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Death-Devoted HeartSex and the Sacred in Wagner's Tristan and Isolde$
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Roger Scruton

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780195166910

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195166910.001.0001

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(p.195) Epilogue
Death-Devoted Heart


Oxford University Press

This chapter presents some concluding thoughts from the author. Tristan und Isolde planted in the minds of modern artists a new vision of their goal, which was to present the secret regions of the psyche in ritualized and symbolic form. However, its far-reaching influence on French symbolism and English romanticism should not blind us to the fact that its most enduring artistic legacy is to be observed in the modernists. Without Tristan there would not be modern music or modern literature as we know them. Wagner devised a new task for art: to retrace the steps from romance back to ritual, to move backward from the open, self-explaining narrative to the rite in which the human truth can be shown but not told.

Keywords:   Wagner, Tristan und Isolde, modernists, romance, ritual

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