was particularly fond of Don Juan (as Mendelssohn
assures us, 1831); Stendhal, too, who says of himself: "Combien de
lieues ne ferais-je pas Ã pied, et Ã combien de jours de prison ne me
soumetterais-je pas pour entendre _Don Juan ou le Matrimonio segreto_;
et je ne sais pour quelle autre chose je ferais cet effort." He was
then fifty-six years old.
The borrowed forms, for instance: Brahms as a typical "Epigone,"
likewise Mendelssohn's cultured Protestantism (a former "soul" is
turned into poetry posthumously ...)
--the moral and poetical substitutions in Wagner, who used _one_ art as
a stop-gap to make up for what another lacked.
--the "historical sense," inspiration derived from poems, sagas.
--that characteristic transformation of which G. Flaubert is the most
striking example among Frenchmen, and Richard Wagner the most striking
example among Germans, shows how the romantic belief in love and the
future changes into a longing for nonentity in 1830-50.
How is it that German music reaches its culminating point in the age of
German romanticism? How is it that German music lacks Goethe? On the
other hand, how much Schiller, or more exactly, how much "Thekla" is
there not in Beethoven!
Schumann has Eichendorff, Uhland, Heine, Hoffman, Tieck, in him.
Richard Wagner has FreischÃ¼tz, Hoffmann, Grimm, the romantic Saga,
the mystic Catholicism of instinct, symbolism, "the free-spiritedness
of passion" (Rousseau's intention). The _Flying Dutchman_ savours of
France, where _le tÃ©nÃ©breux_ (1830) was the type of the seducer.
_The cult of music,_ the revolutionary romanticism of form. Wagner
_synthesises_ German and French romanticism.
[Footnote 5: Thekla is the sentimental heroine in Schiller's
From the point of view only of his value to Germany and to German
culture, Richard Wagner is still a great problem, perhaps a German
misfortune: in any case, however, a fatality. But what does it
matter? Is he not very much more than a German event? It also
seems to me that to no country on earth is he less related than to
Germany; nothing was prepared there for his advent; his whole type
is simply strange amongst Germans; there he stands in their midst,
wonderful, misunderstood, incomprehensible. But people carefully avoid
acknowledging this: they are too kind, too square-headed--too German
for that. "Credo quia absurdus est": thus did the German spirit wish
it to be, in this case too--hence it is content meanwhile to believe
everything Richard Wagner wanted to have believed about himself. In all
ages the spirit of Germany has been deficient in subtlety and divining
powers concerning psychological matters. Now that it happens to be
under the high pressure of patriotic nonsense and self-adoration, it is
visibly growing thicker and
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