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date: 02 June 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This contribution will focus on three aspects of Wagner’s medievalism: the historic medievalism of Tannhäuser and Lohengrin, set in a recognizable historical framework but also invoking the aura of the Middle Ages through marvel and miracle; the mythical medievalism of the Ring cycle where Nordic myth displaces the more familiar sphere of the medieval Nibelungenlied; and finally the civic medievalism of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg where a medieval city is imagined in a way that glosses nineteenth-century issues of German patriotism, nationhood, and the relationship of the creative individual with the community of the people. Instead of focusing on Wagner’s relationship with and adaptation of his medieval sources, this essay will examine the kind of Middle Ages he created.

Keywords: Richard Wagner, Tannhäuser, Lohengrin, Der Ring des Nibelungen, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, nationalism, medievalism

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