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Review of Mark Berry's "Treacherous Bonds and Laughing Fire"

PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2012 10:08 am
by alberich00
Dear members and guests of the http://www.wagnerheim.com discussion forum:

After a long, long exile from our Wagnerheim.com discussion forum, due to critical family responsibilities (most of which are now resolved), I've now won back enough free time to return to our discussion forum. As I need a warm-up exercise in order to restore that creative mood which will be the precondition for completing a briefer, more accessible version of my book on Wagner's "Ring" (hopefully to be published in hard-copy or online by some time within the bicentennial year of Wagner's birth, 2013), I thought that all dedicated Wagnerians would find it instructive and interesting if I post here, in installments, my very detailed critical response to Mark Berry's 2006 book (based on a 2004 dissertation), "Treacherous Bonds and Laughing Fire." When I read Berry's book just a couple of years ago I was struck both by the occasional convergence and more frequent dissimilarity between his views and aspects of my "Ring" interpretation developed from 1971 onward (but first copyrighted at the Library of Congress from 1981 onward).

Aside from my own interpretation, for instance, Berry's study offers by far the most detailed consideration of the implications of Ludwig Feuerbach's critique of religious faith, for our understanding of Wagner's "Ring," of any Wagner study known to me. Of course, he draws some of the same conclusions I did, but he also draws some very different conclusions. This comparison between Berry's views and my own will greatly enhance discussion forum participants' understanding of what, in my view, makes my interpretation unique, and what links it with the broader field of current Wagner scholarship. Participants will find it helpful to review, on occasion, two brief studies I posted in this discussion forum, namely, "The 'Ring' as a Whole," and "How Elsa Showed Wagner the Way to Siegfried." These two studies are a small sample from an array of mostly self-published studies which I copyrighted at the Library of Congress from 1981 onward, which, taken in sum, display the gradual development of my allegorical understanding of the "Ring" and its central position in helping us to penetrate more deeply into Wagner's 6 other iconic operas and music-dramas, from "The Flying Dutchman" through "Parsifal."

I will post my critique of Berry in installments of perhaps 5-10 pages because of certain limitations of the discussion forum edit protocals.

Your friend from Wagnerheim,

Paul