Feuerbach's influence on "Parsifal" Part 4

General Discussion about Wagner and The Ring of the Nibelung

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Feuerbach's influence on "Parsifal" Part 4

Postby alberich00 » Wed Jun 17, 2015 2:28 pm

Feuerbach's influence on "Parsifal" Part 4:

[Page 31]

intervention on Orestes’ behalf. It is surely no accident that Athena like Bruennhilde is an armored virgin, goddess of wisdom, born of her father Zeus’s head (just as Bruennhilde’s ability to serve as protectress to Siegfried - i.e., to bring Siegfried to birth by letting Wotan’s confession inseminate her womb, so to speak - is the product of Wotan’s confession to her).

This idea that the artist-hero is a matricide is probably Wagner’s metaphor for Feuerbach’s notion that religious belief in a transcendent, supernatural realm of being, constitutes not only a sin against Mother Nature, but figurative matricide. Since Wagner regarded his own revolutionary music-dramas as a perpetuation of mankind’s religious longing for transcendence, and conceived his mature music-drama heroes (Siegfried, Tristan, Walther, and Parsifal) as metaphors for the music-dramatist, the heroes are figuratively responsible for the death of their mother, Nature, because in their inspired art they perpetuate religious man’s sin in denying Mother Nature, and the objective truth, for the sake of an illusion, the longing for transcendence of the real world. Thus Parsifal is utterly overcome with guilt as Kundry describes how his neglect led to his mother’s death. Her narrative from Act Two is set in the midst of the detritus left behind in the Magic Garden by all prior heroes of religion and art (represented by the Grail knights – perhaps Parsifal’s prior incarnations? - and their lovers, the Flower-maidens, whom we may take as their muses of unconscious artistic inspiration).

The following extracts from Feuerbach and Wagner bear this out. Feuerbach, for instance, states that the belief in God the creator strikes life (i.e., Mother Nature) dead, and is a sin against Nature:

(5A) [FEUERBACH] “[P. 86] If you imagine nature has its ground outside of itself [i.e., that God created it] you strike life dead ... .” [#11F-TDI: p. 86]

(5B) [FEUERBACH] “[P. 85] How untrue we Germans have become to our source, our mother, and how unlike her, thanks to Christianity which taught us that heaven is our home.” [#211F-LER: p. 85]

Wagner’s following remarks are clear echoes of Feuerbach’s sentiments:

(5C) [WAGNER] “[P. 59] If history shows an actual Utopia, a truly unattainable ideal, it is that of Christendom; for it has clearly and plainly shown ... that its dogmas are not realizable. How could those dogmas become really living, and pass over into actual life: when they were directed against life itself ... ?” [#412W-{6-8/49} "Art and Revolution": PW Vol. I, p. 59-60]

(5D) [WAGNER] “[P. 57] Let us glance ... at this future state of Man, when he shall have freed himself from his last heresy, the denial of Nature, -- that heresy which has taught him hitherto to look upon himself as a mere instrument to an end which lay outside himself [i.e. God’s end].” [#410W- [Page 32] {6-8/49} Art and Revolution: PW Vol. I, p. 57]


It is no accident that, just as Parsifal is overcome by guilt when Kundry informs him that his mother (Nature) died through his neglect (i.e., through his betrayal of her, by seeking instinctively to serve the Grail), he also suddenly becomes aware of his true identity as a sinner against Amfortas. Parsifal has sinned against Amfortas not only in having neglected to seek or grasp the cause of Amfortas’s suffering when Parsifal visited the Grail Castle, but also by running off on adventures to Klingsor’s Magic Garden of Art, which provided man a surrogate for his true mother, Nature, a surrogate reality. As Parsifal says, when Kundry’s kiss has granted him a profound sense of identification with Amfortas’s anguish (which Parsifal experienced in the Grail Temple in Act One):

“I hear the saviour’s lament, the lament, oh the lament oe’r the desecrated sanctuary: ‘Deliver, rescue me from guilt-stained hands!’ Thus cried the godly lament thundering loud to my soul, and I, the fool, the coward, I fled to wild and childish deeds!”

Like so many other passages in "Parsifal" this passage is highly ambiguous: on the one hand it could mean merely that Christ the saviour wishes for a purer soul to restore his personal relic - the spear that pierced his side after he was nailed to the cross - to the Grail sanctuary, by removing it from the impure Klingsor’s hands, and replacing the corrupted, sinful Amfortas by taking on his role as Grail King and performing the Holy Grail service himself. One problem with this reading is that the “wild and childish deeds” to which Parsifal alludes are his journey to Klingsor’s Magic Garden, which in the event is necessary in order to destroy it and recapture the spear. If, however, we interpret Parsifal’s visit to Klingsor’s Magic Garden as the artist-hero’s unconscious artistic inspiration by the muse (i.e., by any of the Flower-maidens, or by Kundry), and consider that Parsifal – as the archetypal artist-hero – has been reborn in many different artists over time, Parsifal and his predecessors have visited Klingsor’s Magic Garden for inspiration (as Tannhaeuser visited the Venusberg to seek inspiration from Venus) as many times as they have obtained unconscious artistic inspiration. This seems a plausible explanation of Parsifal’s “wild and childish deeds,” and accounts for why he is overcome by guilt for them.

Another plausible reading, consistent with the latter of the two offered above, is that Christ the saviour, who has in a sense been reborn in the artist-hero Parsifal (just as lost religious faith lives on in music as feeling), seeks to free himself and all who have inherited his legacy of belief in transcendence, from the guilt which is the inevitable consequence of such a futile, illusory longing. The entire libretto is replete with such ambiguity and therefore resists reduction to simple formulae: the best one can do is offer a reading which makes the most sense of the libretto text as a whole.

[Part 33]

At any rate, Kundry, who offers his dying mother’s parting kiss of love to Parsifal as his surrogate mother, wakens in him consciousness of his responsibility for Amfortas’s unhealing wound. An important point is that Parsifal feels not only that he neglected his responsibility to identify the cause of Amfortas’s wound when he first encountered it, and to heal it, but more importantly, he seems to acknowledge in some sense that he is its author. Witness his following remarks to Gurnemanz in the Third Act. Gurnemanz describes for him all the terrible things which have happened since Gurnemanz ejected Parsifal from the Grail Temple in Act One:

“From the day that you were here our grief, of which you know, our fears grew into dire distress [“hoechsten Not”]. Amfortas, to resist his wounds, the torment of his soul, in wrathful defiance now lusts for death. No plea nor misery of his knights could move him to perform his holy office. In its shrine, the Grail has long remained locked: thus its sin repentant guardian, since he cannot die whilst he looks upon it, hopes to force his death and with his life the torment end. The holy manna is now denied us, and common fare must be our nourishment: and so our warriors’ strength has waned. Now no message ever comes for us, no call to holy wars from far away: wan and wretched, the despondent leaderless knights limp around.”

Gurnemanz’s story culminates with his proclamation, adding horror to horror, that Titurel has now - deprived of the sight of the Grail by his son Amfortas - finally passed away. Of course, as described in the libretto, Titurel had been living in his coffin for quite awhile already, kept artificially alive by the sight of the Grail. Parsifal exclaims in despair:

“And twas I, I who brought about all this misery! How with guilt of sin offensive this foolish head is ever laden, for no repentance, no atonement relieves me of my blindness. Chosen for deliverance, I am lost in the maze – every path of deliverance vanishes!”

At this point Parsifal faints! It seems a stretch to argue that Parsifal should be so overcome with guilt at merely having failed to grasp the meaning of Amfortas’s anguish at first sight. Parsifal’s feeling of guilt seems to be more all-embracing, as if Parsifal is himself entirely responsible for all that troubles the denizens of the Grail Realm, not merely the troubles which followed Parsifal’s initial failure to grasp their cause. It is absurd for him to claim, for instance, that “... twas I, I who brought about all this misery!” merely because he did not initially grasp its cause and alleviate it. If we consider Klingsor a projection of Parsifal’s own nature as an artist-hero who has perpetuated religion’s denial of reality by indulging in the fantasy world of secular art, long after this salve on man’s unhealing wound has lost its redemptive potency, and that in rejecting Klingsor, the Magic Garden, and Kundry’s seduction, Parsifal is renouncing his former self (i.e., his former incarnation as the artist-hero Siegfried), this argument becomes more plausible.

[Part 34]

Apropos of our argument that in a certain sense all the leading characters of Wagner’s prior operas and music dramas (and therefore many of the dramatic situations in which they find themselves) are reborn in the leading characters of "Parsifal," it is of uncommon interest that Gurnemanz’s description for Parsifal of the terrible plight into which the Grail knights have been plunged since Parsifal wandered off to Klingsor’s magic garden parallels in many respects Waltraute’s description for Bruennhilde of the plight into which the Gods and heroes of Valhalla have been plunged since Wotan, as the Wanderer, returned to Valhalla with the spear Siegfried broke. Waltraute reports that now Wotan no longer sends the Valkyries on missions in defense of Valhalla, that Wotan has left the gods and heroes leaderless, and, most importantly, that he no longer partakes of Freia’s golden apples of sorrowless youth eternal, i.e., he no longer seeks to sustain his immortality, and wishes to die, just as Amfortas – in refusing to unveil the Grail - does:

“Since he and you were parted, Wotan has sent us no more into battle; lost and helpless we anxiously rode to the field. The Lord of the Slain avoided Valhalla’s valiant heroes: alone on his horse, without rest or repose, he roamed the world as the Wanderer. He came back of late; in his hand he was holding his spear’s splintered shards: they’d been shattered by a hero [Siegfried the artist-hero, Wotan’s – i.e., religion’s – heir]. (...) So he sits, says not a word, silent and grave on his hallowed seat, with the splintered spear held tight in his hand; Holda’s apples [of sorrowless youth eternal – i.e., immortality] he does not touch: wonder and fear hold the gods in thrall. (...) Clasping his knees we valkyries lie: he is blind to our pleading glances; we are all consumed by dismay and infinite dread.”

When one considers that it is Wotan’s knowledge that Siegfried the artist-hero will also succumb to Alberich’s curse, and therefore fail to redeem the gods from it, which is the cause of his ultimate despair in "Twilight of the Gods," and not the mere fact that he has lost power to Siegfried and knows the gods are doomed (something Wotan told Erda he in fact joyously welcomed), the parallel becomes more clear. Wagner clarified this point in his remarkable letter to August Roeckel in which he attempted to explain the entire significance of the "Ring":

“[P. 307] ... not until the ring proves the ruin of Siegfried, too, does he [Wotan] see that only by restoring to the Rhine what had been stolen from its depths [i.e., dissolving the Ring and its curse in the waters] can evil be destroyed, and that is why he makes his own longed-for downfall a pre-condition of the extirpation of a most ancient wrong.” [#616W-{1/25- 26/54} Letter to August Roeckel: SLRW, p. 307]

The significance of Wagner’s remark lies in the fact that, if we accept my hypothesis that Siegfried represents the artist-hero who has fallen heir to religious feeling when religion as a conscious belief-system can no longer be sustained, and that in this sense Wotan’s hope of redemption from Alberich’s curse of consciousness lives on in Siegfried, with Wotan’s recognition that Siegfried too has failed, Wagner is telling us that in his view the [Part 35] hope that religion could live on covertly in secular art has been dashed. Following the logic of our interpretation, if the Ring represents human consciousness itself, the unique power of the human mind, then dissolving it in the Rhine of preconscious life is tantamount to suicide. If one reads Wagner’s writings from his earliest to his latest years closely, one will see that Wagner ultimately regarded human consciousness itself as the source of all sin. For him it was inherently “Fallen.”

So what precisely is the significance of Amfortas’s unhealing wound, and why is it unhealing? Its cause is, precisely, religious man’s renunciation of his true mother, Nature (Herzeleide, who died of a broken heart due to mankind’s neglect), for the sake of man’s longing for transcendence in an alternative realm designed by the imagination to contradict the natural realm, namely, the supernatural, represented by the Grail. We must seek the cause of mankind’s unhealing wound in the religious impulse to posit a transcendent realm of being which offers man redemption from the anguish of his real, physical life on earth (Erde). Man, alone among his fellow animals, was able to posit a supernatural realm as his alleged source of being and ultimate refuge of redemption, because the natural evolutionary process which produced the human mind evidently selected for the advantage of intellect, of symbolic consciousness, which can summarize and abbreviate real life experience through symbolic representations of experience, or generalizations, in language. It appears that this ability to abbreviate actual experience through its reduction to symbols led over time to the capacity to divorce symbols from objective experience altogether and create and rearrange them subjectively. This was what one might describe as an unforeseen byproduct of evolution, the evolution of reflective thought. This process culminated in the illusion that man, i.e., his mind or spirit, could be autonomous from real physical experience, a notion which in the world’s monotheistic religions led ultimately to the belief in a creator God who actually created Mother Nature through a supernatural act, or thought.

Feuerbach’s thesis explaining the origins of God in the very nature of our mind is quite profound:

“[P. 97] The very nature of thought and speech, the requirements of life itself oblige us to make use of abbreviations on every hand, to substitute concepts for intuitions, signs for objects, in a word, the abstract for the concrete, ... one cause for many different causes, one individual for different individuals as their representative. In this sense it is perfectly right to say that reason, at least as long as reason, not yet disciplined by observation of the world, regards itself uncritically as the essence of the world, ... leads necessarily to the idea of divinity.” [#215F-LER: p. 97]

This notion that mind, or spirit, created matter, reversed the actual truth, which is that matter and energy, under the influence of fundamental natural laws, evolved into mind and therefore spirit. Thus, as Feuerbach puts it:

“... all of us are materialists before we become idealists, we all serve the body, the lower needs and senses, before we rise to spiritual [Part 36] needs and sensibilities ... .” [#245F-LER: p. 156]


“[P. 294-295] ... the first definition of “god” ... is simply that a god is what man requires for his existence, and specifically for his physical existence, which is the foundation of his spiritual existence, so that a god is a physical being; ...: man’s first god is need, and specifically physical need ... . ... the first and oldest God, the God before and behind the ethical and spiritual God is the physical God ... . (...) This makes it clear that the abstract concept “being” has flesh and blood, truth and reality, only in nature ... .” [#322F-LER: p. 294-295]

And Wagner, as always, provides a perfect paraphrase of Feuerbach’s thesis, which also has the advantage of providing us a provocative insight into the true relationship of Alberich [perhaps “the older Nature-god”] to Wotan [“the highest god”]:

“[P. 275] The quintessence of ... constant motion, thus of Life, at last in ‘Wuotan’ (Zeus) found expression as the chiefest God, the Father and Pervader of the All. Though his nature marked him as the highest god, ... yet was he nowise an historically older god, but sprang into existence from man’s later, higher consciousness of self; consequently he is more abstract than the older Nature-god, whilst the latter is more corporeal and, so to phrase it, more personally inborn in man.” [#368W-(6-8/48) "The Wibelungen" – Revised summer of 1849; PW Vol. VII, p. 275]

In the following passages Feuerbach describes this process whereby the very nature of man’s symbolic mind, its capacity for imagination, abstraction, and generalization, which ultimately produces a quest for perfection and infinite satisfaction, led necessarily to a belief in the mind’s autonomy from the natural world which produced it:

(6A) [FEUERBACH] “... from man’s ... infinite thirst for knowledge, which is not and cannot be satisfied here below, from man’s infinite striving for happiness, which no earthly possession or good fortune can satisfy, from his yearning for perfect morality, sullied by no sensuous drives, don’t Christians ... infer the necessity and reality of an infinite life and existence for man, not limited to the time of a man’s life span or the space of this earth, unfettered by the body or by death? (...) But what does this infinity of the divine attributes reveal? Nothing but the infinity or unlimitedness of human desires, of the human imagination and faculty of abstraction... .” [#300F-LER: p. 262-263]

[Page 37]

And here we have Wagner’s succinct paraphrase of Feuerbach:

(6B) [WAGNER] “To the religious eye the truth grows plain that there must be another world than this, because the inextinguishable bent- to-happiness cannot be stilled within this world, and hence requires another world for its redemption.” [#701W-{64-2/65} On State and Religion: PW Vol. IV, p. 23-24]

It is this capacity of the human mind to reach beyond the limits of immediate bodily experience through imagination and memory and dreaming, which leads man inevitably to overreach, to quest for things beyond his physical nature. The futility of this endeavor within the real world creates a pang of dissatisfaction with the objective, palpable world, and an impulse to cheat by inventing (unconsciously, of course) other worlds in which infinite satisfaction might be obtained, when a wiser approach would be to fault man’s capacity for self-deception, which tempts man to pursue such unattainable goals. The very essence of Alberich’s curse on the Ring is that those who lack its power will long for it, and, once obtained, will find it inadequate to satisfy a now insatiable desire. The curse Alberich places on his Ring, specifically to punish Wotan for stealing it from him and trying to co-opt its power, is a prime example of the unhealing wound. That Alberich’s curse on the Ring also entails doom to its owner is a metaphor for the fact that the human mind grants its possessor both the useful power of foresight, and its price, man’s capacity to foresee and meditate on his inevitable death, which engenders existential fear and angst. By a similar logic, the fact that in the Bible’s Book of Genesis Adam and Eve forfeited paradise (and presumably their immortality) by eating the forbidden fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, means simply that the natural human gift of foresight made them aware of the fact of death as a philosophic problem. It is thus the natural evolution of the human mind from animal forebears which exiled man, figuratively speaking, from the paradise of his animal ancestors’ preconscious life of instinct.

It is worth adding here that Alberich actually tells Wotan that he will, in effect, be guilty of matricide (i.e., of murdering Mother Nature, Erda) if Wotan (as God, representing religious faith) steals Alberich’s ring and co-opts its power for Wotan’s (i.e., religion’s) purposes. I argued in my other papers that the Ring’s power is actually the power of the human mind. Alberich tells Wotan:

“Be on your guard, you haughty god! If ever I sinned, I sinned freely against myself: but you, you immortal, will sin against all that ever was, is and shall be, if you brazenly wrest the ring from me now!”

Since Erda, i.e., Mother Earth (Nature), shortly thereafter tells Wotan: “How all things were – I know; how all things are, how all things will be, I see as well ... ,” it is clear that if Wotan co-opts the power of the human mind, represented by the Ring, to confirm the rule of the gods in Valhalla (i.e., the role of religious belief in human life), Wotan will be sinning against Erda (Nature), and specifically against her knowledge (i.e., the knowledge man could acquire from Nature). Religious belief in gods is therefore the [Page 38] ultimate example of the mind’s propensity to overreach, to deny nature’s truth, and is therefore the most potent expression of man’s unhealing wound, since religion cannot deliver on its promises.

Wagner provides a particularly apt description of our invention of a god who is freed from natural physical limitations as a “luxury”, a particularly disturbing and disruptive expression of man’s unhealing wound, the futile quest to overreach the possible in striving to satisfy our impulses. This remarkable passage links our invention of godhead, i.e., Wotan (“Light-Alberich”), directly with Alberich’s lust to acquire power by amassing a hoard of gold so he can dominate the world:

“[P. 76] Luxury is as heartless, inhuman, insatiable, and egoistic as the ‘need’ which called it forth, but which, with all its heaping-up [as expressed, say, in Alberich’s acquisition of his golden hoard] and overreaching, it never more can still. For this need itself is no natural and therefore satisfiable one ... . (...) ... it racks, devours, torments and burns, without an instant’s stilling; it leaves brain, heart and sense for ever vainly searching, and swallows up all gladness, mirth, and joy of life ... . And this fiend, ... this need of Luxury ... (...) ... is the soul of that Industry which deadens men, to turn them to machines; ... the soul of our deistic Science, which hurls men down before an immaterial God, the product of the sum of intellectual luxury, for its consumption.” [#421W- {9-12/49} "The Artwork of the Future": PW Vol. I, p. 76-77]

In the following extracts from Feuerbach and Wagner we find that a key price man pays for the illusion that his mind, or spirit, can transcend its true source, Mother Nature, is that this illusion makes us long for an infinite bliss unencumbered by the contradictions and pains of real, physical life, a longing which can only be satisfied in imagination, not in reality. Such is the longing of Christians for immortality, and redemption from the sins of the flesh in paradise. We can’t help noting, by the way, how our initial extract by Feuerbach below seems to have provided Wagner with the inspiration for Tannhaeuser’s complaint to Venus in Act One of "Tannhaeuser," that he is tired of the eternal bliss her love offers, and that he would rather return to the real world where he knew pain and death, in order to praise her from afar. And as I noted previously, Klingsor’s Magic Garden and the Venusberg were closely linked in Wagner’s mind:

(6C) [FEUERBACH] “What am I if I cut my bond with the earth? A phantom ... . Man has many wishes that he does not really wish to fulfill ... . He wants them to remain wishes, they have value only in his imagination; their fulfillment would be a bitter disappointment to him. Such a desire is the desire for eternal life. If it were fulfilled, man would become thoroughly sick of living eternally, and yearn for death.” [#311F- LER: p. 277]

[Page 39]

It seems self-evident that Amfortas’s complaint against the holy Grail (which compels him to suffer his unhealing wound for eternity since the sight of the Grail makes him immortal), stems from Feuerbach’s critique of the concept of immortality. We can see this in Wagner's’description of Amfortas’s plight below:

(6D) [WAGNER] “ ... it is Anfortas who is the centre of attention and principal subject [in ‘Parsifal’]. (...) ... the wretched man knows of no other longing in his terrible pain than the longing to die [just as Wotan confesses to Bruennhilde that all he longs for now is “das Ende”]; in order to attain this supreme solace, he demands repeatedly to be allowed a glimpse of the Grail in the hope that it might at least close his wounds ... : but the Grail can give him but one thing only, ... that he cannot die; its very sight increases his torments by conferring immortality upon them. (...) ... his whole soul now yearns, again and again, to behold the vision that destroys him in the very act of worship, vouchsafing heavenly salvation and eternal damnation!” [#669W-{5/30/59} Letter to Mathilde Wesendonck: SLRW, p. 456-458]

Note that in Wagner’s description above Amfortas can no longer distinguish heaven from hell. Similarly, one of the Esquires accompanying Gurnemanz tells Kundry: “... as yet we know not whether you are sacred.” Again we find here an expression of our theme that what formerly was unconscious, forbidden knowledge, that the spiritual realm of the Grail has an earthly origin, is now becoming conscious. Amfortas, then, Wagner’s figure for historical man, i.e., his figure for Wagner’s own audience, suffers from the unhealing wound, religious man’s sin against Mother Nature and her objective truth, thanks to Parsifal’s own art, which in his past lives (represented by the other Grail knights who have succumbed to Klingsor’s Flower-maidens, or muses) perpetuated religion’s sin against Mother Nature. Art, which heretofore had provided a temporary balm for man’s unhealing wound, is now ineffective and has actually become a curse for the artist and his audience, another embodiment of man’s unhealing wound. Like Amfortas, Wagner himself described his art as both his blessing and his curse:

[P. 359] I am only an artist: - that is my blessing and my curse: otherwise I should gladly become a saint ... [i.e., gladly become Parsifal, after his enlightenment].” [#644W-{8/23/56} Letter to August Roeckel: SLRW, p. 359]

We will see below that Klingsor’s self-castration is merely another representation of Amfortas’s unhealing wound.

[Page 40]


The following two extracts from Wagner illustrate why I believe that we can construe Klingsor’s Magic Garden, with its Flower-maiden seductresses who lure Grail Knights to their destruction, as Wagner’s metaphor for his latter-day critique of his own art. In the first, Wagner describes his art as artificial, “... like a tropical plant in the winter garden ... ,” a refuge from reality, which seems an apt description of Klingsor’s Magic Garden of illusions, which Parsifal dispels at the end of Act Two:

(7A) [WAGNER] “How shall I feel when I again sit, whole and solitary, at this miraculous loom [i.e., his return to composing the music for the ‘Ring’]. It is the only thing that befits me. The world I cannot shape, I must merely forget: this is the only relationship I can stand in towards it. Wholly artificially, like a tropical plant in the winter garden, I must shut myself off against the atmosphere of reality, there is no other way.” [#710W-{8/19/65} BB, p. 39]

Wagner’s following description of Klingsor’s Magic Castle (Garden) is very much in the spirit of our extract above describing Wagner’s own art:

(7B) [WAGNER] “Beyond the mountain height ... there lies another castle, as secret as it is sinister. (...) The Godly take care not to approach it. But whoever does approach cannot withstand the anxious longing that lures him towards the gleaming battlements towering from the never-before-seen splendour of a most wonderful forest of flowering trees, out of which magically sweet birdsong and intoxicating perfumes pour upon all around. – This is Klingsor’s magic castle. (...) The castle is his work, raised miraculously in what was previously a desolate place with only a hermit’s hut upon it. Where now, in a most luxuriant and heady fashion, all blooms and stirs as on an eternal early-summer evening ... . (...) [P. 48] It is supposed that Klingsor is the same man who once so piously inhabited the place now so changed: - he is said to have mutilated himself in order to destroy that sensual longing which he never completely succeeded in overcoming through prayer and penance.” [#712W-{8/28/65}BB, p. 47 – 48]

When Wagner describes above Klingsor’s Magic Castle (i.e., Garden), where “... all blooms and stirs as on an eternal early-summer evening ...,” we are reminded of the Wahn-filled atmosphere of the mid-Summer’s Festival of art in "The Mastersingers of Nuremberg." But Wagner’s additional remark that Klingsor’s Castle was raised miraculously in a previously desolate place is Wagner’s way of informing us that out of Christian belief, which renounces the real world and the body, the habitat of sin, in
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