He established closer intellectual ties to the historians Franz Overbeck (1837–1905) and Jacob Burkhardt (1818–1897). Overbeck — who roomed for five years in the same house as Nietzsche — became Nietzsche’s close and enduring friend, exchanging many letters with him over the years, and rushing to Nietzsche’s assistance in Turin immediately after his devastating collapse in 1889  (Wicks 1997-2010).”

1870 King Ludwig II of Bavaria was forced to order his troops into battle once again into what became known as the Franco-Prussian War when  Prussia went to war with France. Prussia effectively controlled Bavaria’s army. At that time Ludwig Ludwig withdrew from the real world and into a world of make-believe. The plans for both Neuschwanstein and Linderhof date from this period, and the foundation stone for Neuschwanstein was laid now (In 1869.) (more).” Minna, Richard Wagner’s wife of over 22-years is dying and Wagner did not  go to visit her nor did he attend her funeral. He is accused of having kept her in poverty and contributing to her miscarriage which led to her infertility. She gave up her career in acting for him. He asked her to sacrifice everything for him as she went with him from place to place as his unpopularity followed him. She left him when his affair became too public and humiliating.

1870 Wagner is 57.  Cosima finally receives divorce and marries Wagner. Liszt attends the premiere of Wagner’s Die Walkure. “Friedrich Nietzsche at 25-years of age served as hospital attendant during the Franco-Prussian War (1870-71), where he participated in the siege of Metz. He witnessed the traumatic effects of battle, took close care of wounded soldiers, and contracted diphtheria and dysentery (Wicks 1997-2010).” Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea published. Lenin and Lehár born. Liszt’s Son in law Emile Ollivier becomes French premier. Rome becomes the Capitol of Italy.

1870 Cosima Francesca Gaetana Wagner, (1837  – 1930) was introduced to Richard Wagner (1813-1883)  were married. Cosima who had been baptized and raised a Catholic, had converted to Protestantism. Cosima already had two children from her first marriage, Daniela and Blandine. Her future children by Wagner—Isolde, Eva and Siegfried—were born before she married him. Wagner described Bavaria to Ludvig II 1:02:17/1:36:57 when Ludvig wants to abdicate.

1871 Prussian-German statesman “The Iron Chancellor” Otto von Bismarck (1815-1898)  oversaw the unification of Germany with Wilhelm II as Emperor of Germany. Bismarck designed the German Empire which included the bloody defeat of Bavaria. Wagner is 58. Liszt travels to Leipzig with Carl Tausig and attends performances of his works. Olga Janina attempts to kill Liszt and then herself in Pest. Tausig, Thalberg and Auber die. Verdi writes Aida. The newspaper Munchener published a cartoon and article ridiculing Wagner’s public affair with von Bulow’s wife.

“The Bavarian King Ludwig II was quickly changing in both mind and body. Photographs show how his appearance changed from a slender youth to a huge man in just a few years. He began to spend all his time in the mountains, at Hohenschwangau and Linderhof when it was ready to move in to, and his small mock-Gothic castle at Berg, beside Lake Starnberg. He refused to see his ministers and preferred the company of the mountain people. In fact, the only time he stayted in Munich was the annual investiture and banquet given in the Residenz for the Knights of the Order of St. George, Bavaria’s highest Order of Chivalry Ludwig was the Grand Master of this Order. From paintings of these dinners, we can see Ludwig enjoyed himself immensely. The famous “Private Performances” also date from around this time. Sitting alone in the Residenz Theatre or the Court Theatre in Munich, the King would attend plays, concerts and operas put on for him alone. Plays were commissioned by the King to take place in settings designated by him. These settings were invariably exotic; the Himalayas; the court of Louis XIV; Tibet, Imperial China etc. The final trauma for Ludwig occurred shortly after Prussia’s victory in the Franco-Prussian War. Bismark requested Ludwig’s approval for Bavaria to enter a unified German Empire with Prussia as leader. After several days procrastinating, Ludwig agreed and wrote a letter inviting Wilhelm II to become Emperor of a united Germany. Bavarian sovereignty became an idea rather than a reality, and Ludwig a figurehead in a constitutional monarchy. These incidences, then, were responsible for his reclusive existence, and his alleged “madness”. The world had never been kind to him, and he withdrew from it into a world of his own making. This was the reason for his castles (more).”

1872 Wagner is 59. Liszt receives invitation from Wagner, after long silence, for the foundation-stone ceremony in Bayreuth.Wagners visit Liszt, first meeting in 5 years. Pupils from all parts of Europe flock to Weimar to study with Liszt. Scriabin & Vaughan Williams born. Friedrich Nietzsche at 27-years of age published his book — The Birth of Tragedy which was informed by his enthusiasm for Schopenhauer, his studies in classical philology, his inspiration from Wagner, his reading of Lange, his interests in health, his professional need to prove himself as a young academic, and his frustration with contemporary German culture. Richard Wagner praised Nietzsche’s The Birth of Tragedy. A scathing review of Nietzsche’s  The Birth of Tragedy by a leading Polish-German philologist Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Möllendorff (1848-1931) had a huge negative impact on the 27-year-old Nietzsche’s budding career as scholar.  Nietzsche’s first meeting with Malwida had been at Wagner’s cornerstone-laying at Bayreuth, in May 1872. Malwida von Meysenbug was an author and ardent revolutionary, a champion of radical opinions. Her attitude toward Nietzsche was “motherly” and she remained a faithful friend throughout his creative life. It was, in fact, at Malwida’s house in Sorrento that Nietzsche had composed much of his book Human, All-too-Human (Wicks 1997-2010).” Mark Twain writes Tom Sawyer.

1873 Wagner is 60. 1873 Friedrich Nietzsche at 28-years of age began a long-term friendship with author/philosopher German-Jew Paul Rée (1849–1901). Ree was deeply interested in psychology, a follower of Schopenhauer, and an atheist. He was the son of assimilated Jewish parents. His father was a wealthy businessman and landowner. Nietzsche and Ree lived  in close company in Sorrento during the autumn of 1876. Paul Ree wrote On the Origin of Moral Feelings (1877)  (Wicks 1997-2010).” Liszt Christus, full-score, premiere conducted by Liszt in Weimar with Wagners present. A Jubilee of Liszt’s career presented in Hungary. Two episodes from Lenau’s Faust performed. Hans Richter performs Christus in Budapest. Bouguereau paints Nymphs and Satyr. Budapest is officially created from the cities Buda and Pest.

1874 Wagner is 61.  Liszt  In Rome he writes The Bells of Strassburg Cathedral andThe legend of St. Cecilia.. Writes several piano transcriptions of his Symphonic Poems. Holst, Schoenberg & Ives are born. Smetana writes Ma Vlast. Wagner completes The Ring. Harry Houdini is born.

1874 The harmonic language of the later nineteenth century saw the introduction of bold, complex chords and a nontraditional, shocking treatment of dissonances that stretched postclassical harmony to its utmost limits and, in works of Liszt (the ‘Faust’ Symphony [1854]; Nuages gris [Gray Clouds, 1881] for piano) and Wagner (Tristan and Isolde, [1857-9, the trilogy Das Ring des Nibeliungen [The Ring of the Nibelung, completed in 1874], the Parsifal [1882]), challenged-and ultimately overthrew-the very concepts of traditional tonality, form, function, and structure (Florea 2004:772).”

1875 Wagner is 62. Liszt is appointed president of the Budapest Music Academy. Bells of Straussburg is premiered. Two successful performances of St. Elisabeth in Munich prompt King Ludwig II of Bavaria to schedule two performances in the Court Theater. Ravel and Gliére born. Bizet writes Carmen., Bizet dies.

1876 Wagner is 63. German composer, conductor and theatre director, Wilhelm Richard Wagner (1813-1883) premiered the monumental group of four epic operas entitled “The Ring Of The Nibelungs” Der Ring des Nibelungen aka The Nibelung’s Ring,) by Richard Wagner. the epitome of his concept of “total artwork” Gesamtkunstwerk) in which he synthesized all the poetic, visual, musical and dramatic arts. In order to stage these works as he conceived them he built his own opera house, the Bayreuth Festspielhaus. “Wagner’s compositions, particularly those of his later period, are notable for their complex texture, rich chromaticism, harmonies and orchestration, and elaborate use of leitmotifs: musical themes associated with particular characters, locales or plot elements. Wagner pioneered advances in musical language, such as extreme chromaticism and quickly shifting tonal centres, which greatly influenced the development of European classical music. His pugnacious personality, and his often outspoken views on music, politics and society made him a controversial figure during, and ever since, his lifetime wiki.” By 1876 completed a series of four studies on contemporary German culture — the Unfashionable Observations (1873–76) — which focus respectively upon (1) the historian of religion and culture critic, David Strauss, (2) issues concerning the social value of historiography, (3) Arthur Schopenhauer and (4) Richard Wagner, both as heroic inspirations for new cultural standards. Nietzsche continued his residence in Switzerland but often visited Wagner at his new (1872) home in Bayreuth, Germany (Wicks 1997-2010).” Liszt Transcribes Saint-Saens’ Danse Macabre. Charity concert for Budapest flood disaster. Premiere of Hamlet.. Cui visits Liszt, and he meets Tchaikovsky in Bayreuth. Marie d’Agoult and George Sand die. Edison invents the phonograph.

1877 Wagner is 64. Liszt plays at 50th Beethoven anniversary with an injured finger yet performance is unaffected. Le Triomphe funébre du Tasse premiers. Saint-Saens, Borodin and Fauré visit Liszt. Liszt plays Sonata in B minor at Wagner’s house. Troisième Année, Années de Pèlerinage completed. Due to Liszt’s efforts Saint-Saens’ Samson et Dalila is premiered in Weimar. Claude Monet paints Gare St.Lazare.

1876-1877 Set designer August Dirigl “the sculptor of landscape” was commissioned by Ludwig II to create an artificial stalactite dripstone cave based on the idea of the Hörselberg in the Tannhäuser saga. This grotto is situated between the salon and the study. Originally it had coloured lighting and a waterfall. A glass door which opens by sliding down into the “rock” leads from the Grotto to the Conservatory. Through the large glass panes there is an uninterrupted view of the Alpine foothills. The small fountain in this room was intended for a Moorish Hall, which was not however completed (more).

1878 Wagner is 65. Friedrich Nietzsche at 33-years of age completed Human, All-Too-Human (1878) — a book that marks a turning point in his philosophical style. In Human, All-Too-Human (1878) Nietzsche attacked the anti-Semitic Wagner in a thinly-disguised characterization of “the artist.” Nietzsche composed much of this book at the Sorrento home of Malwida von Meysenbug who was an author and ardent revolutionary, a champion of radical opinions and a close friend of Lou Salome’s mother. Her attitude toward Nietzsche was “motherly” and she remained a faithful friend throughout his creative life. Paul Ree lived with Malwida and Nietzsche throughout much of the period while Nietzsche was writing Human, All-Too-Human, and he had aided Nietzsche taking dictation. That the debt was real, Nietzsche himself recognized in public comments that gave Ree “paternity rights” for the book (Wicks 1997-2010).”

“Human, All too Human. On the History of Moral Feelings:106: At the waterfall. When we see a waterfall, we think we see freedom of will and choice in the innumerable turnings, windings, breakings of the waves; but everything is necessary; each movement can be calculated mathematically. Thus it is with human actions; if one were omniscient, one would be able to calculate each individual action in advance, each step in the progress of knowledge, each error, each act of malice. To be sure, the acting man is caught in his illusion of volition; if the wheel of the world were to stand still for a moment and an omniscient, calculating mind were there to take advantage of this interruption, he would be able to tell into the farthest future of each being and describe every rut that wheel will roll upon. The acting man’s delusion about himself, his assumption that free will exists, is also part of the calculable mechanism (more).”

From the Soul of Artists and Writers: 145: Perfection said not to have evolved. When something is perfect, we tend to neglect to ask about its evolution, delighting rather in what is present, as if it had risen from the ground by magic. In this regard we are probably still under the influence of an ancient mythological sentiment. We still feel (in a Greek temple like the one at Paestum, for example) almost as if a god, playing one morning, had built his residence out of these enormous masses; at other times as if a soul had all of a sudden magically entered into a stone and now wished to use it to speak. The artist knows that his work has its full effect only when it arouses belief in an improvisation, in a wondrous instantaneousness of origin; and so he encourages this illusion and introduces into art elements of inspired unrest, of blindly groping disorder, of expectantly attentive dreaming when creation begins, as deceptions that dispose the soul of the viewer or listener to believe in the sudden emergence of perfection. As is self-evident, the science of art must oppose this illusion most firmly, and point out the false conclusions and self-indulgences of the intellect that drive it into the artist’s trap.

146: The artist’s feeling for truth. When it comes to recognizing truths, the artist has a weaker morality than the thinker; on no account does he want his brilliant, profound interpretations of life to be taken from him, and he defends himself against sober, plain methods and results. Ostensibly, he is fighting for the higher dignity and meaning of man; in truth, he does not want to give up the most effective presuppositions for his art, that is the fantastic, the mythic, uncertain, extreme, feeling for the symbolic, overestimation of the individual, belief in something miraculous about genius: thus he thinks the continuation of his manner of creating is more important than a scientific dedication to truth in every form, however plain it may appear.

147: Art as conjuror of the dead. Art incidentally performs the task of preserving, even touching up extinct, faded ideas; when it accomplishes this task it weaves a band around various eras, and causes their spirits to return. Only a semblance of life, as over graves, or the return of dead loved ones in dreams, results from this, of course, but for moments at least, the old feeling revives and the heart beats to an otherwise forgotten rhythm. Because art has this general benefit, one must excuse the artist himself if he does not stand in the front ranks of the enlightenment, of mankind’s progressive maturation. He has remained his whole life long a child or youth, and has stood still at the point where his artistic drive came upon him; but feelings from the first stages of life are admittedly closer to feelings of earlier eras then to those of the present century. His unwitting task becomes the juvenescence of mankind: this is his glory and his limitation.

148: How poets ease life. Poets, insofar as they too wish to ease men’s lives, either avert their glance from the arduous present, or else help the present acquire new colors by making a light shine in from the past. To be able to do this, they themselves must in some respects be creatures facing backwards, so that they can be used as bridges to quite distant times and ideas, to religions and cultures dying out or dead. Actually, they are always and necessarily epigones. Of course, some unfavorable things can be said about their ways of easing life: they soothe and heal only temporarily, only for the moment; they even prevent men from working on a true improvement of their conditions, by suspending and, like a palliative, relieving the very passion of the dissatisfied, who are impelled to act.

164: Danger and benefit of worshipping the genius (In reference to Richard Wagner.)  The belief in great, superior, fertile minds is not necessarily, yet very often connected to the religious or half-religious superstition that those minds are of superhuman origin and possess certain miraculous capabilities, which enable them to acquire their knowledge in a way quite different from that of other men. They are credited with a direct view into the essence of the world, as through a hole in the cloak of appearance, and thought able, without the toil or rigor of science, thanks to this miraculous seer’s glance, to communicate something ultimate and decisive about man and the world. As long as anyone still believes in miracles in the realm of knowledge, one can admit perhaps that the believers themselves gain an advantage thereby, in that by unconditionally subordinating themselves to great minds, they provide the best discipline and schooling for their own mind during its development. On the other hand, it is at least questionable whether, when it takes root in him, superstition about the genius, about his privileges and special capabilities, is advantageous to the genius himself. At any rate, it is a dangerous sign when a man is overtaken by awe of himself, be it the famous awe of Caesar, or (as in this case) awe of the genius, when the aroma of a sacrifice, which by rights is offered only to a god, penetrates the genius’s brain, so that he begins to waver, and to take himself for something superhuman. The eventual results are a feeling of irresponsibility, of exceptional rights, the belief that he blesses merely through his company, and mad rage at the attempt to compare him to others, or, indeed, to judge him lower and reveal what is unsuccessful in his work. By ceasing to criticize himself, the pinions finally begin, one after the other, to fall out of his plumage; superstition digs at the roots of his strength and may even make him a hypocrite after his strength has left him. It is probably more useful for great minds to gain insight into their power and its origin, to grasp what purely human traits have flowed together in them, what fortunate circumstances played a part: persistent energy first of all, resolute attention to particular goals, great personal courage; and then the good fortune of an education that early on offered the best teachers, models, methods. To be sure, if their goal is to have the greatest possible effect, then vagueness about themselves, and an added gift of a semimadness have always helped a lot, for they have at all times been admired and envied for their very power to make men weak-willed, and to sway them to the delusion that they were being led by supernatural guides. Indeed, it uplifts and inspires men to believe someone in possession of supernatural powers; to that extent, madness, as Plato says, has brought the greatest blessings upon men. In isolated, rare cases this portion of madness may well have been the means which held such an excessively scattered nature firmly together: in the lives of individuals, too, delusions often have the value of curatives, which are actually poisons. Yet in the case of every “genius” who believes in his divinity, the poison at last becomes apparent, to the degree that the “genius” grows old. One may recall Napoleon, for example: surely through that very belief in himself and his star, and through a scorn for men that flowed from him, his nature coalesced into the mighty unity that distinguishes him from all modern men, until finally this same belief turned into an almost mad fatalism, robbed him of his quick, penetrating eye, and became the cause of his downfall (more).

Liszt serves as president in the musical instruments section of the World Exhibition in Paris. WritesVia Crucis. Pope Pius IX dies and Pope Leo XIII succeeds. The Austro-Hungarian Empire was formed with Franz Joseph as Emperor of Austria and King of Hungary (it was imperative that he was made king with St. Stephen’s crown – the crown dating from 1001).

1879 Wagner is 66. Liszt Transcribes Tchaikovsky’s Polonaise from Eugene Onegin. Liszt Gives charity concerts for the victims of the Danube floods. A concert in Liszt’s honor given at Bosendorfer’s. Respighi, Stalin & Einstein are born. Grove publishes Dictionary of Music & Musicians. Edison invents long-lasting light bulb. Sarah Bernhardt gives notable performance in Phedre.

1880 Wagner is 67. Liszt Writes several versions of Romance oubliée and the orchestral version of the Second Mephisto Waltz. Offenbach dies. Bloch born. Rimsky-Korsakov writes May Night. The “Viennese avant-garde began around 1880 using irony and ambiguity in reaction to the catholic, ridiculous conservative, more or less aristocratic or bourgeois society of these times that perpetuated very rigid moral and cultural values in order to repress social emancipation with authority and confidence. Thus, the founding systems of Sigmund Freud, Arnold Schönberg, Karl Kraus, Adolf Loos, Ernst Mach and the Vienna Circle – Ludwig Wittgenstein and others – were highly elaborated and resistant to the prevailing prejudices of Vienna’s conservative society and culture, with all its double moralities and hypocrisy. This is why the strong ideas, inventions and innovations of fin-de-siècle Vienna have been sustainable as well as successful all over the world. When you are sophisticated enough to survive in Vienna without losing your individuality, you can easily survive anywhere (more).”

1881 Wagner is 68. Liszt Writes From the Cradle to the Grave, Nuages gris, Valse oubliée no.1, Csárdás macabre and De Profundis. Liszt takes serious fall down stairs which he never fully recovers. His grand-daughter Daniela joins him in Rome for his 70th birthday. Bartók & Picasso are born. Mussorgsky and Disraeli die. Alma-Tadema paints Sappho and Alcaeus. Renoir paints Luncheon of the Boating Party.

1882 Wagner is 69. “1882 Friedrich Nietzsche at 37-years of age went to Rome to be with Paul Rée and his friend Russian-born Lou (Louise) And reas-Salomé (1861  – 1937) who wanted to form an academic commune. Lou (Louise) Andreas-Salomé (1861  – 1937) was ahead of her time as a woman and a scholar and in later years she became a psychoanalyst and author. Salomé’s mother had taken her daughter out of Russia when her tutor had fallen in love with his precocious and brilliant student. In Rome the 21-year-old Salomé met Nietzsche’s friend Paul Rée, an author and compulsive gambler at a literary salon. It was Salomé who suggested the idea of an academic commune. Nietzsche, Ree, Salomé and her mother traveled throughout Italy in the summer and arrived in Leipzig, Germany in October. Lou von Salomé spans Rée Paul and Friedrich Nietzsche in front of their carts. Photography studio in Jules Bonnet took this infamous photo of Lou von Salomé spans Rée Paul and Friedrich Nietzsche in Bonnet’s studio in Lucerne from 13 and 16 May 1882-05-c13-16. Nietzsche arranged the photo in detail after Salomé had rejected marriage proposals of both men. When Nietzsche’s love for Salomé became uncomfortable Salomé and Ree moved to Berlin and lived together until c. 1886. a few years before her celibate marriage[5] to linguistics scholar Friedrich Carl Andreas.

Date . Although she would later be attacked by the Nazis as a “Finnish Jewess,” her parents were actually of French Huguenot and Northern German descent  (Wicks 1997-2010).” Liszt Writes Valse oubliée no.2, Hungarian Rhapsody no.16, La lugubre gondola I & II. Attends premiere of Parsifal. Brahms sends Liszt his Piano concerto in B flat for the master’s comments. Franklin D. Roosevelt,  Stravinsky, Kodály & N.C.Wyeth born. Balakirev writes Tamara. Sigmund Freud joins psychiatric clinic in Vienna.

1882 The harmonic language of the later nineteenth century saw the introduction of bold, complex chords and a nontraditional, shocking treatment of dissonances that stretched postclassical harmony to its utmost limits and, in works of Liszt (the ‘Faust’ Symphony [1854]; Nuages gris [Gray Clouds, 1881] for piano) and Wagner (Tristan and Isolde, [1857-9, the trilogy Das Ring des Nibeliungen [The Ring of the Nibelung, completed in 1874], the Parsifal [1882]), challenged-and ultimately overthrew-the very concepts of traditional tonality, form, function, and structure (Florea 2004:772).”

1882/83 Lohengrin’s arrival (in Brabant). Mural in the Salon, Neuschwanstein, by August von Heckel. The swan was also Ludwig II’s heraldic animal as a Knight of Schwangau. As in the bedroom, the curtains and coverings are made of blue silk and embroidered with swans and lilies.

1883 Wagner at the age of 70 and Karl Marx die. Ludvig II commissioned the painting of the mural entitled “Parzival at the court of Amfortas”  (1983-4) by A. Spiess for Singers’ Hall, Neuschwanstein. This illustration is a detail.


1883 Wagner died at the age of 70. Liszt Conducts memorial concert for Wagner. Writes R.W.-Venezia, Am Grabe Richard Wagners, Mephisto polka, Mephisto waltz no.3, Valse oubliée no.3, Unstern. Liszt attends Benvenuto Cellini in Leipzig with Olga von Meyendorff. Mussolini and Webern born. Bruckner writes Symphony no.7. Cosima Francesca Gaetana Wagner, (1837  – 1930), Richard Wagner’s widow directed the Bayreuth Festival from the death of Richard Wagner in 1883 until 1906, when she retired for health reasons. During that time a total of 15 festivals took place. Cosima initially revived the 1882 première production of Parsifal, but gradually introduced the other nine operas which make up what has become known as the Bayreuth canon and increased the total number of performances each year to 20. During her tenure, she insisted that the staging of the 1876 premiere performances of the Ring Cycle be strictly adhered to.

1886 The body of  Bavarian King Ludwig II was found in Lake Starnberg near Munich on June 13, 1886 (more). Liszt, the Grand Old Master travels to London for several honorary, and highly charged, celebrations. Liszt meets Prince of Wales and Queen Victoria who gives him a bust of herself. Meets Claude Debussy in Paris as several concerts of Liszt’s music gain astonishing attention and acclaim. Liszt suffers from dropsy. Liszt attends Wagner festival in Bayreuth falls seriously ill and comments, “I do not believe I shall get up from here.” Several of Liszt’s devote pupils flock to be near their beloved master. Liszt dies with pneumonia as Cosima buries her father then continues with the festivities. Lou Salome finally agreed to marriage after a forlorn linguistics scholar Friedrich Carl Andreas stabbed himself in a botched suicide attempt following her rejection of his proposal. She saved his life, accepted his proposal and they were married in 1887 by Rev. Frederick Hendrik Gillot, a former admirer of Lou’s. Statue of Liberty unveiled. Ponchielli dies. Ages of fellow composers: Liszt – 74, Balakriev-49, Bartók-6, Boito-44, Borodin-52, Brahms-53, Bruckner-61, Bulow-56, Busoni-20, Cui-51, Debussy-23, Dukas-20, Dvorák-44, Elgar-39, Fauré-41, Franck-63, Grieg-43, Holst-11, Leoncavallo-29, Mahler-26, Mascagni-22, Paderewski-25, Puccini-27, Rachmaninoff-13, Ravel-11, Rimsky-Korsakov-42, Saint-Saens-50, Schoenberg-11, Scriabin-14, Sibelius-20, J.Strauss II-60, R.Strauss-22, Stravinsky-4, Tchaikovsky-46, Verdi-72.

1891-2 Victorian illustrator Arthur Rackman (1867-1939) had a close association with the Pall Mall Budget as one of this weekly’s competent illustrative reporters. ” He was one of twelve children. He studied at the City of London School where he won prizes and a reputation for his art. At the age of 18, he became a clerk. It was, after all, a Dickensian world as well, where clerks played a significant role in both fiction and real life. He clerked and in his spare time studied at the Lambeth School of Art. He made occasional sales to the illustrated magazines of the day like Scraps and Chums (Vadeboncoeur, Jim Jr. 1998).”

1894 Lou (Louise) Andreas-Salomé (1861 –1937) wrote a study, Friedrich Nietzsche in seinen Werken, of Nietzsche’s personality and philosophy.

1905 Victorian illustrator Arthur Rackman (1867-1939) illustrated the “stunning edition of the old Washington Irving classic, Rip Van Winkle. It was Rackham’s first major book (see image at right). The publisher, William Heinemann, knew it had a sure best seller. Rackham painted 51 color plates, tipped-in and gathered together at the rear of the book. They featured all of the traits that were soon to be as famous as his signature: a sinuous pen line softened with muted water color, forests of looming, frightening trees with grasping roots sensuous, but somehow chaste, fairy maidens, ogres and trolls ugly enough to repulse but with sufficient good nature not to frighten backgrounds filled with little nuggets of hidden images or surprising animated animals or trees. Most obvious, in retrospective, is the calm and good humor of the drawings. They seem imbued with a gentle joy that must have been reassuring to both the children and their parents. Rackham had found his niche. His drawings would convey a non-threatening yet fearful thrill and a beauty that was in no way overtly sexy or lewd. It was a perfect Victorian solution and he seems to have taken to it with an impish delight (Vadeboncoeur, Jim Jr. 1998).”

1905 Victorian illustrator Arthur Rackman (1867-1939) illustrated “one of his two masterpieces, Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens, another 50-plate extravaganza – this from Hodder and Stoughton. A great sample of his foreboding trees is found in Peter Pan (Vadeboncoeur, Jim Jr. 1998).”

1907 Victorian illustrator Arthur Rackman (1867-1939) illustrated Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland from Heinemann. J.M. Dent reissued Ingoldsby and Constable & Co. Grimm, both in revised, updated editions. “Rackham” was a marketable commodity and everybody wanted one of the golden eggs. It appears that Heinemann won the goose (Vadeboncoeur, Jim Jr. 1998).”

1906-1914 Siegfried Wagner the son of Cosima and Richard Wagner carried on this rigid “Bayreuth style” until the outbreak of World War I in 1914, when the Bayreuth Festival stopped operating.

1909 Victorian illustrator Arthur Rackman (1867-1939) illustrated. In rapid succession, amid a wealth of other books (some minor, some important), they published four books intended for adults: in 1908 – A Midsummer-Night’s Dream (which I classify as his second masterpiece); in 1909 – Undine; in 1910 and 1911 The Rhinegold and the Valkyrie and Siegfried and The Twilight of the Gods. These four books contained 115 color plates from Rackham’s paintings and all of my favorite Rackham images are contained within them (Vadeboncoeur, Jim Jr. 1998).”

1910 Victorian illustrator Arthur Rackman (1867-1939) illustrated The Rhinegold and the Valkyrie (Vadeboncoeur, Jim Jr. 1998).” The Rhinegold and The Valkyrie comprises Volume One of Russell’s adaptation of the Ring cycle by German composer Richard Wagner. Woton, King of the Gods (god of light, air, and wind) and the father of the 8 Valkries, the warrior-maidens, has exhausted himself and his godly resources to have a mighty fortress built with the labor of the giants, Fasolt and Fafnir. But in his bargaining with them, he has promised the fair Freia, keeper of the golden apple tree whose fruit gives power and immortality to the gods. The giants come to collect their pay, and only Logé, the trickster god, can find something to offer the giants in exchange: the Rhinegold. The only problem is, Woton doesn’t have the Rhinegold yet!

1912 Writer Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936), illustrator Arthur Rackham (1867-1939) and translator Vernon S. Jones collaborated in the publication of Aesop’s Fables (New York: Avenel Books).

1917 Finland’s national awakening has been and its ultimately independence from Russia has been linked to the runes, the epic poem passed down for generations called the “lands of Kaleva” or Kalevala. The epic consists of 22,795 verses, divided into fifty ruins. The Kalevala, the Finnish national epic that Lönnrot compiled, was an inspiration for J.R.R. Tolkien’s the Silmarillion and The Lord of the Rings.

1924 The Bayreuth Festival re-opened in 1924 under the direction of Siegfried Wagner.

1924 Austrian-American director Fritz Lang made a duology of silent fantasy films of the epic: Die Nibelungen: Siegfried and Die Nibelungen: Kriemhilds Rache. The Nibelung saga and the tragic love story of Siegfried and Brunhild was used as the basis for Fritz Lang’s 1924 silent film “Siegfried” and indirectly and secondhand in the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy.

1933 Thomas Mann explored the complexities and contradictions of Wagner’s oeuvre.

1937-1949 Tolkien, J. R. R.. 1937-1949. The Lord of the Rings. I: The Fellowship of the Ring; II. The Two Towers; III. The Return of the King. Published in 1954-5. Tolkien was inspired by the Nordic legend the Ring of the Nibelungs.

1954 E. F. J. Payne’s translation of German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer’s The World as Will and Representation (1818) was published in English by Dover Publications.

“Volume 1 of the definitive English translation of one of the most important philosophical works of the 19th century, the basic statement in one important stream of post-Kantian thought. It is without question Schopenhauer’s greatest work, and conceived and published before the philosopher was thirty and expanded 25 years later, it is a summation of a lifetime of thought. For 70 years the only unabridged English translation of this work was the Haldane-Kemp collaboration. In 1958, a new translation by  E. F. J. Payne appeared which decisively supplanted the older one. Payne’s translation is superior because it corrects nearly 1,000 errors and omissions in the older Haldane-Kemp translation, and it is based on the definitive 1937 German edition of Schopenhauer’s work prepared by Dr. Arthur Hubscher. Payne’s edition is the first to translate into English the text’s many quotations in half a dozen languages, and Mr. Payne has provided a comprehensive index of 2,500 items. It is thus the most useful edition for the student or teacher.”

1955-06-07 Tolkein wrote to W.H. Auden describing his discovery of a Finnish grammar in Exeter College Library which he decided to use for his fiction instead of inventing an unrecorded Germanic language of his own for his stories. “The Kalevala features “all the themes of pre-Christian traditions, shape-shifting, mythical demons, magical plants, animals becoming human beings,” says Davis, while the story itself “is fundamentally a story of a sacred object which has power, and the pursuit of the mythic heroes who seek that power, to seek a way of understanding what that power means.” Davis describes the Kalevala as “a journey of the soul and a journey of the spirit—and that’s obviously what drew Tolkien to it (Handwerk 2004) .”

1981 1859 Darwin, Charles Robert (1809-1882) : the Biological Revolution; 1859 Marx, Karl (1818-1883): the social revolution; 1859 Wagner, Richard () : the artistic revolution; 1859 Tristan and Isolde; The School of Romanticism; The “Ring” and the Book. The Master Thinker of Bayreuth. Wagner’s voluminous teachings about music and drama, art and society are no longer read or quoted, and the few who push their way through them term them obscure, inconsistent, and fallicious, but Wagner remains the exceptional artist who was also a great thinker and creator and who fittingly has a temple all to himself at Bayreuth. The religious cult of art still dominates the modern spirit (Barzun. [1941] 1981:viii http://www.amazon.com/Darwin-Marx-Wagner-Critique-Heritage/dp/0226038599).”

“The Wagnerian twilight of the gods came about because of greed and treachery and wound up in destruction of the highest. General despair must follow these revelations. But tacked on irrationally to each vision of the future was a word of hope. Darwin concludes his evidence of the struggle for life by saying that from such war, famine, and death comes the best thing possible, the production of the higher animals. Marx similarly decrees and end to class struggle and promises the Utopia of absolute freedom without government. And Wagner is sure, like Darwin, that the production of something higher-art-justifies and repays for present anguish and coming agony. These additions turned the grim harangues into Christ-like parables that have soothed and sustained millions of believers and helped to reassure skeptics as to their authors’ good intentions. The thought of going to Darwin, Marx, or Wagner for consolation in a bad time is comic, yet it is true that their common outlook, gathering up as it does two centuries of speculation about man’s fate, gives what our bewildered spirits apparently want: the satisfaction of feeling tough-minded – no mysticism, no romantic nonsense- and at the same time the prospect of bliss to come once the exciting crisis is past; both moods validated, guaranteed sound and true, by scientific necessity  (Barzun. Preface to the Phoenix Edition [1941] 1981:x http://www.amazon.com/Darwin-Marx-Wagner-Critique-Heritage/dp/0226038599).”

1981 The third edition of Jacques Barzin (1907-) book entitled Darwin, Marx, Wagner: Critique of a Heritage (1941 [1958, 1981]) was published. Barzin claimed that in 1859 all three contributed to revolutions: 1859 Darwin, Charles Robert (1809-1882) : the Biological Revolution; 1859 Marx, Karl (1818-1883): the social revolution; 1859 Wagner, Richard () : the artistic revolution 1859 Tristan and Isolde. Barzin  analyzed the work of Wagner under the headings “1859 Tristan and Isolde,” “ The School of Romanticism”, “The “Ring” and the Book” and “The Master Thinker of Bayreuth.”

Barzin lamented,

“Wagner’s voluminous teachings about music and drama, art and society are no longer read or quoted, and the few who push their way through them term them obscure, inconsistent, and fallicious, but Wagner remains the exceptional artist who was also a great thinker and creator and who fittingly has a temple all to himself at Bayreuth. The religious cult of art still dominates the modern spirit (Barzun. [1941] 1981:viii http://www.amazon.com/Darwin-Marx-Wagner-Critique-Heritage/dp/0226038599).”

“The Wagnerian twilight of the gods came about because of greed and treachery and wound up in destruction of the highest. General despair must follow these revelations. But tacked on irrationally to each vision of the future was a word of hope. Darwin concludes his evidence of the struggle for life by saying that from such war, famine, and death comes the best thing possible, the production of the higher animals. Marx similarly decrees and end to class struggle and promises the Utopia of absolute freedom without government. And wagner is sure, like Darwin, that the production of something higher-art-justifies and repays for present anguish and coming agony. These additions turned the grim harangues into Christ-like parables that have soothed and sustained millions of believers and helped to reassure skeptics as to their authors’ good intentions. The thought of going to Darwin, Marx, or Wagner for consolation in a bad time is comic, yet it is true that their common outlook, gathering up as it does two centuries of speculation about man’s fate, gives what our bewildered spirits apparently want: the satisfaction of feeling tough-minded – no mysticism, no romantic nonsense- and at the same time the prospect of bliss to come once the exciting crisis is past; both moods validated, guaranteed sound and true, by scientific necessity  (Barzun. Preface to the Phoenix Edition [1941] 1981:x http://www.amazon.com/Darwin-Marx-Wagner-Critique-Heritage/dp/0226038599).”

1982 Tony Palmer directed the film entitled Wagner with Richard Burton in the lead role.  The musical genius was cast as monumentally repulsive, ridiculous, fascinating, relentlessly obnoxious and egomaniacal. Wagner was “treacherous with the wives and fortunes of others, thoroughly convinced that, as a superman striving to unify Germany, the world owed more to him than to ordinary mortals (O’Connor 1986-10-24) .”

1992 Irwin D. Yalom wrote the fiction entitled When Nietzsche Wept. The American Psychiatric Association awarded Irvin Yalom the 2000 Oscar Pfister prize (for important contributions to religion and psychiatry).

2001 Conductor Daniel Barenboim presented Wagner’s prelude to Tristan und Isolde as an unprogrammed encore in Tel Aviv with mixed responses from the audience.

2004 Anthropologist and ethnobotanist Wade Davis, a National Geographic Society explorer-in-residence, traveled to Finland’s Viena Karelia region, along the Russian border  last refuge for a unique dialect of the Finnish language through which songs and verses, or runes were passed down through the ages from one generation to the next. Kalevala is a collection of these runes kept alive by elders who are rune singers who sing from memory carrying within the history of the Finnish language. Only one elder was still alive in 2004: Jussi Houvinen.  A country doctor Elias Lönnrot. The Finnish Kalevala is comparable to India’s Ramayana, or the Greek Odyssey. Anthropologist and ethnobotanist Wade Davis, a National Geographic Society explorer-in-residence, traveled to Finland’s Viena Karelia region, along the Russian border  last refuge for a unique dialect of the Finnish language through which songs and verses, or runes were passed down through the ages from one generation to the next. Kalevala is a collection of these runes kept alive by elders who are rune singers who sing from memory carrying with them the history of the Finnish language.  India’s Ramayana, or the Greek Odyssey, is known in Finland as the Kalevala. However, the Kalevala itself will not die with Jussi, due to the efforts of a country doctor named Elias Lönnrot who traveled the Viena Karelia committing the oral poetry of the ancient runes to the written word. Davis describes how this bardic poem inspired the Finnish modern nation (Handwerk 2004) .

2004 Ring of the Nibelungs aka Dark Kingdom: The Dragon King Die Nibelungen, Curse of the Ring, and Sword of Xanten), a fantasy film and mini-series was released in the United Kingdom. Ring of the Nibelungs is based on the Norse mythology story titled: “the Volsunga Saga” and the German epic poem Nibelungenlied, which tells the mythological story of Siegfried the Dragon-Slayer. Richard Wagner’s music dramas Siegfried and Götterdämmerung are based on the same material.

This film and mini-series were written by Diane Duane and Peter Morwood, directed by Uli Edel, produced by Tandem Communications and filmed entirely in South Africa.
Ring of the Nibelungs is also known as Curse of the Ring in Australia (DVD title) / Iceland / International (English title) / Netherlands (DVD title) / USA (DVD title); L’anneau sacré in Belgium (French title) / France; Dark Kingdom: The Dragon King in USA (DVD title)

“The young blacksmith Siegfried, who, not knowing that he is heir to a conquered kingdom, becomes popular with the Burgunds by slaying their bane, the dragon Fafnir. When the reward seems to be a huge treasure, Siegfried ignores the curse that lies on the hoard – which now seems to endanger his love to beautiful Norse warrior queen Brunhild. Written by Tandem Communications)”

“The Saxon twin kings’ army sacks Xanthen and kills its royal couple, but their child heir Siegfried survives as blacksmith Eyvind’s adopted prodigy son under the name Erik. A meteor awakens the dragon Ffafnir, guardian of the magically cursed Nibelungen treasure. Erik wins the heart of island’s passing-by queen Brunhild and slays the dragon, whose blood renders invulnerable, capturing the gold, which he entrusts to Burgundy’s king Gunther, and a magical helmet which enables shape-shifting. Royal counselor Hagen consorts with his banished pa to magically make Erik fall in love with Gunther’s sister Kriemhild After defeating the Saxons and remembering his royal lineage, he is offered Kriemhild’s hand but can only marry her after winning Brunhild for the king by defeating her in a duel. This starts a tragic cascade of revenge. Written by KGF Vissers)”

“The blacksmith Siegfried meets the Queen of Island Brunhild in the crater of a fallen meteoroid and defeats her in an ax battle. They fall in love and Brunhild promises to wait for him in her kingdom. Siefried forges a sword using the strange ore; he slays a dragon and baths in its blood to become invincible and wealthy with the Treasure of the Nibelungen. Then he fights and defeats the dwarf Alberich from the Realm of the Nibelungen, and gets his magic helmet that makes the user take whatever form he wishes. When Siegfried meets Kriemhild, she drops a magic love potion in his wine and he immediately falls in love with her and forgets Brunhild. When Siegfried asks the hand of Kriemhild to her brother, Gunther – King of Burgundy, he advises that he would accept if Siegfried helps him to win over the strong Queen of Iceland Brunhild. Siegfried uses his helmet to defeat Brunhild pretending that he is Gunther and Brunhild agrees to marry him. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil).”

2004 Irvin D. Yalom published his work of fiction entitled The Schopenhauer Cure in which his protagonist distinguished psychotherapist Julius Hertzfeld facing his imminent death sought out a former patient Philip Slate, whom he treated for sex addiction twenty-three years earlier. At that time, Philip’s only means of connecting to humans was through brief sexual interludes with countless women, and Julius’s therapy did not change that. Philip claimed to have cured himself-by reading the pessimistic and misanthropic philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer. Philip has become a philosophical counselor and requests that Julius provide him with the supervisory hours he needs to obtain a license to practice. Philip is  arrogant, uncaring, self-absorbed like his mentor Schopenhauer. Julius agrees to supervise Philip, provided that Philip first join his therapy group. Julius is hoping that six months with the group will address Philip’s misanthropy and that by being part of a circle of fellow patients he will develop the relationship skills necessary to become a therapist. Philip enters the group, but he is more interested in educating the members in Schopenhauer’s philosophy-which he claims is all the therapy anyone should need-than he is in their (or his) individual problems. This novel knits together fact and fiction and contains an accurate portrayal of group therapy in action as well as a presentation of the life and influence of Arthur Schopenhauer, Philip’s personal guru and professional inspiration. Irvin D. Yalom is the bestselling author of Love’s Executioner, Momma and the Meaning of Life and The Gift of Therapy as well as several classic textbooks on psychotherapy, including the monumental work that has long been the standard text in the field, Theory and Practice of Group Psychotherapy.

2006 Mark Berry’s book entitled Treacherous Bonds and Laughing Fire: Politics and Religion in Wagner’s Ring (2006) is published by Ashgate Publishing. Berry challenged commentators who minimized or denied the importance of Ludwig Feuerbach on Wagner’s thought. “The tradition of Bayreuth Idealism was to present a timeless, pessimistic Schopenhauerism upon which one finds grafted a particular brand of neo-Romantic German nationalism as the essence of the Master’s teachings (Berry 2006:8).”

“Mark Berry explores the political and religious ideas expounded in Wagner’s Ring through close attention to the text and drama, the multifarious intellectual influences upon the composer during the work’s lengthy gestation and composition, and the wealth of Wagner source material. Many of his writings are explicitly political in their concerns, for Wagner was emphatically not a revolutionary solely for the sake of art. Yet it would be misleading to see even the most ‘political’ tracts as somehow divorced from the aesthetic realm; Wagner’s radical challenge to liberal-democratic politics makes no such distinction. This book considers Wagner’s treatment of various worlds: nature, politics, economics, and metaphysics, in order to explain just how radical that challenge is. Classical interpretations have tended to opt either for an ‘optimistic’ view of the Ring, centred upon the influence of Young Hegelian thought – in particular the philosophy of Ludwig Feuerbach – and Wagner’s concomitant revolutionary politics, or for the ‘pessimistic’ option, removing the disillusioned Wagner-in-Swiss-exile from the political sphere and stressing the undoubtedly important role of Arthur Schopenhauer. Such an ‘either-or’ approach seriously misrepresents not only Wagner’s compositional method but also his intellectual method. It also sidelines inconvenient aspects of the dramas that fail to ‘fit’ whichever interpretation is selected. Wagner’s tendency is not progressively to recant previous ‘errors’ in his oeuvre. Radical ideas are not completely replaced by a Schopenhauerian world-view, however loudly the composer might come to trumpet his apparent ‘conversion’. Nor is Wagner’s truly an Hegelian method, although Hegelian dialectic plays an important role. In fact, Wagner is in many ways not really a systematic thinker at all (which is not to portray him as self-consciously unsystematic in a Nietzschean, let alone ‘post-modernist’ fashion). His tendency, rather, is agglomerative, with ideas and influences overlapping. Indeed, the claim made sometimes that the Ring does not make sense touches upon an important truth in pointing towards the complexity of process. The claim errs, however, in failing to see Wagner’s progression as one of self-criticism rather than incompetence. Questions and tentative solutions are tried and found wanting, leading to yet further attempts to reconcile political commitment, and the pessimistic religion seen in recognition of the nullity of the phenomenal world. The Ring, then, affords an extraordinary opportunity to grasp the richness and complexity of nineteenth-century thought and its underlying historical forces.”

Webliography and Bibliography

Barzun, Jacques (1907-). 1941 [1958, 1981]. Darwin, Marx, Wagner: Critique of a Heritage. Doubleday: Garden City, NY.

Barzun, Jacques (1907-). 1981 [1941, 1958]. Darwin, Marx, Wagner: Critique of a Heritage. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Berry, Mark. 2006. Treacherous Bonds and Laughing Fire: Politics and Religion in Wagner’s Ring. Ashgate Publishing.

Grossman, Jeffrey A. 2000. “Bildung and the Improvement of the Jews”. The discourse on Yiddish in Germany from the enlightenment to the Second Empire.

Grossman, Jeffrey A. 2000. “Herder, Humboldt, and the Language of Diaspora Jews”. The discourse on Yiddish in Germany from the enlightenment to the Second Empire.

“This book explores the uses of Yiddish language in German literary and cultural texts from the onset of Jewish civil emancipation in the Germanies in 1781 until the late 19th century. Showing the various functions Yiddish assumed at this time, the study crosses traditional boundaries between literary and non-literary texts. It focuses on responses to Yiddish in genres of literature ranging from drama to language handbooks, from cultural criticism to the realist novel in order to address broader issues of literary representation and Jewish-German relations in the 18th and 19th centuries. Professor Grossman shows how the emergence of attitudes toward Jews and Yiddish is directly related to linguistic theories and cultural ideologies that bear a complex relationship to the changing social and political institutions of the time. Amidst the rise of national ideologies and modern anti-Semitism, the increasing consolidation of institutions, and the drive to cultural homogeneity in the 18th- and 19th-century German context, Yiddish functioned as an anarchic element that, in the view of its opponents, “threatened” to dissolve German national culture. Grossman locates the response to Yiddish in the context of historical events (the Hep Hep Riots of 1819, the Revolution of 1848) and institutional changes (Jewish legal emancipation, the promotion of Bildung as an educational and cultural ideal). In its methodology and its focus, this study seeks to show how the conflicted responses to the Yiddish language point to the problems that connected and frequently divided Jews and Germans as they sought to re-invent themselves for a new and unsettling context.”

Handwerk, Brian. 2004. “Lord of the Rings Inspired by an Ancient Epic. National Geographic News.

Liu, Henry C K. 2001. “Tackle failed markets, not failed states.” Asia Times. (Liu 2001)

Liu traces a history of the term volk re: the nation state, power shifts, romanticism,

Florea, Luminita. 2004. “Music: Romantic” in Murray, Ed. 2004. Encyclopedia of the romantic era, 1760-1850. Volume 2. New York & London: Fitzroy Dearborn.

Murray, Christopher John. ED. 2004. Encyclopedia of the romantic era, 1760-1850. Volume 2. New York & London: Fitzroy Dearborn.

O’Connor, John J. 1986-10-24. “Richard Burton stars in ‘Wagner’ on 13.” New York Times.

Palmer, Tony. Director. 1982. Richard Wagner Film. Hungarofilm. MTV: Budapest; London Trust Productions.

Schiller, Johann Christoph Friedrich von (1759-1805). 1791–93. A History of the Thirty Years’ War in GermanyGeschichte des dreißigjährigen Kriegs.

Payne, E. F. J. 1954. Trans. “Translator’s Introduction.” in  to Schopenhauer, Arthur. 1954 [1818]. The World as Will and Representation. Dover Publications.

Stapleton-Corcoran, Erin. “Music, Romantic: After 1850.” in Murray, Christopher John. ED. 2004. Encyclopedia of the romantic era, 1760-1850. Volume 2. New York & London: Fitzroy Dearborn. p. 774.

Warrack, John Hamilton; West, Ewan. 1996. “Tannhäuser and the Song Contest on the Wartburg.” The concise Oxford dictionary of opera. Oxford University Press.

BB Richard Wagner. The diary of Richard Wagner 1865-1882: the Brown Book. Ed. J. Bergfield. Trans. G. Bird. London. 1980

CT. Cosima Wagner’s diaries. Eds. M. Gregor-Dellin and D. Mack. Trans. G. Skelton. 2 vols. London. 1978-1980.

ML. Richard Wagner. My Life. Trans. A. Gray. Ed. M. Whittall. Cambridge. 1983.

OD. Richard Wagner. Oper und Drama. Ed K. Kropfinger. Struttgart. 1994.

SB. Richard Wagner. Samtliche Briefe. Eds. G. Strobel. W. Wolf. H. J. Bauer. J. Forner. Leipzig. 1967

SL Richard Wagner. Selected Letters of Richard Wagner. Trans. S. Spencer. Eds S. Spencer and B. Millington. London. 1987.

SS Richard Wagner. Samtliche Schriften and Dichtungen. Eds R. Sternfield. H. von Wolzogen. 16 vol in 10. Leipzig 1912-4.

Benjamin, Walter. 1996-2004. ‘Little tricks of the trade.” Trans. R. Livingstone. in Selected Writings. Eds. M. W. Jennings et al. 4 vols. vol 2. p. 730.

A mechanical reproduction of the Gothic painting by Henry Fuseli entitled “The Nightmare” became a a major inspiration to the brooding, brilliant, brittle and oddly vulnerable DCI Tanner in the episode entitled Parasomnia (1999) in the BBC/PBS series Second Sight.

The Gothic genre has thrived as a transgressive art form in various styles and forms, in high culture and pop culture, since its origins in the late eighteenth century through the postmodern and into the 21st century. Consumers of the gothic genre enter willingly into the nightmare narratives experienced by those who inhabit the shadow lands of modernity: that spectral cast of incubus, ghosts, monsters and vampires who reveal to us the threat of dystopia that looms on the edge of our planned utopias, the dark side of human nature that we narrowly avoid due to the superhuman efforts of the fictional hero and heroine. The consumer of the gothic narrative escapes with a cathartic pseudo-Burkean-sublime-feeling, the Malarme or Beaudelaire’s ‘frisson’ experienced in the art gallery, winged arm chair or theater, of having survived the terrible through human reason and virtue. See also Botting (1995).

Nietzsche: “Who ever battles with monsters had better see that it does not turn himself into a monster. And if you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.”

Gothic instantiations and influences to be included:

Fuseli’ Nightmare (Tate), Fuseli’s Nightmare NGC

Angela Carter,

David Lynch.

Parasomnia Second Sight DVD

Neitzsche’s rautzche?? sp

Foucault on terror


Climatic descriptions


1667 John Milton’s Paradise Lost was published but it did not take its preeminent place in English literature until his work became a major influence on Mary Shelley and other Romantic-Gothic artists.

c. 1735-40 William Hogarth’s “Satan, Sin and Death.” (A Scene from Milton’s ‘Paradise Lost’). oil on canvas. London, UK. Tate Gallery.

1741 David Garrick was ‘arguably the most versatile actor of the eighteenth century, responsible for a radical change in the style of acting and particularly noted for his performances in the tragedies and histories of Shakespeare (Lloyd 1994:21).’ His greatest performance was perhaps as the King in Richard III, first given in 1741, which Edmund Burke claimed ‘raised the character of his profession to the rank of a liberal art (Lloyd 1994:21).’

1741 William Hogarth attempted to portray the sublime in response to Edmund Burke’s 1756 publication. Hogarth’s large 1741 portrait of Garrick as Richard III — now in the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool — has been described as a sublime history portrait. (Lloyd 1994):21)

1757 William Hogarth’s “Satan, Sin and Death.”

1757 Edmund Burke and the sublime (1729 – 1797): “Whatever is fitted in any sort to excite the ideas of pain, and danger, that is to say, whatever is in any sort terrible, or is conversant about terrible objects, or operates in a manner analogous to terror, is a source of the Sublime; that is, it is capable of producing the strongest emotions which the mind is capable of feeling. – Edmund Burke” Political philosopher Edmund Burke’s theories of the sublime and the beautiful (1756) influenced the Romantic movement.

1759 Adam Smith suggested that conscious reasoning, analysis and imagination contributed were mechanisms of the phenomenon of emotional contagion. “Though our brother is on the rack . . . by the imagination we place ourselves in his situation, we conceive ourselves enduring all the same torments, we enter as it were into his body, and become in some measure the same person with him, and thence form some idea of the sensations, and even feel something which, through weaker in degree, is not altogether unlike them (Smith 1759:9 cited in Decety and Ickes).” Smith also described motor mimicry, “When we see a stroke aimed, and just ready to fall upon the leg or arm of another person, we naturally shrink and draw back on our leg or our arm (Smith 1759:4 cited in Decety and Ickes).

1759 The Lady’s last Stake, another, homelier genre scene, William Hogarth’s last “comic history”, painted at the request of Lord Charlemont; also Sigismunda, at the request of Sir Richard Grosvenor who had asked for a similar genre scene, leaving the subject to Hogarth, and who had to pay for this austere painting in which William Hogarth had undertaken to outdo the Italian painters of the seicento, who had recently reached absurdly high prices at a sensational auction. Also Satan, Sin and Death, William Hogarth’s last attempt at sublimity, a Miltonian scene inspired by Edmund Burke’s Philosophical Enquiry into the Sublime and Beautiful (1757); left unfinished, but engraved in 1767, it probably inspired Fuseli and Blake and the vogue of “sublime” romantic painting. http://hogarth.chez.tiscali.fr/biography/biography.htm

1764 Horace Walpole (1717-1797), son of the first prime minister Sir Robert Walpole, published the first Gothic novel entitled The Castle of Otranto. Horace and his friend Thomas Brand took the Grand Tour around Italy and France c. 1740-42.

1767 William Hogarth’s unfinished painting Satan, Sin and Death is a Miltonian scene that was engraved in 1767. Hogarth’s Satan, Sin and Death possibly fuelled the vogue of the sublime in romantic painting and may have inspired Fuseli and Blake.

William Blake Satan, Sin, and Death Pen and watercolor, 19-1/2 x 15-13/16 inches

1776 Henry Fuseli’s Pen and sepia with brown and grey wash 26.2 x 37.7″ “Satan and Death Separated by Sin.” at the Visitors of the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. ‘All that was to change by the end of the eighteenth century, when for complex and even contradictory reasons, ranging from the recovery of Renaissance culture to sudden pressures for political reform, Paradise Lost claimed an unquestionable prominence, even preeminence, among the treasures of English literary art and began to exert a broad influence on the emerging literature of Romanticism. Although the impact can be felt on every one of the major Romantic poets, as well as on dozens of minor ones as well, it is a curious and even wonderful truth that nowhere in this rich literature does Milton’s epic resonate as richly and subtly as in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. That has been attributed by some critics to the orchestration of Percy Bysshe Shelley, who was a devoted follower of “the sacred Milton,” as he referred to him in the Preface to Prometheus Unbound, and continually allowed his own work to resonate with deliberate allusions to Paradise Lost. Undoubtedly, he helped Mary with the polishing of her Miltonic textures, providing the epigraph, for example (X.743-45). But with a writing partnership that up to this point in England had only the short-lived relationship of Wollstonecraft and Godwin as a model, there is no reason to attribute the origin of any particular idea or theme to Percy Bysshe Shelley simply because he was older or male. And, indeed, it is possible to read his later comments on Paradise Lost in the Preface to Prometheus Unbound (1820) or in “A Defence of Poetry” (1821) as revealing how powerful an influence Mary’s novel shed on his own conceptions of the work. On whomever the decision to foreground Milton’s poem rests, Mary Shelley did write the novel and therefore is responsible for the complex patterns of allusion that amplify and contextualize her modernization of Western creation myths. (Lynch)’

1794 Ann Ward Radcliffe (1764-1823) published the Gothic novel entitled The Mysteries of Udolpho. Radcliffe socially acceptable stories surrounding a virtuous heroine, implied a supernatural intrusion but always could be traced to a logical natural cause. Key words: Orphans, Fiction, Horror tales, Inheritance and succession, Young women, Gothic fiction, Guardian and ward, Castles, Italy, climatic scene setting.

The virtuous heroine, Emily  . . . “returned over the cliffs towards the chateau, meditating upon what she had just heard, till, at length she forced her mind upon less interesting subjects. The wind was high, and as she drew near the chateau, she often paused to listen to its awful sound, as it swept over the billows, that beat below, or groaned along the surrounding woods; and, while she rested on a cliff at a short distance from the chateau, and looked upon the wide waters, seen dimly beneath the last shade of twilight, she thought of the following address:  To the Winds: Viewless, through heaven’s vast vault your course ye steer, Unknown from whence ye come, or whither go! Mysterious pow’rs! I hear ye murmur low, Till swells your loud gust on my startled ear, And, awful! seems to say–some God is near! I love to list your midnight voices float In the dread storm, that o’er the ocean rolls, And, while their charm the angry wave controuls, Mix with its sullen roar, and sink remote.”

1818 Mary Wollstonecraft (Godwin) Shelley (1797-1851) published the Gothic novel entitled Frankenstein: The Modern Prometheus in which her main character, the scientist Victor Frankenstein, infused life into a monstrous creature whom he then rejected. The creature tortured by loneliness and rejection murdered everyone that Dr. Frankenstein loved and finally ended his own life in the Far North. Key words: Science fiction, Horror tales, Scientists, Monsters, golum, electricity, galvanism, climatic scene setting,

“When I was about fifteen years old we had retired to our house near Belrive, when we witnessed a most violent and terrible thunderstorm. It advanced from behind the mountains of Jura, and the thunder burst at once with frightful loudness from various quarters of the heavens. I remained, while the storm lasted, watching its progress with curiosity and delight. As I stood at the door, on a sudden I beheld a stream of fire issue from an old and beautiful oak which stood about twenty yards from our house; and so soon as the dazzling light vanished, the oak had disappeared, and nothing remained but a blasted stump. When we visited it the next morning, we found the tree shattered in a singular manner. It was not splintered by the shock, but entirely reduced to thin ribbons of wood. I never beheld anything so utterly destroyed. Before this I was not unacquainted with the more obvious laws of electricity. On this occasion a man of great research in natural philosophy was with us, and excited by this catastrophe, he entered on the explanation of a theory which he had formed on the subject of electricity and galvanism, which was at once new and astonishing to me. All that he said threw greatly into the shade Cornelius Agrippa, Albertus Magnus, and Paracelsus, the lords of my imagination; but by some fatality the overthrow of these men disinclined me to pursue my accustomed studies. It seemed to me as if nothing would or could ever be known. All that had so long engaged my attention suddenly grew despicable. By one of those caprices of the mind which we are perhaps most subject to in early youth, I at once gave up my former occupations, set down natural history and all its progeny as a deformed and abortive creation, and entertained the greatest disdain for a would-be science which could never even step within the threshold of real knowledge. In this mood of mind I betook myself to the mathematics and the branches of study appertaining to that science as being built upon secure foundations, and so worthy of my consideration.”

1897 Irish novelist Abraham “Bram” Stoker (1847 –  1912) published his Gothic novel entitled Dracula.

1890s Nietsche “Who ever battles with monsters had better see that it does not turn himself into a monster. And if you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.”

1950 Powell, Nicolas. 1950. “Fuseli: catalogue of an exhibition of paintings and drawings.” Introduction by Ganz, Paul. (1872-1954). Arts Council of Great Britain. London.

1956. Antal, Frederick (1887-1954). 1956. “Fuseli studies.” London, Routledge.

1973 Powell, Nicolas, 1920- Fuseli : The Nightmare. London : Penguin, 1973

1979 Pressly, Nancy L. 1979. “The Fuseli circle in Rome : early romantic art of the 1770s.” New Haven: Yale Center for British Art, c1979. “This catalogue was published on the occasion of an exhibition at the Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, Connecticut, from September 12 through November 11, 1979.”

1985. Gizzi, Corrado. 1985. Fussli e Dante Palazzo di Brera. Milano. Mazzotta. Catalog of an exhibition held at the Palazzo di Brera, Milan, Nov. 20, 1985-Jan. 19, 1986.

1983 Henry Fuseli : 12 November – 18 December 1983 : The National Museum of Western Art,Tokyo

1990 Nationalmuseum (Sweden). 1990. Füssli.” Stockholm: Sweden. “Part of a double exhibition: Sergel-Füssli held Nov. 4, 1990 – Jan. 6, 1991. Swedish text with English summary.

1995 (Botting 1995) ”

1998 FUSELI TO MENZEL: DRAWINGS AND WATERCOLORS FROM THE AGE OF GOETHE June 23 through September 6, 1998 “For the first time, New York audiences will view a selection of major works from one of the most important private collections of German drawings and watercolors of the period c. 1750 through 1850. Known as the Age of Goethe, this era is considered to be one of the greatest in German draftsmanship. Nonetheless, such works on paper are exceedingly rare in both public and private collections in the United States, making this traveling exhibition a particularly rich and unusual opportunity. On view thissummer at The Frick Collection, this presentation of eighty works by forty-nine artists is drawn from thecelebrated holdings of Munich attorney Alfred Winterstein (1895-1976). The exhibition explores the range and significance of German draftsmanship from the Enlightenment, Romantic, and Realist periods,and includes landscapes and nature studies by Caspar David Friedrich and preeminent writer and artist Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, architectural studies by Karl Friedrich Schinkel and Friedrich Gilly, and portraits by Joseph Karl Stieler and Ludwig Emil Grimm. Among the other notable artists featured are Henry Fuseli, Carl Philipp Fohr, Philipp Otto Runge, Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld, Moritz von Schwind, Johann Georg von Dillis, and Adolph Menzel. Never before have so many works from the Winterstein collection been on view outside of Germany, where it made its last major tour four decadesago, in 1958. Fuseli to Menzel: Drawings and Watercolors from the Age of Goethe is curated by Hinrich Sieveking, curator of the Winterstein Collection. Presentation of Fuseli to Menzel at The Frick Collection has been coordinated by Associate Curator Susan Grace Galassi. The exhibition was initiated and organized by the Busch-Reisinger Museum, Harvard University Art Museums,Cambridge, MA, and has been made possible by the generous support of Merck, Finck & Co., Privatbankiers, a member of the Barclays Group, with additional support from the Friends of the Busch-Reisinger Museum and theFellows of The Frick Collection

2005 National Gallery of Canada, and Douglas E. Schoenherr. 2005. Henry Fuseli. ISBN 0888848021.

Who’s Who?

Fuseli, Henry (1741-1825);

Dante Alighieri, (1265-1321).

Key concepts

Primitive emotional contagion is of critical importance in understanding human cognition, emotion and behaviour. It is a basic building block of human interaction, assisting in “mind reading” and allowing people to understand and to share the feelings of others.” The Emotional Contagion scale was designed to assess people’s susceptibility to “catching” joy, happiness, love, fear, anxiety, anger, sadness, depression, as well as emotions in general. True empathy requires three skills: 1: the ability to share the other person’s feelings; the cognitive ability to intuit what the other person is feeling; and a socially beneficial intention to respond compassionately to that person’s distress. Emotional contagion is the “tendency to automatically mimic and synchronize facial expressions, vocalizations, postures, and movements with those of the other person and consequently, to converge emotionally (Hatfield, Cacloppo, Rapson 1994:5 in Decety and Ickes).


Art:Neoclassicism, Italy:Art, Art:Romanantic,

Webliography and Bibliography

Botting, Fred. 1995 Gothic. Series: The New Critical Idiom. Routledge.

Decety, Jean. Ickes, William. The Social Neuroscience of Empathy. MIT Press.

Schoenherr, Douglas E. 2005. Henry Fuseli. National Gallery of Canada. Ottawa, ON.

Decety, Jean. Ickes, William. The Social Neuroscience of Empathy. MIT Press.


God’s creation,
Great Chain of Being,
Charles II,
Bloodless Revolution,
Mary Shelley,
Far North,
Prometheus Unbound,
the Palace of Satan,

common terms:

“adventures aesthetic alienation ambivalence anxiety aristocratic associated barbaric boundaries Burke’s Caleb Carmilla Castle of Otranto century conventional corruption criminal critical cultural dark death diabolical distinctions disturbing domestic double Dracula effects eighteenth eighteenth-century emotions enlightened evil evoked excess external externalisation extravagant fantasy fears female feudal figures film Frankenstein genre ghost story ghostly gloomy Gothic architecture Gothic fiction Gothic forms Gothic novels Gothic romance Gothic texts Gothic writing haunted Helsing hero heroines human Hyde identity images imagination individual internalisation Jekyll labyrinth linked literary literature medieval mirror Monk monster moral Mysteries of Udolpho mysterious nature neoclassical objects Old English Baron passions past persecution political popular present produced propriety Radcliffe’s rational readers reality religious representation Romanticism ruins scientific secret sense sexual significant social society spectral strange sublime supernatural superstition terror and horror Terrorist Novel threat threatening tradition transgression uncanny values vampire Vathek villain violence virtue Walpole wild” By Fred Botting


Ferdowsi's Shahnameb: The Persian Book of Kings (c. 1000) Illustration Public domain. ?Miniature from the Berlin Manuscript of Firdausi's Shahnameh (1605)?


Imagine Goethe’s inner gaze marveling at majestic Mount Damāvand, the highest peak in the Middle East, immortalized in Persian literature through masterful works like Ferdowsi’s Shâhnameh. From its seemingly timeless lofty heights, Mount Damāvand, remains as unconstrained as the wind, in contrast with the social, political and historical changes unfolding all around it.

I was looking for the fertile, picturesque places with names like warm valley and seven creeks where the judge’s grandson grew up when I came across images of Mount Damāvand and learned of its history.

Illustrations inspired by Abolghassem Mansour-ibn-Hassan Firdausi Tousi (Ferdowsi)’s epic work entitled Shâhnâmeh (Book of Kings) (1010) were submitted by Iran for inclusion inclusion in the Memory of the World Register in 2007. They now host a gallery of illustrations.

“Abolghassem Mansour-ibn-Hassan Firdausi Tousi (Ferdowsi) was a prominent figure in Iranian poetry and the nationalist poet of the Persian Empire. He was born in the Iranian city of Tous in 941 and died in 1020, ten years after he finished his major epic work, the Shâhnâmeh (Book of Kings). This is one of the classics of the Persian-speaking world and is on a par with the ‘Iliad’ and the ‘Aeniad’ of the Greco-Romano cultural communities. An important feature of this work is that although during the period of its creation, Arabic was the main language of science and literature, Ferdowsi used only Persian and therefore helped to revive and maintain this important world language. Today Persian is spoken by over 65 million people in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Pakistan and diaspora communities. The Shâhnâmeh has also become an important text throughout Central Asia, India and the former Ottoman Empire. It has been copied countless times and three of these copies could be said to have universal value: the “Demotte Shâhnâmeh” made in the early 1300s for the Il-Khanid patron, Giyath al-Din ; the 16th Century “Houghton Shâhnâmeh” ; and the “Bayasanghori Shâhnâmeh”, which was made in 1430 for Prince Bayasanghor (1399-1433), the grandson of the legendary Central Asian leader Timur (1336-1405). Only the “Bayasanghori Shâhnâmeh” has survived and is kept under lock and key in the Imperial Library of the Golestan Palace in Tehran. The Shâhnâmeh represents the quintessence of aesthetic and literary values of the elite rulers of the Timurid Renaissance who dominated Central and Western Asia in the 15th Century.”

In the nineteenth century, Goethe considered Persian literature to be one of the four main bodies of world literature (Ferdowsi 2006) and his “Verstandnis des West-Ostlichen Divans” was inspired by Persian literature.

“When we turn our attention to a peaceful, civilized people, the Persians, we must — since it was actually their poetry that inspired this work — go back to the earliest period to be able to understand more recent times. It will always seem strange to the historians that no matter how many times a country has been conquered, subjugated and even destroyed by enemies, there is always a certain national core preserved in its character, and before you know it, there re-emerges a long-familiar native phenomenon. In this sense, it would be pleasant to learn about the most ancient Persians and quickly follow them up to the present day at an all the more free and steady pace (Goethe 1819 in Wiesehofer and Azodi 2001: Preface).”

For over 2600 years Persia has been at the geographic centre of trade and cultural exchange, friction If you draw lines from the Mediterranean to Beijing or Beijing to Cairo or Paris to Delhi, they all pass through Iran, which straddles a region where East meets West. Over 26 centuries, a blending of the hemispheres has been going on here—trade, cultural interchange, friction—with Iran smack in the middle.

“If we could realize that great works such as the Shahnameh [of Ferdowsi] exists in the world, we would not become so much proud of our own works in such a silly manner (Saint-Beuve cited in Wiesehofer 2001-08-18).”

1. This UNESCO site entitled Memory of the World hosts digital images like this 1430 illustration from the “Bayasanghori Shâhnâmeh” for Prince Bayasanghor (1399-1433). It illustrated one of the stories in Ferdowsi’s Shahnameb (1010) showing the tyrant Zahhak, nailed to the walls of a cave in Mount Damavand.

2. Some Poems in English

3. “FERDOWSĪ,ABU’L-QĀSEM (329-410 or 416/940-1019 or 1025), one of the greatest epic poets and author of the Šāh-nāma, the national epic of Persia. See also ŠĀH-NĀMA. […] The sum of such heartfelt, mature, and eloquently expressed views and ethical precepts regarding the world and mankind have led to his being referred to, from an early period, as ḥakīm (philosopher), dānā (sage), and farzāna (learned); that is, he was considered a philosopher, though he was not attached to any specific philosophical school nor possessed a complete knowledge of the various philosophical and scientific views of his time. [His sobriquet or pen name], Ferdowsī means “[man] from paradise” (Khaleghi, 1988, p. 92). From Encylopedia Iranica

4. The concepts of freedom and human rights allegedly originated in the first Persian Empire, as early as the c. 539 BC with the Achaemenid Persian Shāhanshāh Emperor Cyrus the Great (c. 600/576 BC – c. 530/29 BC). His successors including Darius ruled over a stable global superpower, the world’s first religiously and culturally tolerant empire administrated with the first human rights charter (Farrokh 2007:44, Robertson and Merrills 1996:7, Lauren 2003:11, Xenophon and Hedrick 2007:xiii) with a central government in Pasargadae for more than a thousand years. The borders of the Persian Empire ultimately extended from the Mediterranean to the Indus River, encompassing 23 different peoples and including nations and regions that by 2008 were called Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Jordan, Cyprus, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Egypt, and the Caucasus region (Del Giudice 2008-08:5).” It was Emperor Cyrus the Great who freed the enslaved Jews of Babylon in 539 B. C. providing them with necessary funds to rebuild their in Jerusalem through the Edict of Restoration. (Del Giudice 2008-08:5)”

5. Cyrus the Great Cylinder, The First Charter of Rights of Nations: (Farrokh 2007:44, Robertson and Merrills 1996:7, Lauren 2003:11, Xenophon and Hedrick 2007:xiii)

“In short, the figure of Cyrus has survived throughout history as more than a great man who founded an empire. He became the epitome of the great qualities expected of a ruler in antiquity, and he assumed heroic features as a conqueror who was tolerant and magnanimous as well as brave and daring. His personality as seen by the Greeks influenced them and Alexander the Great, and, as the tradition was transmitted by the Romans, may be considered to influence our thinking even now (Frye 1963).”

6. Richard N. Frye (1920- ), now a professor emeritus at Harvard devoted more than sixty years to teaching, learning and research on Persian history. He founded the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard and is the Aga Khan Professior of Iranian history at Harvard University. Frye’s books entitled the Nation of Archers (1954) and The Heritage of Persia (1962) The Heritage of Persia (Bibliotheca Iranica, No 1). Islam and the West. Proceedings of the Harvard Summer School Conference on the …
His mentor and predecessor, Arthur Pope was director of the Asia Institute in Shiraz.

“Thus, to refer to the Sasanian period of Iran’s history, Vahram-i Varjavand, seems to me to be a greatly heroised example of the millenary tradition, for he is a truly messianic personality, even though probably a greatly heroised form of the historic Bahrám Chobin. As I have frequently stated, in the past of Iran, for the people, history was not what really happened, or even what they thought had happened, but what they thought should have happened. This is a fundamental characteristic of the view of the past among a people who have a strong epic tradition and a messianic tradition of time speculation (Frye, 1974:57-69 1964: 36-54 cited in Buck 1998).”

7. Some useful translations
Shâhnameh Shahnameh (Farsi) Emperor
Kūrošé Kabīr or Kūrošé Bozorg Kurose Kabir or Kurose Bozorg (Farsi) Emperor Cyrus the Great
Koresh (Hebrew in Bible) Emperor Cyrus the Great
Dhul-Qarnayn (Arabic in Qur’an) possibly referring to Emperor Cyrus the Great.
Damāvand – Damavand
West-Ostlichen (German) West-Eastern

Webliography and Bibliography

Buck, Christopher. 1998. “Bahá’u’lláh as Zoroastrian saviour.” Baha’i Studies Review. 8. London: Association for Baha’i Studies English-Speaking Europe. pp.14–33.

Farrokh, Kaveh. 2007. Shadows in the Desert: Ancient Persia at War. History.

Frye, Richard N. 1963. The Heritage of Persia: The pre-Islamic History of One of the World’s Great Civilizations. World Publishing Company: New York.

Ghasemi, Shapour. “The Cyrus the Great Cylinder.” History of Iran. Accessed February 24.

Knappert, Jan. Ed. 1999.Encyclopaedia of Middle Eastern mythology and religion. Longmead, UK.

Robertson, Arthur Henry; Merrills, J. G. 1996. Human Rights in the World: An Introduction to the Study of the International. Political Science.:7.

Lauren, Paul Gordon. 2003. The Evolution of International Human Rights: Visions Seen. Political Science. p.11.

Xenophon; Hedrick, Larry. 2007. “Xenophon’s Cyrus the Great: The Arts of Leadership and War. History. p.xiii.

Del Giudice, Marguerite. 2008-08. “Persia: Ancient Soul of Iran: A Glorious Past Inspired by a Conflicted Nation.” National Geographic. PP. 34-67.
Ferdowsi, Abolqasem. 2006. Translated by Davis, Dick. 2006. Shahnameh: The Persian Book of Kings. Viking.

Goethe. 1819. Noten and Abhandlungen zu besserem Verstandnis des West-Ostlichen Divans.

Levinson, Von David; Christensen, Karen. 2002. Encyclopedia of Modern Asia. Charles Scribner’s Sons.

Wiesehofer, Josef; Azodi, Azizeh. 2001-08-18. Translated by Azodi, Azizeh. “Preface.” Ancient Persia: From 550 BC to 650 AD. I. B. Tauris. New Ed Edition.

Nurian, Mahdi. 1993. “Afarin Ferdowsi az Zaban Pishinian [The praises of Ferdowsi from the tongue of the ancients].” Hasti Magazine. 4. Tehran: Bahman Publishers.

Effendi, Shoghi. 1991. “Buddha, Krishna, Zoroaster.” The Compilation of Compilations.Volume I. Baha’i Publications Australia.

Effendi, Shoghi. 1944. God Passes By. Wilmette: Bahá’í Publishing Trust.

Frye, Richard N. (1992), “Zoroastrians in Central Asia in Ancient Times.” Journal of the K. R. Cama Oriental Institute. 58: 6–10.

Richard Frye, 1974. “Methodology in Iranian History,” in Neue Methodologie in der Iranistik. (Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz, 1974): 57-69 [66]. Cf. idem, “The Charisma of Kingship in Ancient Iran,” Iranica Antiqua 6 (1964): 36-54.


http://maps.nationalgeographic.com/map-machine#s=h&c=35.6907639509368, 52.032623291015646&z=9


Novel Tourism: Web 2.0

February 13, 2009

Methodologies change over time in relation to descriptions of haunts and scenes of novels and film productions based on them. Easily identified Parisian settings for Marcel Proust novels evolved into a thriving tourist industry. Web 2.0 Virtual Tourism is yet another way in which we can engage with our favourite stories from the classics and popular culture, situating them in the liminal space between the fictional and real.

In the 1980s television series were filmed in spots that were already booming tourist attractions expanding interest to include geographical features, archaeological sites and objects, architecture, pubs, gardens, estates, colleges, etc. The Inspector Morse series was filmed in the Thames Valley area, mainly in Oxford. The charming countryside along the Thames River has attracted tourists following in the carriage wheels of London aristocracy who built fine and stately country homes like Blenheim around which picturesque villages developed. The Inspector Morse series filled with bodies found floating in the Isis, the Cherwell or the Thames, also overflows with culture-rich references. In every episode there are many photo opportunities for local tourist venues and even tour buses and guides make appearances as memorable “objects.”

Charles Dickens stage was modern with its “lime-lights, trapdoors and elaborate sets (Rideing 1885).” There is a much greater opportunity for readers to identify specific locations through Charles Dickens’ powerful word painting in which he elaborates with great fidelity, minute descriptive details (that would be boring if not humourous) of the furnishings, everyday objects and the haunts of his characters making the settings as memorable as the people who inhabited them. Rideing compared Dickens’ methodology to Thackerey’s. Thackerey’s stage for Vanity Fair (1847-8), for example, was classic “with a dais of drapery of green baize before the time of scenery (Rideing 1885). Dickens localized his characters, Thackerey did not.

Using a gaggle of Web 2.0 technologies, including customized Google Maps, I began to map some of these references as yet another way to engage with nonlinear space and time. Possibilities are virtually infinite.

Webliography and Bibliography

Rideing, William Henry. 1885. Thackeray’s London: Description of his Haunts and the Scenes of his Novels. London: J. W. Jarvis and Son. King William Street, Strand, W. C./ Boston, U.S. CUPJ-Les, Upham and Co. Isaac Foot Library. Copyright, 1885. Washington, D. C.

Thackeray, William. 1847-8. Vanity Fair.

Thackeray, William. 1847-8. A Roundabout Chapter between London and Hampshire.” Vanity Fair.

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Wharton’s Icefields

August 27, 2008

Wharton's Icefields

Wharton’s Icefields,
originally uploaded by ocean.flynn.

In a seamless blend of mountaineering, history, botany and fiction, Edmonton author Thomas Wharton revisits the shifting social and cultural events that took place on the edge of the Columbia icefields in the late 19th and early 20th century. In 1898 while on an expedition in the Columbia (Arcturus) glacier, doctor and amateur botanist Edward Bryne fell through a crevasse where he was held upside down in the icy grip of the narrowing walls of the chasm suspended in a liminal state between reality and dreams.

Using Adobe Photoshop I created this digitage inspired by descriptions and interpretations of the angel in Dr. Bryne’s icy vision. I layered images of ice taken at the Glenmore reservoir in Calgary, a Calypso orchid taken on Heart Mountain in June 2008 and my mother’s portrait from the early 1900s.

The Calypso orchid was elegantly selected as a character in the novel, as the origin of its name signifies concealment. It is a fragile plant with a wide, circumpolar distribution, that requires a highly specific ecosystem. Once it was an edible and medicinal plant for the First Nations who gathered plants in the Rockies but with increased traffic on what were once remote montaine trails, it is now an endangered species. At a certain height on Heart Mountain Trail when the scree became too difficult for me to manage, I was looking for an easier route a bit farther back from the steep edge of the trail when I came across a couple of these tiny purple orchids in a delicate floral embrace.

stoney, concealment, edible, circumpolar, ethnobotany, fairy slipper, Venus’s slipper, tagging, taxonomy, walkingtrails, wildflowersnorthamerica, wfgna, rockymountains, rockies, geotagging, geotagged, geotag, creativecommons, calgarydaytrips, alberta, CalypsoFairySlipper, Calypso.Bulbosa,


“bare, windswept slope of ice … projecting spine of ice … stepped backward into the abyss . . . (Wharton 1995 [2007:2]) . . . deep blue gloom p.3 . . . ”
“I prefer words on a page. They don’t gesticulate.”

“restless crowd with its panoply of cameras (Wharton 1995 [2007:274]).”

Wharton, Thomas. 1995 [2007]. Icefields. Nunatak Fiction. NeWest Press. Edmonton, AB.


1. The calypso orchid The Calypso bulbosa, Calypso orchid, Fairy’s slipper, Venus’s slipper or Plantae < Magnoliophyta < Liliopsida < Asparagales < Orchidaceae < Epidendroideae < Calypsoeae < Calypso < Salisb. < Calypso bulbosa

Nunatak is a word in Inuktitut meaning “lonely peak,” a rock or mountain rising above ice. During Quaternary glaciation in North America, peaks stood above the ice sheet and so became refuge for plant and animal life. Magnificent nunataks, their bases scoured by glaciers, can be seen along the Highwood Pass in the Alberta Rocky Mountains and on Ellesmere Island. The Nunatak fiction series are especially selected works of fiction by new western authors. Editors for Nunataks for NeWest Press are Aritha van Herk and Ruby Wiebe.

Sexsmith’s expedition is based on the 1859-1860 expedition undertaken by James Carnegie, Earl of Southesk.

Bibliography of research resources acknowledged by auhtor Thomas Wharton

Adassiz, Louis. 1967. Studies on Glaciers. Trans. Albert Carozzi. New York: Hafner.
Carnegie, James. 1875. Saskatchewan and the Rocky Mountains.
Gadd, Benn. 1987. Handbook of the Canadian Rockies, Jasper, Alberta: Corax.
Kagami, Yoshiro. 1951. “Edward Bryne: a Life on Ice.” Journal of Alpine Exploration. ii:6.
Stuffield, Hugh; Collie, J. Norman. 1903. Climbs and Explorations in the Canadian Rockies. London: Longmans, Green and Company.

Uploaded by ocean.flynn on 26 Aug 08, 3.16PM MDT.