General Discussion about Wagner and The Ring of the Nibelung

Moderators: Justin Jeffrey, alberich00


Postby alberich00 » Wed Apr 19, 2017 2:35 pm


Dear members of, and visitors to, the discussion forum at

I’ve never attempted to make a crowdfunding appeal before, but now I’m forced to reach out for donations to you, my fellow Wagnerians, who respect or admire my achievement in authoring the only fully comprehensive and conceptually coherent study of Wagner’s "Ring," because I’ve recently fallen, through no fault of my own, into financial straits. Due to a combination of long-term sacrifices made over the 38 years it took me to complete my study of Wagner’s "Ring" (1971-2009), posted here at, and to recent wholly unexpected medical and car repair bills, I’m now at risk of going into the red and having to take out my social security prematurely (prior to winter of 2019), with penalties, or having to withdraw money (again with penalties) from modest investments upon which I draw a miniscule monthly income of less than $700. Along with my Maryland State Pension of somewhat less than $300 per month, I’ve been living on around 12k annually since my mother passed away in January of 2014, and have only been able to survive thanks to paying a nominal rent of 6k annually for a room in the home of my companion, which leaves me somewhat less than 6k for all other expenses annually.

Because I haven’t been able to afford health insurance since I last worked for the State of Maryland in 1994 (all medical bills are therefore out-of-pocket), I’d hoped that by virtue of exercise, good eating habits, good health maintenance habits, refraining from drugs, alcohol, and smoking, and having minimal expenses and living modestly, I could hold onto my liquid savings until I can withdraw my social security (which, it’s hoped, will double my monthly income) in winter of 2019. But to my dismay, I developed double vision unexpectedly in early spring of 2017. My eye doctor, having found more than one nerve implicated in my problem, feared I might be suffering from a brain tumor, and arranged for me to have an mri at our local Emergency Room. In the event, it turned out my brain is fine: I’ve dodged a potentially fatal bullet (to put this in context, I'm now 64, my father died of an aneurysm at age 59, and my older brother died of an embolism at age 62). However, though I’d managed up till now to hang on to about 9k in liquid savings for emergencies and car repairs, my doctor’s bill, ER bill and associated medical bills will leave me only about 2k in liquid savings. Since I'm currently forced to spend more money per year for basic expenses than my small fixed income provides (I'd been supplementing it with my savings, which are now depleted), any further bills of significance prior to the winter of 2019 will plunge me into the red, with disastrous consequences. My only means of transportation, a 1987 Nissan pickup truck, is nearly 20 years old and will soon require new tires and break pads. So there it is, my friends!

Since I’ve literally no private resources the only thing I can offer you, my sympathetic donor, is my eternal thanks and, unless you wish to remain anonymous, a place of honor either in the acknowledgments section of my forthcoming book on Wagner’s "Ring," "The Wound That Will Never Heal" (assuming it’s published), or, if it isn’t published, in the acknowledgments section of my online "Ring" book posted here at I’ve just completed my second revision of my online "Ring" book, and, after a final review of my identification of musical motifs in the context of the "Ring" libretto I’ve employed in my book, expect to complete a final revision by sometime in early fall of 2017, and then to submit it to publishers. That done, I will set to work to complete Volume II of my book, which will demonstrate the conceptual coherence of Wagner’s other canonical operas and music-dramas with my allegorical interpretation of Wagner’s "Ring." These interpretations are complete: I simply have to work up my notes into intelligible prose.

In the interests of full disclosure, and by way of justifying my appeal for financial aid, I’m providing below an explanation of what I take to be the key general contributions of my online "Ring" book to Wagner studies (there are hundreds of specific contributions), and a detailed account of how the sacrifices I made in order to disclose many of the Ring’s deepest secrets impacted my current financial crisis:

1. My "Ring" book is the first truly comprehensive conceptual interpretation of the entire "Ring" libretto, which demonstrates its conceptual and dramatic unity. Unlike all rivals in "Ring" interpretation, I've neither omitted portions of the text I couldn't fit within my interpretation, nor cherry-picked those which I could incorporate within it, but set myself the far more difficult task of interpreting it as a whole, in its entirety, and only proposing an interpretation which makes sense of it in its entirety. It was only thanks to this thorough method that I was able to discern the Ring's previously hidden allegorical logic. Sir Roger Scruton, though expressing some doubts about my allegorical approach to interpretation in his recent book "The Ring of Truth," stated in it that my allegorical interpretation is "more plausible" than that of George Bernard Shaw, whose interpretation of the "Ring" has consistently been the most popular and influential.

2. My "Ring" book is the only interpretation which thoroughly assesses the relationship of Wagner's musical motifs to the meaning of his entire libretto.

3. My "Ring" book contains by far the most complete assessment of the significance of Wagner's writings and recorded remarks for our understanding of the allegorical logic of his "Ring" and Wagner's other canonical operas and music-dramas.

4. My "Ring" book is by far the most thorough treatment of the influence of Ludwig Feuerbach on Wagner in authoring and composing his "Ring." Barry Millington has recently drawn attention to this particular virtue of my study.

5. My "Ring" book provides an unprecedented entre into the allegorical logic of Wagner's other canonical operas and music-dramas, which can now be understood to have an almost systematic conceptual relationship to the "Ring," which can be construed as their master-myth, or master blueprint. This is something which has always been implicit in Wagner's tendency to hint at deep underlying relationships between the characters of his distinct operas and music-dramas.

6. My "Ring" interpretation is by far the most fully vetted in light of the documentary evidence, but is at the same time the most original interpretation yet proposed. It's this unexpected confluence of factors which gives it its unique force.

7. My "Ring" interpretation is not self-evident (had it been it would have been discerned long ago by others) because, like the Ring's music, it operates subliminally, unconsciously, and therefore I had to unearth it through a deep reading of, and cross-referencing between, all the documentary evidence. It was only by virtue of an unprecedentedly deep reading of Wagner's employment of musical motifs in relation to his libretto that the Ring's conceptual superstructure came to light, and I was able to explicate it. My interpretation has been fully corroborated by the other documentary evidence from Wagner's writings and recorded remarks, and Ludwig Feuerbach's writings.

For those who desire a more detailed account of how my employment/salary history relates to the years I worked out my interpretation of Wagner’s "Ring" and his other canonical operas and music-dramas, you’ll find below the complete record of my social security earnings by year. It’s important to understand that most of the gaps in my employment were devoted to working 50-60 hours per week uncompensated on my Wagner project, and even my employment choices were a direct consequence of my need to avoid more highly responsible and more well compensated work which would have required more than the usual 40 hours, since I needed evenings and weekends to work on my Wagner project. From 2009 until 2011 I couldn't find employment (even with my former employer, the State of Maryland) due to the recession and perhaps age discrimination, and from the first fourth of 2012 until 2014 I couldn’t work because I was taking care of my elderly mother in our home until her passing on 1/14/2014. Since moving to Florida in 7/2014 I've devoted myself full time to my Wagner project and I've never been compensated for authoring my book, but probably lost 200k+ in income during the years I went without paid employment to work on my "Ring" book full-time without compensation. My primary employment included a stint as a night-time security guard at a wildlife preserve from 1976 until 1977, work at a Public Library from 1979 until 1981, work as a Juvenile Probation Officer for the State of Maryland from 1982 until 1994 (with a leave of absence to work on my book from 1990-1992), work as an Executive Recruiter for a financial services headhunting firm from 1997-2001, and work as a night-time security guard for an agency from 2004 until 2008:

1971 $832
1972 0
1973 $452
1974 $148
1975 $77
1976 $1,650
1977 $2,213
1978 0
1979 $3,519
1980 $6,704
1981 $7,388
1982 $9,948
1983 $13,653
1984 $15,866
1985 $18,218
1986 $21,709
1987 $23,488
1988 $27,610
1989 $29,110
1990 $2,299
1991 $287
1992 $31,578
1993 $31,238
1994 $29,530
1995 0
1996 0
1997 $20,888
1998 $36,860
1999 $45,303
2000 $38,705
2001 $21.912
2002 0
2003 $200
2004 $9,007
2005 $13,345
2006 $5,291
2007 0
2008 $8,472
2009 0
2010 $100
2011 $2,804
2012 $2,710
2013 0
2014 0
2015 0
2016 0
2017 0

I thank you for sympathetically considering the history of my Wagner project, and thank you in advance for any financial aid you can offer.

I, Paul Brian Heise, can be reached at, or at
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