Review: Millington's "Lohengrin" material revised on 2/27/13

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Review: Millington's "Lohengrin" material revised on 2/27/13

Post by alberich00 » Wed Feb 27, 2013 1:48 pm

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

I have just completed what I hope will be my final revision of my review of essays Millington has written on "Lohengrin," including his chapter from his new book "The Sorcerer of Bayreuth," his paper published by the Seattle Opera online in 2005 entitled "Asking the Right Question," and a much earlier paper (which I just discovered among my tens of thousands of pages of Wagner-related materials in the basement) entitled "Elsa, Lohengrin and the Tell-Tale Halo," which shares 4 or five insights in common with Millington's subsequent papers and with my 5/95 "How Elsa showed Wagner the way to Siegfried."

I was unhappy with my review of Millington's papers on "Lohengrin" to begin with, feeling I needed to improve this and that and alter the tone a bit, and my discovery a couple of days ago of this paper which my correspondence indicates Andrew Gray sent to me about the time I was completing the 8/93 version of my own paper on "Lohengrin," "How Elsa showed Wagner the way to Siegfried," and was preparing to mail it to both Stewart Spencer and Barry Millington for review (Spencer eventually published a revised version of this paper in the 5/95 issue of WAGNER, the scholarly journal of the Wagner Society, now out of print, but reproduced by me verbatim in this discussion forum under the same title), was the final impetus for this latest revision. Millington's 1992 paper contains four or five insights also contained in my 1993 and 1995 papers, insights however which were either explicitly or implicitly contained in materials I sent to Stewart Spencer for review in a letter of 11/91. I bring all this to the reader's attention simply to confirm that Millington's 1992 paper and my concurrent work on my "Lohengrin" paper were entirely independent affairs, with evidently no influence either way. In any case I possess a paper with notes on my interpretation of "Lohengrin" which I copyrighted in 1991, which I will soon review to ascertain which of my insights from my 5/95 published version, especially those where a claim to priority of copyright might be contested, were already clearly stated there. This is important because I want to give other scholars their just due for their own original contributions, but I also wish to stake a claim to my own original contributions whenever I can prove prior date of copyright.

The four or five insights in question from Millington's 1992 paper are all, without exception, insights which a close reading of Wagner's 1851 essay "A Communication to my Friends" would provide any reader, and Millington and I have both drawn considerable inspiration from this material. Where my contribution is, I think, unique and original, is that I was able to construe from this same material a much more far-reaching assessment of its importance for our understanding of the conceptually coherent allegorical logic of Wagner's mature music-dramas. I was also able, in my humble opinion, to penetrate and explicate the implications of these insights for a greater understanding of the allegorical logic of "Lohengrin" itself, in much greater detail, and I feel also with more productive results, than any rival studies known to me. This feature is almost entirely missing from Millington's three papers (though I don't know whether or not Millington treated this subject in greater detail in published material at present unknown to me).

I hope my current revision of my eight-part commentary on Millington's papers on "Lohengrin" has done both him, and myself, justice.
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