Death-Devoted Heart
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Death-Devoted Heart : Sex and the Sacred in Wagner's Tristan and Isolde

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Description

A tale of forbidden love and inevitable death, the medieval legend of Tristan and Isolde recounts the story of two lovers unknowingly drinking a magic potion and ultimately dying in one another's arms. Critics have lauded Wagner's Tristan und Isolde for the originality and subtlety of the music, but have often viewed the drama as a "mere trifle," about Wagner's own forbidden affair with Matilde Wesendonk, the wife of a banker who supported him during his exile in Switzerland. In Death-Devoted Heart Scruton aims to vindicate the stature of the drama, presenting it as more than just a sublimation of the composer's love for Wesendonck or a wistful romantic dream. Scruton argues that Tristan und Isolde has profound religious meaning, as relevant today as it was to Wagner's contemporaries. Both philosophical and musicological, Scruton's analysis touches on the nature of tragedy, the significance of ritual sacrifice, and the meaning of redemption. Scruton provides a guide to the drama while offering insight into the nature of erotic love and the peculiar place of the erotic in our culture.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 246 pages
  • 142.24 x 213.36 x 22.86mm | 430.91g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 9 music examples
  • 0195166914
  • 9780195166910
  • 492,847

Review quote

...this is possibly the best book ever written about Tristan und Isolde from the dramatic as well as musical point of view. Scruton does not leave a historical stone unturned without dusting and exposing it to the sunlight of his extraordinary power of synthesis. And his musical analysis is phenomenal. * Eduardo Benarroch * ...a book of such comprehensive genius... * The Salisbury Review * This book is so astonishingly comprehensive that it reflects Wagner's own concept of theatrical creation as Gesamtkunstwerk, the complete work of art. * The Salisbury Review * This distinguished, characteristically contentious book sets a standard of Wagnerian commentary which it would be a great relief to see other writers attempting to follow. * Michael Tanner, The Spectator * If you're going to disagree with Nietzsche, Plato and Schopenhauer, you'd best have your own house in order. Roger Scruton certainly does. * Opera News * A study of the most important single composition in Western music... Scruton's examination is highly original and delves into aspects which have seldom been explored so rigorously. * Peter Porter, The Independent * A fascinating book, conveying his ideas so effectively he almost makes us hear the music ... Scruton is full of engaging subtleties written with his customary clarity and concision. * George Walden, The Sunday Telegraph * Death-Devoted Heart is a book on music, tragedy, love, sacrifice and redemption. It is partly a brilliant critical/theoretical study, partly a manifesto for a new religion. It's a rare case of a philosopher really telling you what it's all about. * Tom Lubbock, The Guardian Review *show more

About Roger Scruton

Roger Scruton is a well-known writer and philosopher and controversial journalist, and a former Professor of philosophy at Boston College. He's written more than 20 books on aesthetics, culture, and politics.show more

Table of contents

1. Wagner and Religion ; 2. The Story of Tristan ; 3. Wagner's Treatment of the Story ; 4. The Music of Tristan ; 5. The Philosophy of Love ; 6. Tragedy and Sacrifice ; 7. Love, Death, and Redemption ; Epilogue: From Death to Ritual ; Appendix: Table of Motives ; Notes ; Selected Bibliography ; Indexshow more

Review Text

"Death-Devoted Heart is a book on music, tragedy, love, sacrifice and redemption. It is partly a brilliant critical/theoretical study, partly a manifesto for a new religion. It's a rare case of a philosopher really telling you what it's all about." (Tom Lubbock, The Guardian Review)show more

Rating details

35 ratings
4.14 out of 5 stars
5 37% (13)
4 43% (15)
3 17% (6)
2 3% (1)
1 0% (0)
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