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10 - Gender and Sexuality

from Part III - Interpretations

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 September 2020

Mark Berry
Affiliation:
Royal Holloway, University of London
Nicholas Vazsonyi
Affiliation:
Clemson University, South Carolina
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Summary

Gender and sexuality were crucial to Wagner’s Ring even before a note was written; his aesthetic theories for nascent music drama were gendered from the start, with text the male sperm that fertilizes music-as-woman. Wagner’s attitudes to gender were in many ways typical of his time, with active man situated above passive woman in the biological and social hierarchy. But his works are more complex and even found supporters among contemporary feminists. In fact, it is often his female characters who act, not the men, and it is the women who restore order when men trigger chaos. Wagner himself saw correlations between his sexual life and his work; we here examine instances of congruence and incongruence. We also consider how Wagner’s approach to sexuality in his works influenced the composers, writers and artists who came after him.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2020

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  • Gender and Sexuality
  • Edited by Mark Berry, Royal Holloway, University of London, Nicholas Vazsonyi, Clemson University, South Carolina
  • Book: The Cambridge Companion to Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen
  • Online publication: 18 September 2020
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781316258033.012
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  • Gender and Sexuality
  • Edited by Mark Berry, Royal Holloway, University of London, Nicholas Vazsonyi, Clemson University, South Carolina
  • Book: The Cambridge Companion to Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen
  • Online publication: 18 September 2020
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781316258033.012
Available formats
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Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Gender and Sexuality
  • Edited by Mark Berry, Royal Holloway, University of London, Nicholas Vazsonyi, Clemson University, South Carolina
  • Book: The Cambridge Companion to Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen
  • Online publication: 18 September 2020
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781316258033.012
Available formats
×