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Death-Devoted Heart – Sex and the Sacred in Wagner's Tristan and Isolde - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Death-Devoted Heart: Sex and the Sacred in Wagner's Tristan and Isolde

Roger Scruton


A tale of forbidden love and inevitable death, the medieval legend of Tristan und Isolde recounts the story of two lovers unknowingly drinking a magic potion and ultimately dying in one another's arms. While critics have lauded Wagner's Tristan und Isolde for the originality and subtlety of the music, they have denounced the drama as a “mere trifle”—a rendering of Wagner's forbidden love for Matilde Wesendonck, the wife of a banker who supported him during his exile in Switzerland. The book explodes this established interpretation, proving the drama to be more than just a sublimation of the co ... More

Keywords: forbidden love, Matilde Wesendonck, religious meaning, erotic love, tragedy, ritual sacrifice, redemption

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2004 Print ISBN-13: 9780195166910
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195166910.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Roger Scruton, author
Author Webpage