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Wagner and the French Muse: Music, Society, and Nation in Modern France

Author: 
du Quenoy, Paul
Credentials: 
Paul du Quenoy, Ph.D, Georgetown University; AUB

This research monograph studies and reinterprets the works and ideas of Richard Wagner that have had such a profound influence on the artistic and intellectual life of France. His Romanticism influenced the French symbolists so greatly that they named their major journal La Revue Wagnerians. His musical themes, dramatic structures and philosophical tropes recurred in the works of almost every major French composer before World war One. Massenet was so devoted that he earned the sobriquet "Madamoiselle Wagner". Proust employed Wagnerian concepts and allusions in his modernist fiction and publicly defended Wagner's artistic achievements against the general assault on German kultur during the 1914-1918 war. Wagner remained important during the interwar years as well as the occupation 1940-1944 and after the Liberation.

Du Quenoy interprets the phenomenon of France's infatuation with Wagner and discusses why Wagner's influence has been misunderstood and understudied. The author points to the effects of competition, war and political recrimination on the French psyche. In the face of such bitter struggle who would expect a German cultural icon to have played such an important and consistent role in French life? The author points to the strength and uniqueness of Wagner's creativity and his spiritual universalism as the answer. The author also discusses Wagnerism and Wagnerites in France’s literary, musical and political culture.

Market: 
Music history 19th-20th c, French history and culture: Modernism 19th -20th c,Wagner
Release Date: 
4/2006
ISBN: 
Cloth: 9781930901803 / 1-930901-80-1
Price: 
$79.95
Trim Size: 
6x9
Pages: 
264
Index: 
Yes
Bibliography: 
Yes
Illustrations: 
Yes
CIP: 
Yes
Publisher: 

ACADEMICA PRESS
1727 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Suite 507
Washington, DC 20036