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    Conditional Nationalism: A Study of the Nationalistic Ideology of Richard Wagner with Specific Reference to his Music-Drama Die Meistersinger Von Nuremberg

    Johnson, Niall (2019) Conditional Nationalism: A Study of the Nationalistic Ideology of Richard Wagner with Specific Reference to his Music-Drama Die Meistersinger Von Nuremberg. Masters thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.

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    The nationalism of Richard Wagner has been a hotly contested matter in the popular and academic spheres since even his own lifetime. While it is generally agreed upon that Wagner’s work celebrates German nationalism and identity to some degree, a debate rages on under the banner of this discussion, straying into interpretations of his works as antisemitic, white supremacist, or simply chauvinist and bombastic. Surprisingly, few studies have yet examined the nationalism of Richard Wagner beginning with the man himself, and instead, begin the study at whichever opera or piece of prose is deemed as meriting discussion. This thesis instead looks to the personal experiences of Richard Wagner as the primary influencing elements in what we will show to be an ever-evolving and malleable ideology, informed by the composer’s successes and failures as much as traditional nationalist philosophy, and events on the European stage. We have found that Wagner’s nationalism is therefore not nearly as stalwart and unwavering as previously thought; his love of Germany is a precarious and volatile phenomenon apt to change at moments notice when confronted by disappointment, apparent disrespect, or if there is a financial gain to be made. This conditional nationalism peaks ideologically with the production of his music-drama Die Meistersinger von Nuremberg. Completed as the unification of the German Empire was looming, the Die Meistersinger artistically compiles Wagner’s nationalistic journey from the previous twenty years of his life, and acts as yet another example of Wagner’s manufacturing of nationalism for political or personal gain. The widespread popular success of the opera did not, however, afford Wagner a place of pride in the new regime, and despite repeated mercenary attempts to use the new Empire as a staging ground for his artistic utopia, it was not to be. By the end of his life, Wagner had sunk entirely into the characteristic bitterness which had defined his nationalist journey. He railed against the German establishment, and even the German people. It is our contention, therefore, that Wagner’s nationalism was transactional and conditional throughout his life, and merits further study concerning his other operas through the lens of personal experience. !

    Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
    Keywords: Conditional Nationalism; Study; Nationalistic Ideology; Richard Wagner; Music-Drama; Die Meistersinger Von Nuremberg;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Arts & Humanities > History
    Item ID: 13643
    Depositing User: IR eTheses
    Date Deposited: 20 Nov 2020 10:15
      Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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