The Life of Richard Wagner, Vols. 1 - 4, 1813 - 1883     (Ernest Newman)
Item# B0662
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The Life of Richard Wagner, Vols. 1 - 4, 1813 - 1883     (Ernest Newman)
B0662. ERNEST NEWMAN. The Life of Richard Wagner, Vol. 1 - 4; Vol. 1 1813-1848 - 509pp. New York, Knopf, 1933; Vol. 2, 1848-1860 - 619pp. New York, Knopf, 1937; Vol. 3, 1859-1866 - 566pp. New York, Knopf, 1941; Vol. 4, 1866-1883 - 729pp. New York, Knopf, 1941 to 1946. Index; List of Sources; Illus.


"Ernest Newman's four-volume Life of Wagner, originally published between 1933 and 1947, remains a classic work of biography. The culmination of forty years' research on the composer and his works (Newman's first Study of Wagner was first published in 1899), these books present a detailed portrait of perhaps the most influential, the most controversial and the most frequently reviled composer in the whole history of western music. Newman was aware that no biography can ever claim to be complete or completely accurate: 'The biographer can at no stage hope to have reached the final truth. All he can do is to make sure that whatever statement he may make, whatever conclusion he may come to, shall be based on the whole of the evidence available at the time of writing’. In this aim he triumphantly succeeds.

In 1959, THE TIMES judged it ‘likely to remain the standard biography of Wagner in the English language’, and Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians commented in 2009, ‘it has still not been surpassed although research has uncovered much that is new’. While working on this study, he paused to write a book about Wagner's father-in-law, Franz Liszt (1934), but Newman was sharply critical of Liszt's character, and it has been maintained that the bias of the book ‘tarnished his critical integrity’.”