Feuerbach's influence on "Parsifal" Part 2

General Discussion about Wagner and The Ring of the Nibelung

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Feuerbach's influence on "Parsifal" Part 2

Postby alberich00 » Wed Jun 17, 2015 8:01 am

Feuerbach's influence on "Parsifal" Part 2:

[Page 11]

nature.” [#65F-EOC: p. 63]

“[P. 291] Fortunately, despite his servitude to theology, Luther found, outside of religion or theology, antidotes to the power of sin, hell, the devil or, what amounts to the same thing, the divine wrath. In a Latin letter to L. Senfel he writes that music, too, gives man what otherwise only theology can bestow, namely, a tranquil and serene mind, that the Devil, the author of all cares and emotional disturbances, takes flight at the sound of music as he does at the word of theology.” [#321F-LER: p. 291]

Note that Feuerbach suggests in passage (2C) above that, though science may contradict religious belief when it stakes a false claim to the truth in some particular instance (such as Christian theologians’ claim that the earth is the center of the universe, or that the human species was created by a direct act of divine will, rather than through evolution of species), science can never take away from us our claim that we feel what we feel. Art, and music in particular, can make us feel as if we transcend the real world, without actually claiming that we have done so in actuality. Wagner echoes this in the extract below:

(2D) [WAGNER] “[P. 34] Men of science persuade us that Copernicus reduced the ancient Church-belief to ruins with his planetary system, since it robbed God Almighty of his heavenly seat. (...) The god within the human breast, of whose transcendent being our great Mystics were so certain sure, that god who needs no heavenly-home demonstrable by science, has given the parsons more ado. ... but our Professors [i.e., scientists] have done him many a harm ... . Yet this approachless god of ours had begotten much within us, and when at last he had to vanish, he left us – in eternal memory of him – Music.” [#999W-{12/25/79} "Introduction to the Year 1880": PW Vol. VI, p. 34]

Those who were present at – or have read my elaboration of – my previous lecture to the Society [i.e. Boston Wagner Society] entitled ‘How Elsa Showed Wagner The Way To Siegfried,’ will recall the key thesis that Bruennhilde is Wagner’s metaphor for music and Siegfried in turn Wagner’s metaphor for the dramatic poet who embraces music to produce the Wagnerian music-drama. I first began to develop the thesis that Siegfried is Wagner’s metaphor for himself, the music-dramatist, and Bruennhilde Siegfried’s unconscious mind, his muse of inspiration, and that their union produces the music-drama, in college papers from the mid-and-late 70’s, and first copyrighted this concept (Library of Congress) in a paper from 1981 entitled ‘In Dedication to Claude Levi-Strauss.’ In a much larger, similarly copyrighted paper from 11/83 entitled ‘The Doctrine of the Ring’ I elaborated this concept and attempted to demonstrate how it runs through all of Wagner’s mature music- dramas. I subsequently learned that Dr. Jean-Jacques Nattiez has independently expounded a similar concept, that Siegfried is Wagner’s metaphor for the poet-dramatist, and Bruennhilde his metaphor for music (their union producing the music-drama). Dr. Nattiez produced an important book entitled Wagner Androgyne (1990 original French [Page12] edition, 1993 English translation by Princeton Univ. Press) which traced this metaphor’s various incarnations in both Wagner’s mature music-dramas, and in his theoretical prose works.

Though Wagner repeatedly appeals to the sexual gender metaphor that the poet-dramatist is the man, and music the woman, in ‘Opera and Drama’ and elsewhere in his writings, the most unambiguous evidence that he identified this metaphor with the loving relationship of Siegfried with Bruennhilde comes from the following comment in Cosima’s Diaries:

“[P. 128] We speak also about my last conversation with Herr Levi. He does not seem to fully understand ‘Parsifal,’ and I tell him that R.’s article theoretically bears almost the same relationship to the poem as his words on music (the loving woman) and on drama (the man) in ‘Opera and Drama’ bear to Bruennhilde and Siegfried.” [#933W-{8/2/78} CD Vol. II, p. 128]

One important implication of this elaborate poetic metaphor is that when Wotan leaves Bruennhilde asleep on her mountaintop, to await Siegfried’s waking kiss, and then becomes a Wanderer who no longer interferes in the world, but only observes it, this is an allegorical representation of Wagner’s comment above that, when our God (i.e., belief in God) had to leave us due to the victory of modern, scientific, secular thought, he left us the divine art of music as a substitute for lost faith. It is in this sense that the artist-hero Siegfried falls heir to Wotan’s (religion’s) legacy by waking and winning the love of Bruennhilde. What Siegfried wins is unconscious artistic inspiration by his muse, music.

In the following extracts Wagner further develops his Feuerbach-inspired argument that religious man’s longing for transcendence of the real world lives on in music. Here Wagner not only identifies modern music with a purer Christianity purged of dogma and specific beliefs, but adds that music can only serve this purpose if it severs itself from the established church, i.e., conventional belief in God:

“[P. 223] ... the music of the Church was sung to the words of the abstract dogma; in its effect however, it dissolved those words and the ideas they fixed, to the point of their vanishing out of sight; and hence it rendered nothing to the enraptured Feeling save their pure emotional content. Speaking strictly, the only art that fully corresponds with the Christian belief is Music ... .
(...) ... we must recognize that Music reveals the inmost essence of the Christian religion with definition unapproached ... . (...) ... she stops all strife between reason and feeling ... .
(...) Only her final severance from the decaying Church could enable the art of Tone to save the noblest heritage of the Christian idea in its purity of over-worldly reformation ... .” [#1026W-{6-8/80} "Religion and Art": PW Vol. VI, p. 223-224]

[Page 13]

We are reminded of Wotan’s need for a hero (and heroine, Bruennhilde) who will free himself from Wotan’s influence, yet serve Wotan’s longing for redemption from Alberich’s curse on the Ring unconsciously.

And in the following passage Wagner describes music as providing what faith in Christ promises, a restoration of lost paradise, i.e., lost innocence:

“[P. 148] From the earth gushes sweet juice; with this, longing refreshes itself until it has imbibed fresh love of life: then the juice runs dry; rice sprouts forth unsown, satiety to abundance; then it comes to an end. Now one has to do one’s own planting, ploughing and sowing. Life’s torment begins: Paradise is lost. The music of the brahman world recalls it to the memory ... .” [#738W-{5/68} BB, p. 148]

Again, this serves to remind us that Siegfried remains, effectively, an innocent child, freed from Wotan’s fall from grace, free from (consciousness of) Wotan’s guilt, and seemingly freed also from Alberich’s curse on the Ring.

In our final version of Wagner’s thesis that art, and his art in particular, is heir to man’s religious longing for transcendence, Wagner proposes that his music-dramas offer a substitute for Jesus’ promise of redemption in a supernatural paradise. Wagner suggests that though his art remains firmly within the real world, it lifts us above this world through play:

(2E) [WAGNER] “[P. 33] ... I ... point my highly-loved young friend [King Ludwig II] to Art, as the kindly Life-saviour who does not really and wholly lead us out beyond this life, but, within it, lifts us up above it and shows it as itself a game of play ... .” [#708W-{64-2/65} On State and Religion: PW Vol. IV, p. 33-34]

Cosima records a similar remark by Wagner:

“[P. 470] He [i.e. Richard] says there are certain things human beings have been able to express only in symbols, and the church has committed the crime of consolidating these and forcing them on us as realities through persecution; it is permissible for art to use these symbols, but in a free spirit and not in the rigid forms imposed by the church; since art is a profound form of play, it frees these symbols of all the accretions the human craving for power has attached to them.” [#1012W-{4/27/80} CD Vol. II, p. 470]

We will find this concept, that art as a substitute for lost religious faith is a “profound form of play,” invaluable in our quest to answer our six key questions about the meaning of Parsifal.

[Page 14]


Among many other similarities, there is one characteristic which Siegfried and Parsifal share which stands out with peculiar force: they are both ignorant of their true identity. When Gurnemanz asks Parsifal his name, Parsifal answers: “I had many, but I no longer know them,” echoing Siegfried’s remark to Fafner that “... I still don’t know who I am ... .” While Parsifal’s response is obviously inspired by the Buddhist notion that he has been reincarnated multiple times but has forgotten all his former identities, it is not as widely known that Wagner himself described Siegfried to King Ludwig II as Wotan reborn:

“[P. 626] ... Wotan ... calls out to the earth’s primeval wisdom, to Erda, the mother of nature, who had once taught him to fear for his end, telling her that dismay can no longer hold him in thrall since he now wills his own end with that selfsame will with which he had once desired to live. His end? He knows what Erda’s primeval wisdom [P. 627] does not know: that he lives on in Siegfried. Wotan lives on in Siegfried as the artist lives on in his work of art: the freer and the more autonomous the latter’s spontaneous existence and the less trace it bears of the creative artist – so that through it (the work of art), the artist himself is forgotten, -- the more perfectly satisfied does the artist himself feel ... .” [#693W-{11/6/64} Letter to King Ludwig II of Bavaria: SLRW, p. 626-627]

What makes this even more interesting is that, while these two heroes are not conscious of their true identity, the heroines Bruennhilde and Kundry are aware of the true identities of Siegfried and Parsifal, respectively. In Parsifal Act One and Act Two Kundry not only recounts Parsifal’s personal history, much of which Parsifal seems either not to know, or to have forgotten, but she names him “Parsifal” in Act Two. In response, Parsifal tells her: “Parsifal? Once my mother called me that in a dream? (...) Have I dreamt all this? Did you call me who have no name?” Similarly, Bruennhilde tells Siegfried in Siegfried Act Three: “Your own self am I, if you but love me in my bliss. What you don’t know I know for you... .” In a certain sense, then, the heroine-muse – i.e., the hero’s unconscious mind - keeps the secret of the hero’s true identity, keeping even the hero himself unconscious of it, so that the hero does not know who he is but the heroine does.

From the Buddhist viewpoint, it can be said that she possesses knowledge – which the hero has forgotten – of his prior incarnations. Curiously, when planning a specifically Buddhist opera entitled "The Victors," which Wagner never completed, but much of whose ideas were incorporated into "Parsifal," Wagner proposed that the Buddha is conscious of all the protagonists’ prior incarnations, which they have forgotten. Wagner also proposed that his musical motifs would be especially effective in this music-drama concerning Buddhist reincarnation, since musical motifs of foreboding or [Page 15] reminiscence could call to mind protagonists’ prior incarnations, making them ever present to the audience, though not to the protagonists:

“[P. 528] I was influenced to choose it ... by its peculiar aptness for the musical procedures that I have since developed. To the mind of the Buddha, the previous lives in former incarnations of every being appearing before him stand revealed as clearly as the present. The simple story owed its significance to the way that the past life of the suffering principal characters was entwined in the new phase of their lives [P. 529] as being still present time. I perceived at once how the musical remembrance of this dual life, keeping the past constantly present in the hearing, might be represented perfectly to the emotional receptivities, and this decided me to keep the prospect of working out this task before me as a labor of especial love.” [#640W-{5/16/56?} ML, p. 528-529]

Of course, Wagner finally achieved this in "Parsifal."

Wagner linked reincarnation - and therefore his concept of the “Wonder,” i.e., his musical motifs’ capacity to transport all the past and future to the present, and relocate all which can be found in the furthest reaches of space to the spot where we now stand - with his Feuerbachian assumption that God and Nature, spirit and matter, are ultimately one. And these three ideas in turn Wagner conceived in light of his idiosyncratic version of Lobachevsky’s theory of parallels, according to Cosima’s testimony:

“[P. 426] Regarding poets, he says a poet is a visionary, and he tells me how Herwegh always needed a framework for his thoughts: ‘He grew lazy and, like all idle people, sought refuge in science, dissecting frogs. I wanted to get him producing again and suggested the subject of reincarnation, 9 cantos, three figures with 3 cantos for each, the same type recurring at different times – what I mean by God, who runs parallel with Nature up to the point where the parallels meet.” [#1005W-{1/15/80} CD Vol. II, p. 426]

It is intriguing that Wagner, in conceiving of his musical motifs as a “Wonder” which produces in us a feeling of the miraculous, a feeling that we have transcended the limits of a Newtonian universe of laws framed by time, space, and causality, employs images like Gurnemanz’s “Time here changes into space”, and the related concept of parallel lines merging outside of time and space, which seem a poetic foreshadowing of Einstein's theory of relativity and the non-Euclidean geometry so central to it. Wagner developed a theory of “Feeling” according to which “expression” in music distorts our normal perspective on time, space, and causality. He even suggested – presciently, if rather simplistically – that science ultimately can’t get at the essence of nature with its straight lines, but art – or feeling – takes its wavy lines from nature:

[Page 16]

[P. 747] “Then he comes to the subject of the firmament, how curious our understanding of its nature. (...) ‘... What a stiff beggar a human being is, when he can think of nothing better than straight lines to get at the secrets of Nature, whereas Nature itself has none, until the artist comes along and takes his wavy lines from nature.’ “ [#1104W-{11/14/81} CD Vol. II, p. 747]

Wagner explained in a letter to Mathilde Wesendonck – in which he imagined the reincarnation of Lohengrin and Elsa as Ananda and Savitri (respectively) from "The Victors," his never completed Buddhist opera - that all of our separate existences as individual humans come together as one outside of space and time through reincarnation, until all attain redemption:

“[P. 499] "Lohengrin" affected me very deeply yesterday, and I cannot help thinking it the most tragic of all poems, since reconciliation is really to be found only if one casts a terribly wide-ranging glance at the world. Only a profound acceptance of the doctrine of metempsychosis [reincarnation] has been able to console me by revealing the point at which all things finally converge at the same level of redemption, after the various individual existences – which run alongside each other in time – have come together in a meaningful way outside time. According to the beautiful Buddhist doctrine, the spotless purity of Lohengrin is easily explicable in terms of his being the continuation of Parzival – who was the first to strive towards purity. Elsa, similarly, would reach the level of Lohengrin through being reborn. Thus my plan for the ‘Victors’ struck me as being the concluding section of "Lohengrin." Here ‘Savitri’ (Elsa) entirely reaches the level of ‘Ananda’. In this way, all the terrible Tragedy of life would be attributable to our dislocation in time and space: but since time and space are merely our way of perceiving things [referencing here Schopenhauer’s Kantian concept of the ideality of space and time], but otherwise have no reality, even the greatest tragic pain must be explicable to those who are truly clear-sighted as no more than an individual error .... (...) Time and space – which, after all, bring nothing but torment and distress – then disappear for me!” [#676W-{8/60} Letter to Mathilde Wesendonck: SLRW, p. 499]

In my prior talk ‘How Elsa Showed Wagner the Way to Siegfried’ I explained how, by confessing to his unconscious mind Bruennhilde the whole history of causal relations which have trapped Wotan, and confessing to her also all that Wotan loathes about his own true self, Wotan was able to repress this hoard of conscious knowledge, his whole tortuous history and guilty sense of his abhorrent identity, and sublimate it, thereby transforming himself into his heir and reincarnate spirit, the free hero he longed for, Siegfried. Wotan is quite literally reborn in Siegfried, as man’s religious longing for [Page 17] transcendence is reborn, according to Wagner, in inspired secular art. Siegfried is a hero, and freed from Wotan’s foresight and fear of the end (“das Ende”) which Erda foretold, precisely because, unlike Wotan, he does not know who he is. Siegfried is protected from dangerous self-knowledge, and from Wotan’s fear, by Bruennhilde, who holds this knowledge for Siegfried and protects him from it. Bruennhilde – as the muse, i.e., as music, the language of the unconscious mind - is in this sense what Feuerbach called God’s [Wotan’s] safest refuge.

Since Siegfried is Wagner’s metaphor for the artist-hero, the music-dramatist, and Wotan a metaphor for mankind’s religious heritage to which Siegfried (Wagner) has fallen heir, one can see that in inheriting Bruennhilde from Wotan Siegfried not only inherits the distillate of religious faith, divine music (Feuerbach’s “Feeling”), but also inherits an unconscious hoard of knowledge of all that Wotan confessed to Bruennhilde and repressed into his unconscious mind. It is for this reason that Siegfried feels fear only when preparing to wake Bruennhilde, since this threatens to restore to him the memory of his true identity as Wotan, and therefore to restore Wotan’s fear. Similarly, Parsifal is temporarily overcome with fear after hearing his name spoken by Kundry: “Never have I seen or dreamed what I now behold – And it fills me with dread.” This background knowledge is crucial to grasping the following matching pairs of extracts from Feuerbach and Wagner.

Brahma is the creator god in Hindu mythology. Feuerbach is therefore suggesting in the extract below that it was only through Maya, i.e. self-deception (or Wahn, illusion, as Sachs described the essence of inspired art and also human folly in "The Mastersingers of Nuremberg"), that Brahma, who could foresee all things he would create, gained the courage to artistically create the world, since the veil of Maya effectively took away his foreknowledge of the world’s evil, so that he could freely, fearlessly create it:

(3A) [FEUERBACH] “[P. 250] ... Maya [illusion, or Wahn] once drove away the melancholy of the ancient Brahma so that a depressed person was changed into a creator of the world.” [#38F-TDI: p. 250]

In the following extract Wagner links the myth of Prometheus (whose name, translated from the Greek, means foresight or foreknowledge), which Wagner called “the most pregnant of tragedies” [#402W-{6-8/49} Art and Revolution: PW Vol. I, p. 34], with Feuerbach’s thesis that Brahma, the Hindu creator-God, cannot create freely and fearlessly unless the veil of Maya deludes him:

(3B) [WAGNER] “[P. 435] ... R. says to me, ‘Prometheus’s words ‘I took [P. 436] knowledge away from Man’ came to my mind and gave me a profound insight; knowledge, seeing ahead is in fact a divine attribute, and Man with this divine attribute is a piteous object, he is like Brahma before the Maya spread before him the veil of ignorance, of deception; the divine privilege is the saddest thing of all.” [#809W-{11/29/71} CD Vol. I, p. 435-436]

[Page 18]

If we reference the original text of the Greek tragedy attributed to Aeschylus, "Prometheus Bound," we find that the knowledge Prometheus took away from man, i.e., protected man from, was foresight of man’s inevitable death:

“Prometheus: Through me mankind ceased to foresee death.
Leader: What remedy could heal that sad disease?
Prometheus: Blind hopes I made to dwell in them.
Leader: O merciful boon to mortals!”

It is of uncommon interest that according to Wagner’s own formulation above, Prometheus (i.e., foresight) not only granted man divine foreknowledge, but also took it away from man. Metaphorically speaking, Prometheus (the human mind itself) grants man the unique privilege and curse of being able to foresee, and meditate on, man’s inevitable death (which provides man the huge advantage of foresight, but also the curse of existential fear and angst), but also evidently inspires man to create defense mechanisms against the ever-present thought of his mortality. Such would be religious faith in the hereafter, and perhaps art, which allows us to forget our mortality by bathing in the feeling of the moment, a seemingly all-embracing feeling which grants us the closest equivalent we can have to immortality within the real world. Similarly, we will find that Kundry both delivers, and offers to heal, Amfortas’s unhealing wound.

It may well be that Wagner described the Prometheus tale (known to him through a German translation of "Prometheus Bound," the first part of a Greek dramatic trilogy generally attributed to Aeschylus) as the most pregnant of tragedies because Prometheus, after granting mortal man the divine gift of foreknowledge (and thus sentencing man to what Feuerbach describes as a sort of existential fear known only to man), suffered Zeus’s divine wrath (as Bruennhilde suffers Wotan’s divine wrath for a similar crime). The punishment Prometheus suffers at Zeus’s hands is, tellingly, being bound to a mountaintop to face the elements without protection, where Prometheus suffers an unhealing wound picked at continuously by vultures. Prometheus’s unhealing wound is a metaphor, of course, for the gift of divine foresight, i.e., the human gift of reflective thought which allows man, alone among animals, to contemplate his inevitable end. The existential fear and anxiety this engenders is, of course, also the muse which has inspired all human societies to invent religions of consolation, as man’s veil of Maya which grants man temporary healing of this wound of consciousness. As Wagner himself noted on several occasions, not only Amfortas, but Tristan also, suffer unhealing wounds. And of course Wotan’s suffering under the threat of Alberich’s curse on the ring, especially as expounded by Erda in her prophecy of the Gods’ inevitable doom, is in effect an unhealing wound, which Bruennhilde is able to assuage temporarily by becoming a repository for Wotan’s confession. By serving as Wotan’s unconscious mind Bruennhilde is able to keep Wotan’s unspoken secret a secret even from him, so that, in his reincarnate form Siegfried, he ceases to foresee the doom Erda had predicted, loses consciousness of his true identity (dangerous self-knowledge), and can fearlessly enter into that loving union with his muse which produces the Wagnerian artwork of the future.

[Page 19]

It is noteworthy that Wotan, who suffers paralysis stemming from his fearful foreknowledge of the abysmal, and inevitable, twilight of the gods which Erda predicted, describes his condition to Bruennhilde in the following way: “The saddest am I of all living things,” obviously echoing Wagner’s comment above about the price man pays for divine foreknowledge. And Wotan makes this declaration of his desperation just prior to making his confession to Bruennhilde, that confession through which he can be reborn as Siegfried. Bruennhilde, in other words, by holding for him his fatal hoard of knowledge of the bitter truth, frees Wotan from the despair embodied in his confession that: “To my loathing I find only ever my self in all that I encompass. That other self for which I yearn, that other self I never see ... .” Through his confession to Bruennhilde Wotan becomes his other self Siegfried, protected now by the veil of Maya, or Wahn, the magical protection from abhorrent self-knowledge which Bruennhilde’s love provides Siegfried.

I believe that Parsifal’s ignorance of his true identity has an identical explanation. After all, Wagner stated in his essay ‘Epilogue to “The Nibelung’s Ring” ‘ that Siegfried and Bruennhilde are virtually the same characters as Tristan and Isolde:

“[P. 268] With the sketch of ‘Tristan und Isolde’ I felt that I was really not quitting the mythic circle opened-out to me by my Nibelungen labours ... . For the grand concordance of all sterling Myths, as thrust upon me by my studies, had sharpened my eyesight for the wondrous variations standing out amid this harmony. Such a one confronted me with fascinating clearness in the relation of Tristan to Isolde, as compared with that of Siegfried to Bruennhilde. ... here, ... two seemingly unlike relations had sprung from the one original mythic factor. Their intrinsic parity consists in this: both Tristan and Siegfried, in bondage to an illusion which makes this deed of theirs unfree, woo for another their own eternally-predestined bride, and in the false relation hence arising find their doom. (...) What in the one work [the Ring] could only come to rapid utterance at the climax, in the other [Tristan and Isolde] becomes an entire Content, of infinite variety; and this it was, that attracted me to treat the stuff at just that time, namely as a supplementary Act of the great Nibelungen-myth, a mythos compassing the whole relations of a world.” [#811W-{12/71} "Epilogue to THE NIBELUNG’S RING" (PW Vol. III, p. 268- 269]

And Cosima reports that Wagner described Kundry as having experienced, in her prior incarnations, Isolde’s final transfiguration hundreds of times:

“[P. 910] When there is mention on the train of the Wagnerites’ preference for ‘T. und I.’ even over ‘Parsifal,’ R. says: “Oh, what do they know? One might say that Kundry already experienced Isolde’s Liebestod a hundred times in her various reincarnations.’ “ [#1135W-{9/14/82} CD Vol. II, p. 20 910]

In a sense all of the leading characters in Wagner’s prior operas and music dramas are reborn in the protagonists of "Parsifal," where all their parallel existences seem to come together and merge outside of time and space.

In the following extract in which Feuerbach describes all that a human soul would have to renounce within the physical world, in order to attain supernatural immortality in heaven, we find further ground for our thesis that through Wotan’s confession to Bruennhilde he is reborn as Siegfried (who in turn is reborn as Parsifal), who lacks conscious knowledge of both his prior history, and his true identity:

(3C) [FEUERBACH] “[P. 133] Only when history is nothing, when the naked individual who is stripped of all historical elements, all destiny, determination, purpose, and measure, and goal, only when the vain, abstract, meaningless, empty individual is something, and history is nothing, is the nothing after death something. ... as they [Christians] posit a future life, they negate actual life.” [#20F-TDI: p. 133]

It is important to recall here, apropos of Feuerbach’s critique of Christianity’s promise of immortality, Wagner’s remark in the tribute to Feuerbach he wrote for his autobiography (the opening quotation of the present paper) that what pleased Wagner about Feuerbach was his notion that the sole authentic immortality adheres only to noble deeds and inspired works of art. In other words, according to Wagner, what religious folk took to be a literal immortality of the spirit in heaven, lives on figuratively in the historical celebration of the great deeds of our past heroes (our immortals, so to speak), and in great and inspired works of art which become part of civilization’s legacy, as immortal, iconic works.

Wagner is clearly referencing Feuerbach’s remark above (compare Feuerbach’s “naked individual” above with Wagner’s “naked Man” below) when he describes below how he peeled away the layers of historical man to rediscover the mythic man, Siegfried:

(3D) [WAGNER] “[P. 357] ... I drove step by step into the deeper regions of antiquity, where at last to my delight, and truly in the utmost reaches of old time, I was to light upon the fair young form of [P. 358] Man, in all the freshness of his force. ... . What here I saw, was no longer the Figure of conventional history, whose garment claims our interest more than does the actual shape inside; but the real naked Man ... . ” [#574W-{6-8/51} A Communication To My Friends: PW Vol. I, p. 357-358]

(3E) [WAGNER] “[P. 375] With the conception of ‘Siegfried,’ I had pressed forward to where I saw before me the Human Being in the most natural and blithest fulness of his physical life. No historic garment more,
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