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Wagner Beyond Good and Evil$
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John Deathridge

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780520254534

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520254534.001.0001

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Configurations of the New

Configurations of the New

(p.209) 16. Configurations of the New
Wagner Beyond Good and Evil

John Deathridge

University of California Press

Wagner, whose output from the 1840s on stands in the shadow of the Young Hegelians and the beginnings of aesthetic modernity, has played a role in the history of the modern and the postmodern that has still to be properly assessed. This role is full of paradoxes and subtle shifts and countershifts. This chapter explores Wagner's “strong” belief in the Young Hegelian version of the power of history, which was the driving force behind his Zurich writings and the initial conception of the Ring. It also examines the idea that, especially after his discovery of Schopenhauer, this belief went hand in hand with a “weak” modification of the notion of the new as a perpetual critical overcoming of tradition, which brought him closer to the subversive strategies of postmodern thought than he is usually thought to be.

Keywords:   Wagner, Young Hegelians, aesthetic modernity, postmodern, Schopenhauer

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