Wills, Bernard (2010) The Case Of Nietzsche: A Wagnerian Riposte. Animus, 14. pp. 30-42. ISSN 1209-0689
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In the Birth of Tragedy Friedrich Nietzsche hails Wagner and especially his opera Tristan and Isolde as the harbinger of a Dionysian rebirth in German music. It is notorious, however, that in later works such as The Case of Wagner and Contra Wagner Nietzsche turned against Wagner as an arch-ascetic whose late opera Parsifal represents a reversion to Christianity and its life denying spirit. This paper argues that Nietzsche's polemic is on the whole a distorted picture of Wagner and of Parisfal especially. Nonetheless, it concedes that however wayward some of Nietzsche's specific criticisms might be, there is a genuine criticism contained in his polemic. Nietzsche is correct to sense a liberal Christian humanism at work in Parisfal that is, from his standpoint, unacceptable.
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