Klett-Cotta-Verlag Psychology

Richard Wagner in Deutschland

Hitler, Knappertsbusch, Mann

Juli 2018, 22. Jahrgang, Heft 87, pp 92-98

Richard Wagner in Germany: Hitler, Knappertsbusch, Mann – Hans Rudolf Vaget’s book follows the trail of Thomas Mann’s assertion that the way to explain National Socialism was not so much by looking at political, economical or sociological factors, but rather that its genesis only became comprehensible if one sought to grasp its cultural and mentality history, recognizing it as a consequence of German art religion and musical idolatry, as well as an amoral aestheticism that found its home specifically in the German middle classes. The works of Wagner, he argued, were a particular crystallization point for this. Thomas Mann, who had himself been culturally socialized in this sense, but also given a certain immunization early on through the antidote of Nietzsche’s polemics, which allowed him to cultivate a modern, cosmopolitan view of Wagner, was able to recognize a ›brother‹ in Hitler, the other of the two inseparable faces of Germany, as it were. Vaget develops this analysis in detail through a parallel consideration of three personal histories (Hitler, Knappertsbusch, Mann) and extends it to the present day; for Hitler’s Wagner is also our Wagner.

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