Bruennhilde: Wotan's/Siegfried's unconscious Part B-7

General Discussion about Wagner and The Ring of the Nibelung

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Bruennhilde: Wotan's/Siegfried's unconscious Part B-7

Postby alberich00 » Sat Jan 28, 2017 11:42 am

[P. 334] {FEUER} “Just as the main feature of the mythos of the ‘Flying Dutchman’ may be clearly traced to an earlier setting in the Hellenic Odyssey; just as this same Ulysses in his wrench from the arms of Calypso, in his flight from the charms of Circe, and in his yearning for the earthly wife of cherished home, embodied the Hellenic prototype of a longing such as we find in ‘Tannhaeuser’ immeasurably enhanced and widened in its meaning: so do we already meet in the Grecian mythos - nor is even this by any means its oldest form – the outlines of the myth of - ‘Lohengrin.’ Who does not know the story of ‘Zeus and Semele’? The god loves a mortal woman, and for sake of this love, approaches her in human shape; but the mortal learns that she does not know her lover in his true estate, and, urged by Love’s own ardour, demands that her spouse shall show himself to physical sense in the full substance of his being. Zeus knows that she can never grasp him, that the unveiling of his godhead must destroy her; himself he suffers by this knowledge, beneath the stern compulsion to fulfill his loved one’s dreaded
wish: he signs his own death-warrant, when the fatal splendour of his godlike
presence strikes Semele dead. – Was it, forsooth, some priestly fraud that shaped
this myth? How insensate to attempt to argue from the selfish state-religious, caste-
like exploitation of the noblest human longing, back to the origin and the genuine
meaning of ideals which [P. 335] blossomed from a human fancy that stamped man
first as Man! Twas no God, that sang the meeting of Zeus and Semele; but Man, in
his humanest of yearnings. Who had taught Man that a God could burn with love
toward earthly Woman? For certain, only Man himself; who however high the
object of his yearning may soar above the limits of his earthly wont, can only
stamp it with the imprint of his human nature. From the highest sphere to which
the might of his desire may bear him up, he finally can only long again for what is
purely human, can only crave the taste of his own nature, as the one thing worth
desiring. What then is the inmost essence of this Human Nature, whereto the desire
which reaches forth to farthest distance turns back at last, for its only possible
appeasement? It is the Necessity of Love; and the essence of this love, in its truest
utterance, is the longing for utmost physical reality, for fruition in an object that
can be grasped by all the senses, held fast with all the force of actual being. In this
finite, physically sure embrace, must not the God dissolve and disappear? Is not the
mortal, who had yearned for God, undone, annulled? Yet is not Love, in its truest,
highest essence, herein revealed?” [565W-{6-8/51} A Communication To My
Friends: PW Vol. I, p. 334-335]

[P. 339] {FEUER} “In Tannhaeuser I had yearned to flee a world of frivolous and repellent sensuousness, -- the only form our modern Present has to offer; my impulse lay towards the unknown land of pure and chaste virginity, as toward the element that might allay a nobler, but still at bottom sensuous longing: only a longing such as our frivolous Present can never satisfy. By the strength of my longing, I had mounted to the realms where purity and chastity abide: I felt myself outside the modern world, and mid a sacred, limpid aether which, in the transport of my solitude, filled me with that delicious awe we drink-in upon the summits of the Alps, [P. 340] when, circled with a sea of azure air, we look down upon the lower hills and valleys. Such mountain-peaks the Thinker climbs, and on this height imagines he is ‘cleansed’ from all that’s ‘earthly,’ the topmost branch upon the tree of man’s omnipotence: here at last may he feed full upon himself, and, midst this self-repast, freeze finally beneath the Alpine chill into a monument of ice: as which, philosopher or critic, he stonily frowns down upon the warm and living world below. The desire, however, that had driven me to those heights, was a desire sprung from art and man’s five senses: it was not the warmth of Life, I fain would flee, but the vaporous morass of trivial sensuousness whose exhalations form one definite shape of Life, the life of modern times. Upon those heights, moreover, I was warmed by the sunny rays of Love, whose living impulse alone had sped me up. And so it was, that, hardly had this blessed solitude enwrapt me, when it woke a new and overpowering desire, the desire from peak to valley, from the dazzling brilliance of chaste Sanctity to the sweet shadows of Love’s humanest caresses. From these heights my longing glance beheld at last – das Weib: the woman for whom the ‘Flying Dutchman’ yearned, from out the ocean of his misery; the woman who, star-like, showed to ‘Tannhaeuser’ the way that led from the hot passion of the Venusberg to Heaven; [P. 341] the woman who now drew Lohengrin from sunny heights to the depths of Earth’s warm breast.” [567W-{6-8/51} A Communication To My Friends: PW Vol. I, p. 339-341]

[P. 341] {FEUER} “He [Lohengrin] sought the woman who would not call for explanations or defence, but who should love him with an unconditional love. Therefore must he cloak his higher nature, for only in the non-revealing of this higher (hoeheren) – or more correctly, heightened (erhoehten) – essence, could there lie the surety that he was not adored because of it alone, or humbly worshipped as a being past all understanding – Whereas his longing was not for worship nor for adoration, but for the only thing sufficient to redeem him from his loneliness, to still his deep desire, -- for Love, for being Loved, for being understood through Love. With the highest powers of his senses, with his fullest fill of consciousness, he would fain become and be none other than a warmly-feeling, warmth-inspiring Man; in a word, a Man and not a God – i.e. no ‘absolute’ Artist. Thus yearned he for Woman, -- for the human Heart. And thus did he step down from out his loneliness of sterile bliss, when he heard this woman’s cry for succour, this heart-cry from humanity below. But there clings to him the tell-tale halo of his ‘heightened’ nature; he can no appear as aught but suprahuman; the gaping of the common herd, the poisoned trail of envy, throw their shadows even across the loving maiden’s heart: doubt and jealousy convince him that he has not been understood, but only worshipped, and force from him the avowal of his divinity, wherewith, undone, he returns to his loneliness.” [568W-{6-8/51} A Communication To My Friends: PW Vol. I, p. 341]

[P. 341] “It seemed then to me, and still it seems, most hard to comprehend, how the deep tragedy of this subject and this character should have stayed unfelt; and how the story should have been so misunderstood that Lohengrin was looked on as a cold, forbidding figure, more prone to arouse dislike than sympathy. This reproach was first made [P. 342] to me by an intimate friend, whose knowledge and whose intellectual gifts I highly prize. In his case, however, I reaped an experience which has since been verified by repetition: namely, that upon the first direct acquaintance with my poem the impression produced is thoroughly affecting, and that this reproach only enters when the impression of the artwork itself has faded, and given place to cold, reflective criticism. Thus this reproach was not an instinctive act of the immediate-feeling heart, but a purposed act of mediate reflection. In this occurrence I therefore found the tragedy of Lohengrin’s character and situation confirmed, as one deep-rooted in our modern life: it was reproduced upon the artwork and its author, just in the same way as it had borne down upon the hero of the poem. The character and situation of this Lohengrin I now recognise, with clearest sureness, as the type of the only absolute tragedy, in fine, of the tragic element of modern life; and that of just as great significance for the Present, as was the ‘Antigone’ – though in another relation – for the life of the Hellenic State. [* Wagner’s Footnote: Exactly as my critic, may the Athenian Citizen have felt, who under the immediate influence of the artwork was seized with unquestioning sympathy for Antigone, yet in the Areopagus, upon the following day, would certainly have voted to death the living heroine.] From out this sternest tragic moment of the Present one path alone can lead: the full reunion of sense and soul, the only genuinely gladsome element of the Future’s Life and Art, each in its utmost consummation.” [569W-{6-8/51} A Communication To My Friends: PW Vol. I, p. 341-342]

[P. 344] {anti-FEUER} “Here I touch the tragic feature in the situation of the true Artist towards the life of the Present, that very situation to which I gave artistic effect in the Lohengrin story. – The most natural and urgent longing of such an artist is, to be taken up without reserve into the Feeling and by it understood; and the impossibility – under the modern conditions of our art-life – of meeting with this Feeling in such a state of freedom and undoubting sureness as he needs for being fully understood, -- the compulsion to address himself almost solely to the critical Understanding, instead of to the Feeling: this it is, that forms the tragic element in his situation; this it is, that, as an artist made of flesh and blood, I could not help but feel, and this, that, on the pathway of my further evolution, was to be forced so on my consciousness that I broke at last into open revolt against the burden of that situation.” [571W-{6-8/51} A Communication To My Friends: PW Vol. I, p. 344]

[P. 345] “It was clear to my inner sense, that an essential ground of misunderstanding of the tragical significance of my hero had lain in the assumption that Lohengrin, having descended from a glittering realm of painlessly-unearned and cold magnificence, and in obedience to an unnatural law that bound him willessly thereto, now turned his back upon the strife of earthly passions, to taste again the pleasures of divinity. As the chief lesson that this taught me, was the wilfulness of the modern critical mode of viewing things, which looks away from the instinctive aspect and twists them round to suit its purpose; and as it was easy for me to see that this misunderstanding had simply sprung from a wilful interpretation of that binding law, which in truth was no outwardly-imposed decree, but the expression of the necessary inner nature of one who, from the midst of lonely splendour, is athirst for being understood through Love: so, to ensure the desired correct impression, I held all the faster to the original outlines of the legend, whose naïve innocence had made so irresistible an impression upon myself. In order to artistically convey these outlines in entire accordance with the effect that they had made on me, I observed a still greater fidelity than in the case of ‘Tannhaeuser,’ in my presentment of those half-historical, half-legendary features by which alone a subject so out of the beaten path could be brought with due conviction to the answering senses. This led me, in the conduct of the scenes (scenische Haltung) and dialogue (sprachlichen Ausdruck), to a path which brought me later to the discovery of possibilities whose logical sequence was certainly to point me out an utter revolution in the adjustment of those factors which have hitherto made up our [P. 346] operatic mode of speech.” [572W-{6-8/51} A Communication To My Friends: PW Vol. I, p. 345-346]

[P. 346] {FEUER} “It was midst this struggle for clearness of exposition, as I remember, that the essence of the heart of Woman, such as I had to picture in the loving Elsa, first dawned upon me with more and more distinctness. The artist can only attain the power of convincing portraiture, when he has been able to sink himself with fullest sympathy into the essence of the character to be portrayed. In ‘Elsa’ I saw, from the commencement, my desired antithesis to Lohengrin, -- yet naturally, not so absolute an antithesis as should lie far removed from his own nature, but rather the other half of his being, -- the antithesis which is included in his general nature and forms the necessarily longed-for complement of his specific man-hood. Elsa is the unconscious, the undeliberate (Unwillkuerliche), into which Lohengrin’s conscious, deliberate (willkuerliche) being yearns to be redeemed; but this yearning, again, is itself the unconscious, undeliberate Necessity in Lohengrin, whereby he feels himself akin to Elsa’s being. Through the capability of this ‘unconscious consciousness,’ such as I myself now felt [P. 347] alike with Lohengrin, the nature of Woman also – and that precisely as I felt impelled to the faithfullest portrayal of its essence – came to ever clearer understanding in my inner mind. Through this power I succeeded in so completely transferring myself to this female principle, that I came to an entire agreement with its utterance by my loving Elsa. I grew to find her so justified in the final outburst of her jealousy, that from this very outburst I learnt first to thoroughly understand the purely-human element of love … . … this woman, who can love but thus and not otherwise, who, by the very burst of her jealousy, wakes first from out the thrill of worship into the full reality of love, and by her wreck reveals its essence to him who had not fathomed it as yet, this glorious woman, before whom Lohengrin must vanish, for reason that his own specific nature could not understand her, -- I had found her now: and the random shaft that I had shot towards the treasure dreamt but hitherto unknown, was my own Lohengrin, whom now I must give up as lost; to track more certainly the footsteps of that true Woman-hood, which should one day bring to me and all the world redemption, after Man-Hood’s egoism, even in its noblest form, had shivered into self-crushed dust before her. Elsa, the Woman, -- Woman hitherto un-understood by me, and understood at last, -- that most positive expression of the purest instinct of the senses, -- made me a Revolutionary at one blow. She was the Spirit of the [P. 348] Folk, for whose redeeming hand I too, as artist-man, was longing. –
But this treasure trove [Hoard? i.e., ‘Hort’?] of Knowledge lay hid, at first, within the silence of my lonely heart: only slowly did it ripen into loud avowal!” [573W-{6-8/51} A Communication To My Friends: PW Vol. I, p. 346-348]

[P. 357] {FEUER} “In the struggle to give the wishes of my heart artistic shape, and in the ardour to discover what thing it was that drew me so resistlessly to the primal source of old home Sagas, 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. My studies thus bore me, through the legends of the Middle Ages, right down to their foundation in the old-Germanic Mythos; one swathing after another, which the later legendary lore had bound around it, I was able to unloose, and thus at last to gaze upon it in its chastest beauty. 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 … .
{FEUER} {Pre-SCHOP} At like time I had sought this human being in
History too. Here offered themselves relations, and nothing but relations; the
human being I could only see in so far as the relations ordered him: and not as he
had power to order them. To get to the bottom of these ‘relations,’ whose coercive
force compelled the strongest man to squander all his powers on objectless and
never-compassed aims, I turned afresh to the soil of Greek antiquity, and here,
again, was pointed at the last to Mythos, in which alone I cold touch the ground of
even these relations: but in that Mythos, these social relations were drawn in lines
as simple, plastic, and distinct as I had earlier recognised therein the human shape
itself. From this side, also, did Mythos lead me to this Man alone, as to the
involuntary creator of those relations, which in their documento-monumental
perversion, as the excrescences of History (Geschictes-momente), as traditional
fictions and established rights, have at last usurped dominion over Man and ground
to dust his freedom.” [574W-{6-8/51} A Communication To My Friends: PW Vol. I, p. 357-358]

[P. 365] “The poetic ‘stuffs’ which urged me to artistic fashioning, could only be of such a nature that, before all else, they usurped my emotional, and not my intellectual being: only the Purely-human (Reinmenschliche), loosed from all historical formality, could – once it came before my vision in its genuine natural shape, unruffled from outside – arouse my interest , and spur me on to impart what I beheld. What I beheld, I now looked at solely with the eyes of Music; though not of that music whose formal maxims might have held me still embarrassed for expression, but of the music which I had within my heart, and wherein I might express myself as in a mother-tongue. With this freedom of faculty, I now might address myself without a hindrance to that to be expressed; henceforth the object of expression was the sole matter for regard in all my workmanship. Thus, precisely by the acquirement of facility in musical expression, did I become a poet … . Yet, without deliberately setting about an enrichment of the means of musical expression, I was absolutely driven to expand them, by the very nature of the objects I was seeking to express.” [576W-{6-8/51} A Communication To My Friends: PW Vol. I, p. 365]

[P. 366] “Here it was, also, that I had the most urgent occasion to clear my mind as to the essential difference between the historico-political, and the purely-human life; and when I knowingly and willingly gave up the ‘Friedrich,’ in which I had approached the closest to that political life, and – by so much the clearer as to what I wished – gave preference to the ‘Siegfried,’ I had entered a new and most decisive period of my evolution, both as artist and as man: the period of conscious artistic will to continue on an altogether novel path, which I had struck with unconscious necessity, and whereon I now, as man and artist, press on to meet a newer world.” [577W-{6-8/51} A Communication To My Friends: PW Vol. I, p. 366]

[P. 375] {FEUER} “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, confined his limbs; no outwardly-imposed relation hemmed in his movements, which, springing from the inner fount of Joy-in-life, so bore themselves in face of all encounter, that error and bewilderment, though nurtured on the wildest play of passions, might heap themselves around until they threatened to destroy him, without the hero checking for a moment, even in the face of death, the welling outflow of that Inner fount; or even holding any thing the rightful master of himself and his own movements, but alone the natural outstreaming of his restless fount of life. It was ‘Elsa’ who had taught me to unearth this man: to me, he was the male-embodied spirit of perennial and sole creative instinct (Unwillkuer), of the doer of true Deeds, of Manhood in the utmost fulness of its inborn strength and proved loveworthiness.” [579W-{6-8/51} A Communication To My Friends: PW Vol. I, p. 375]

[P. 378] {FEUER} “Just as with my ‘Siegfried,’ the force of my desire had borne me to the fount of the Eternal Human; so now, when I found this desire cut off by Modern Life from all appeasement, and saw afresh that the sole redemption lay in flight from out this life, in casting-off its claims on me by self-destruction, did I come to the fount of every modern rendering of such a situation – to Jesus of Nazareth the Man.
{FEUER} (…) When I considered the epoch and the general life-conditions in [P. 379] which so loving and so love-athirst a soul, as that of Jesus, unfolded itself, nothing seemed to me more natural than that this solitary One – who, fronted with a materialism (Sinnlichkeit) so honourless, so hollow, and so pitiful as that of the Roman world, and still more of the world subjected to the Romans, could not demolish it and build upon its wrack an order answering to his soul’s desire – should straightway long from out that world, from out the wider world at large, towards a better land Beyond, -- toward Death. Since I saw the modern world of nowadays a prey to worthlessness akin to that which then surrounded Jesus, so did I now recognise this longing, in correspondence with the characteristics of our present state of things, as in truth deep-rooted in man’s sentient nature, which yearns from out an evil and dishonoured world-of-sense (Sinnlichkeit) towards a nobler reality that shall answer to his nature purified. Here Death is but the moment of despair; it is the act of demolition that we discharge upon ourselves, since – as solitary units – we can not discharge it on the evil order of the tyrant world. But the actual destruction of the outer, visible bonds of that honourless materialism, is the duty which devolves on us, as the healthy proclamation of a stress turned heretofore toward self-destruction.” [580W-{6-8/51} A Communication To My Friends: PW Vol. I, p. 378-379]

[P. 252] “It is the non-musician who has led the way to a true understanding of
Beethoven’s works: quite involuntarily he desired to know what the composer had
actually had in mind when writing the music. This led to the first difficulty.
Imagination, in its search for understanding, fell back upon all manner of arbitrary
inventions of bizarre features and romantic images. The grotesque and generally
trivial nature of the ideas imputed in this way to Beethoven’s compositions was soon
sensed by those whose feelings in the matter were more refined, and thus such ideas came to be rejected. Since these images were inappropriate, it was thought better to reject all such ideas entirely. And yet a perfectly legitimate feeling lay behind this urge to create such images: but the only person capable of identifying the desired object (an object which the tone-poet himself had had in mind – without necessarily knowing it) was the one man who, in turn, was entirely familiar with the characteristic essence of the work in question.” [585W-{2/13/52}Letter to Theodor Uhlig: SLRW, p. 252]

[P. 274] “ … my life is forfeit and, having never enjoyed it, I can now eke it out only by artificial means, in other words – by means of my art. But the despair I feel at confronting the artistic life of Europe with my art is something which can be felt only by those who know to what extent art for me is a substitute for a life of unsatisfied desire: and how superficial, on the other hand, is the judgement of those people who advise me to set about acquiring fame! I pour out into my art the violent need I feel for love, a need which life cannot satisfy, and all I find in return is that people at best mistake me for an energetic – opera reformer!” [593W-{11/11/52}Letter to Luise Brockhaus: SLRW, p. 274]

[P. 215] “… his love for Senta displays itself at once in terror of the danger she herself incurs by reaching out a rescuing hand to him. It comes over him as a [P. 216] hideous crime, and in his passionate remonstrance against her sharing in his fate he becomes a human being through and through; whereas he hitherto had often given us but the grim impression of a ghost.” [596W-{1/53} Remarks on Performing ‘The Flying Dutchman’: PW Vol. III, p. 215]

[P. 284] {anti-FEUER; FEUER} “I have succeeded in viewing natural and historical phenomena with love and with total impartiality as regards their true essence, and I have noticed nothing amiss except for – lovelessness. – But even this lovelessness I was able to explain as an aberration, an aberration which must inevitably lead us away from our state of natural unawareness towards a knowledge of the uniquely beautiful necessity of love; to acquire this knowledge by active striving is the task of world history; but the stage on which this knowledge will one day act out its role is none other than the earth and nature herself, which is the seed-bed of all that will lead us to this blissful knowledge.” [597W-{4/13/53}Letter to Franz Liszt: SLRW, p. 284]

[P. 284] “ … it is precisely here that we recognize the glorious necessity of love, we call upon it and welcome each other with a force of love which would not be possible were it not for this painful recognition; and so, in this way, we acquire a [P. 285] strength of which natural man had no inkling, and this strength – increased to embrace the whole of humanity – will one day lay the foundations for a state on earth where no one need yearn for the other world (a world which will then have become wholly unnecessary), for they will be happy – to live and to love. For where is the man who yearns to escape from life when he is in love? – Well then! Now we suffer, now we must lose heart and go mad without any faith in the hereafter: I too believe in a here-after: -- I have just shown you this hereafter: though it lies beyond my life, it does not lie beyond the limits of all that I can feel, think, grasp and comprehend, for I believe in humanity and – have need of naught else!” [598W-{4/13/53}Letter to Franz Liszt: SLRW, p. 284]

[P. 228] {FEUER} “ … he’s curst to all eternity to hunt the desert seas for spoils that yield him no delight, but ne’er to find the only thing that could redeem him!” [599W-{5/53}Explanatory Program: The Flying Hollander Overture: PW Vol. III, p. 228]

[P. 229] {FEUER} “What draws him with such might – it is a woman’s look, which, full of sad sublimity and godlike fellow-feeling, thrusts through to him! A heart has opened its unending depths to the unmeasured sorrows of the damned: for him must it make offering, to end alike his sorrows and its life.” [600W-{5/53}Explanatory Program: The Flying Hollander Overture: PW Vol. III, p. 229]

[P. 231] {FEUER] “From out a world of hate and haggling, Love seemed to have vanished clean away: in no community of men did it longer show itself as lawgiver. Yet midst the empty care for gain and owning, the only orderer of world-intercourse, the unslayable love-longing of the human heart began at last to yearn again for stilling of a need which, the more it chafed and burned beneath the weight of actuality, the less was able to be satisfied within that actuality itself. Devout imagination therefore set both source and bourne of this unfathomable love-stress outside that actual world, and, longing for the solace of its senses by a symbol of the Suprasensual, it gave to it a wondrous shape; under the name of the ‘Holy Grail’ this symbol soon was yearned and sought for, as a reality existing somewhere, yet far beyond approach. ‘Twas the precious vase from which the Saviour once had pledged his farewell to his people, the vessel whereinto his blood had poured [P. 232] when he suffered crucifixion for his brethren, the cup in which that blood had been preserved in living warmth, a fountain of imperishable Love. Already had this cup of healing been reft from worthless Man, when once a flight of angels brought it back from Heaven’s height, to lonely men athirst for Love; committed it to keeping of these men, miraculously blest and strengthened by its presence; and hallowed thus the pure to fight on earth for Love Eternal.
This wonder-working Coming of the Grail in escort of an angel-host, its
committal to the care of chosen men, the tone-poet of ‘Lohengrin’ – a Grail’s
knight – selected for the subject of a sketch in Tone, as introduction to his drama,
and here he may haply be let depict it to the fancy’s eye.” [601W-{5/53}
Explanatory Program: Lohengrin Overture: PW Vol. III, p. 231-232]
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