Defending Wagner’s Italy

David J Trippett

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter in a book


The “nationalist rhetoric of Wagner and his works” (Grey 2002) has come to dominate our perception of the composer as staunchly and exclusively German. Yet his first published writings lauded Italian opera and singers, he maintained a lifelong allegiance to Bellinian melody, visited Italy no fewer than nine times, and was happy to die in Venice. This chapter explores Wagner’s concealed Italianism. It asks to what extent Wagner’s writings individuated common outsider perspectives on Italian identity—eroticism, sensuality (Sinnlichkeit), vitality, instinct, warmth—from figures such as Goethe and de Staël. And by charting the “discourse networks” surrounding Wagner’s literary encounters with Italy, it seeks to quality our Germanocentric view of Wagner.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Legacy of Richard Wagner
Place of PublicationTurnhaut
PublisherBrepols Publishers
Number of pages35
ISBN (Print)978-2-503-54613-1
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • Richard Wagner
  • Italy
  • sinnlichkeit
  • Goethe
  • Germaine de Stael
  • literary fantasy


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