A Novel Around Tristan and Isolde

The Metropolitan Case a novel with Tristan and Isolde at the center.

As one who learned to love Wagner early on in life, this sounds fascinating.  I'm given to understand that Wagner, like Lovecraft, Poe, and some others (perhaps even Mozart) is a taste acquired early on, and after a certain age, while appreciation may set in, true love is lost to one who hasn't already fallen.


  1. I don't know. I teach Wagner's Ring as a work of literature in my medievalism course, and it's true that I appreciate Wagner's artistry but will never really love his work. On the other hand, one of my former students, a construction safety foreman in his 50s, told me the last time I saw him that my course turned him into a Wagner fanatic. Apparently he now seeks out old LPs and blasts them throughout the house, to the bemusement of his wife and stepson! So an autumn romance with Wagner, while rare, is not impossible.

  2. Dear Jeff,

    Of course. And mine was a generalization lifted from another's observation, which may, on the whole, not prove to be true at all. The person making the statement said that she had never acquired the taste for Mozart (an end I have difficulty even imagining.)

    I, on the other hand, fell in love with Wagner very early on and despite good reason (ugly anti-semitism, etc.) to fall back out of love, I never have. His ravishing near-atonalism and the complexity of his post-romantic romanticism can be bewitching. Add to that that he chose as central themes some of my favorite literature--The Ring, Tristan and Isolde, Parsifal, The Flying Dutchman.

    Additionally, like Goethe's _Sorrows of Young Werther_, there is about his music the ability to articulate the interior angst and battle.

    But your point is well taken, and it wise to consider that, like any generalizations, at the end, if one were to have all of the data, what I've said above may be more frequently untrue than true. I believe it, but I'm not convinced that it is true--it's just a good working hypothesis to explain some observations.



  3. Steven -- I actually think your generalization works; I just do love exceptions! For me, Mehta's Highlights from The Ring gives me all the Wagner I need during long car trips, but I suppose he beguiled me, too. Several years ago, I intended to assign only a few pages of The Ring and to make a passing reference to his influence as a medievalist. Of course, once I did the necessary research, I ended up devoting four weeks of class time to reading The Ring in its entirety. I find Wagner's political and social views preposterous, when when you get down to the character level, he has, I think, a keen sense of individual human quirks and failings and the often-tenuous relationships between brothers, spouses, friends, etc. I suppose I'm just glad that my cold appreciation, disguised as it is behind devil's advocacy in the classroom, didn't prevent a student from finding the composer he'd been waiting for all his life.


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