The Perfect Wagnerite by George Bernard Shaw

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Synopsis

G. B. Shaw (1856-1950) wrote "The Perfect Wagnerite" as a philosophical examination of Richard Wagner's epic four-opera cycle, "Der Ring des Nibelungen" ("The Ring of the Nibelung"). A tremendously accomplished dramatist himself, Shaw seemed perfectly poised to turn his critical eye on Wagner's 19th century masterpiece. Wagner completed "The Ring" in 1853, after decades of effort. A work of such ambition takes much unpacking, and so Shaw offers us his critique. In his preface, Shaw writes, "All I pretend to do in this book is to impart the ideas which are most likely to be lacking in the conventional Englishman's equipment… I venture to add my commentary to what has already been written by musicians who are no revolutionists, and revolutionists who are no musicians". And economic revolution is precisely what G. B. Shaw sees in this opera. Wagner wrote "The Ring" as a young political radical, steeped in the anarchist ideology of his day. Shaw views the opera as a critique of capitalism and industrial revolution. His Marxist reading is not surprising—he was a leading Socialist figure of his time, helping to propel the fledgling Fabian Society into public awareness. Shaw does a great deal here to further the "cult of Wagner" that remains strong today. Entertaining as it is compelling, "The Perfect Wagnerite" stands as a principle commentary on one of opera's most daring compositions.
 

About George Bernard Shaw

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Renowned literary genius George Bernard Shaw was born on July 26, 1856 in Dublin, Ireland. He later moved to London and educated himself at the British Museum while several of his novels were published in small socialist magazines. Shaw later became a music critic for the Star and for the World. He was a drama critic for the Saturday Review and later began to have some of his early plays produced. Shaw wrote the plays Man and Superman, Major Barbara, and Pygmalion, which was later adapted as My Fair Lady in both the musical and film form. He also transformed his works into screenplays for Saint Joan, How He Lied to Her Husband, Arms and the Man, Pygmalion, and Major Barbara. Shaw won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1925. George Bernard Shaw died on November 2, 1950 at Ayot St. Lawrence, Hertfordshire, England.
 
Published July 1, 2004 by Digireads.com. 88 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Humor & Entertainment, Literature & Fiction, Arts & Photography, History, Education & Reference, Business & Economics. Non-fiction

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