• Redemption from the Redeemer? Review Article on Roger Scruton and _Wagner's Parsifal_

    Jeremy Coleman (see profile)
    Music, Musicology, Aesthetics, Philosophy, Religion, Sex, Opera, Kant, Immanuel, 1724-1804
    Item Type:
    Richard Wagner, redemption, Sexuality, Immanuel Kant
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    Wagner’s Parsifal has the curious honour of being the subject of the final book by Roger Scruton, philosopher, composer, novelist, doyen of English conservatism and one of the most prolific public intellectuals in the UK of the last fifty years, who died in January 2020. Not long before, Scruton sent his publisher, Allen Lane, the manuscript of Wagner’s ‘Parsifal’: The Music of Redemption, which appeared in May 2020. That Wagner’s music dramas occupied a significant niche within Scruton’s thought was already evident from two previous books: The Ring of Truth: The Wisdom of Wagner’s ‘Ring of the Nibelung’ (Allen Lane: London, 2016); and Death-Devoted Heart: Sex and the Sacred in Wagner’s ‘Tristan und Isolde’ (Oxford University Press: Oxford, 2004). But precisely what these works meant to him remains as enigmatic as the music drama that is the subject of his final book. The present review article focuses on WP but with reference to RT and DDH for comparison and context, and aims to consider the following questions in a critical, nonpolemical vein: What lay behind Scruton’s long-term love of Wagner? Can his philosophical engagement with Wagner’s works be understood as a single, coherent project? What is the legacy of his Wagner criticism? And how might we come to terms with it today?
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    Book review    
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    3 years ago
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