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Wagner's Parsifal$
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William Kinderman

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780195366921

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195366921.001.0001

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Parsifal as Art and Ideology

Parsifal as Art and Ideology

Chapter:
(p.2) (p.3) Prelude Parsifal as Art and Ideology
Source:
Wagner's Parsifal
Author(s):

William Kinderman

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195366921.003.0001

Wagner’s lifelong preoccupation with the legends of the Holy Grail culminated in his controversial last work Parsifal, a “stage dedication festival play” which during the fifty years after his death became a ceremonial centerpiece of proto-Nazi ideology at Bayreuth, though elsewhere it was regarded quite differently. Chamberlain and Lorenz among others sought to connect Wagner’s Parsifal to Hitler’s ascent. Fresh research shows that the connections between the Bayreuth Circle and Hitler were even closer than has been previously recognized. Nevertheless, study of the genesis of Parsifal and of the international aspects of its reception indicates to what extent the first half-century of German reception can be regarded as a distortion, as some German observers like Thomas Mann recognized at the time. The theme of redemption lends itself to ideological reinterpretation in a political context.

Keywords:   Bayreuth Circle, Houston Stewart Chamberlain, Adolf Hitler, Stage dedication festival play, Religion, Alfred Lorenz, Thomas Mann, Ceremony, Enlightenment, Collective identity

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