Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 20 October 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Richard Wagner’s explicit attempts at composing music for (or inspired by) Faust are a minor byproduct of his lifelong fascination with Goethe. More generally, the example of Faust provoked Wagner to continue thinking about the nature of theater, drama, and the possibilities of a “total dramatic artwork,” even after he had first formulated his ideas about a new musical-dramatic Gesamtkunstwerk in the essay Oper und Drama (1851). After reviewing Wagner’s critical engagement with Faust and his early compositional responses to it (the Sieben Kompositionen zu Goethes Faust [Seven Compositions on Goethe’s Faust] of 1830–31 and Eine Faust-Ouvertüre [A Faust Overture] of 1840, revised 1854–55), this chapter proposes some ways in which the endings of Wagner’s mature music dramas might be read as attempts to realize in operatic form the transfiguration through the agency of the “Eternal Feminine” that forms the apotheosis of part 2 of Goethe’s Faust.

Keywords: Faust, Goethe, Richard Wagner, Sieben Kompositionen zu Goethes Faust, Eine Faust-Ouvertüre, Gesamtkunstwerk, “Eternal Feminine”

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.