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Wagner-Art-Revolution

Wagner-Art-Revolution - what it calls civilization into...

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Unformatted text preview: what it calls civilization into their midst, i.e., to become bourgeois themselves. In one word, it creates a world after its own image. The bourgeoisie has subjected the country to the rule of the towns. It has created enormous cities, has greatly increased the urban population as compared with the rural, and has thus rescued a considerable part of the population from the idiocy of rural life. Just as it has made the country dependent on the towns, so it has made barbarian and semi—barbarian countries dependent on the civilized ones, nations of peasants on nations of bourgeois, the East on the West. [. . .] Of all the classes that stand face to face with the bourgeoisie today, the proletariat alone is a really revolutionary class. The other classes decay and finally disappear in the face of modern industry; the proletariat is its special and essential product. [. . .] What the bourgeoisie, therefore, produces, above all, is its own grave—diggers. Its fall and the victory of the proletariat are equally inevitable. [...] 3 RICHARD WILHELM WAGNER (1813—83) FROM ’ART AND REVOLUTION’ 1849 German comporer and writer. Even in bit early operatic Rienzi (7842) and The Flying Dutchman (7843), Wogiier 2m: experimenting wit/9 tbe integration of music and drama. Mite/9 of bit rubreqaeflt reputation i5 bored 012 bit innovation; in tbi: field. Hi; Mayor waiver, The Ring of the Nibelung (completed in 78 7 6) and Tristan and Isolde (7865), eoiboefi/ bi; ideal ofa mdieally flew artfor/ii bated on tbe goitberir of dramatic, verbal and marital gimbolirm. [it tbe following extraetfiow 2471‘ and Reoolation’ (written in 7849 and tram/med by Lea/12m Arbtoii Ellie/or tbe 7892 publication of Richard Wagner’s Prose \‘Vorks: Vol. I), Wagoer game; of tbe need for tbe emotion of ‘tbe petfleetAfl-woné’ or tbefzelfilmeiit of tbe reooliitionmy goal ofroeial and tall/mil regeneration. [~-] The perfect Art—work, the great united utterance of a free and lovely public life, the Drama, Trageifil, - howsoever great the poets who have here and there indited tragedies « is not yet born again: for reason that it cannot be re-bom, but must be born anew. Only the great Rex/elation (fr/Mankind, whose beginnings erstwhile shattered Grecian Tragedy, can win for us this Artwork. For only this Revolution can bring forth from its hidden depths, in the new beauty of a noblet. Universalism, tbizt which it once tore from the conservative spirit of a time of beautiful but narrow'meted culture — and 4 tearing it, engulphed. ‘ But only Revolution, not slavish Rertomtion, can give us back that highest Art—work. _, The task we have before us is immeasurably greater than that already accomplished in days of old. If the Grecian Art-work embraced the spirit of a fair and noble nation, the Art—work of the Future must embrace the spirit of a free mankind, delivered from i I; F’Wflf .- ' ' ”W":- THE MODERN IN CULTURAL, POLmCAL AND SCIENTIFIC THOUGHT , - 9 every shackle of hampering nationality; its racial imprint must be no more than an embellishment, the individual charm of manifold diversity, and not a cramping barrier. \‘Ue have thus quite other work to do, than to tinker at the resuscitation of old Greece. Indeed, the foolish restoration of a sham Greek mode of art has been attempted already, — for what will Our artists not attempt, to order? But nothing better than an inane patchwork could ever come of it — the offspring of the same juggling endeavour which we find evinced by the whole history of our official civilisation, seized as it is with a constant wish to avoid the only lawful endeavour, the striving after Nature. No, we do not wish to revert to Greekdom; for what the Greeks knew not, and, knowing not, came by their downfall: that know we. It is their very fall, whose cause we now perceive after years of misery and deepest universal suffering, that shows us clearly what we should become; it shows us that we must love all men before we can rightly love ourselves, before we can regain true joy in our own personality. From the dishonouring slave—yoke of universal journeymanhood, with its sickly Money-soul, we wish to soar to the free manhood of Art, with the star—rays of its World-soul; from the weary overburdened daylabourers of Commerce, we desire to grow to fair strong men, to whom the world belongs as an eternal, inexhaustible source of the highest delights of Art. To this end we need the mightiest force of Revolution; for only that revolutionary force can boot us which presses forward to the goal — to that goal whose attainment alone can justify its earliest exercise upon the disintegration of Greek Tragedy and the dissolution of the Athenian State. But whence shall we derive this force, in our present state of utmost weakness? Whence the manly strength against the crushing pressure of a civilisation which disowns all manhood, against the arrogance of a culture which employs the human mind as naught but steampower for its machinery? Whence the light with which to illumine the gruesome ruling heresy, that this civilisation and this culture are of more value in themselves than the true living Man? — that Man has worth and value only as a tool of these despotic abstract powers, and not by virtue of his manhood? When the learned physician is at the end of his resources, in despair we turn at last to — Nair/re. Nature, then, and only Nature, can unravel the skein of this great world—fate. If Culture, starting from the Christian dogma of the worthlessness of human nature, disown humanity: she has created for herself a foe who one day must inevitably destroy her, in so far as she no longer has place for manhood; for this foe is the eternal, and only living Nature. Nature, Human Nature, will proclaim this law to the twin sisters Culture and Civilisation: ‘So far as I am contained in you, shall ye live and flourish; so far as I am not in you, shall ye rot and die!’ In the man—destroying march of Culture, however, there looms before us this happy result: the heavy load with which she presses Nature down, will one day grow so ponderous that it lends at last to down—trod, never—dying Nature the necessary impetus to hurl the whole cramping burden from her, with one sole thrust; and this heaping up of Culture will thus have Mug/it to Nature her own gigantic force. The releasing of this force is — Reva/2115077. In what way, then, does this revolutionary force exhibit itself in the present social crisis? Is it not in the mechanic’s pride in the moral consciousness of his labour, as opposed to the criminal passivity or immoral activity of the rich? Does he not wish, as in revenge, to elevate the principle of labour to the rank of the one and orthodox religion of society? To force the rich like him to work, —— like him, by the sweat of their brow to gain their daily bread? Must we not fear that the exercise of this compulsion, the recognition of this principle, would raise at last the man-degrading journeymanhood to an absolute and universal might, and — to keep to our chief theme — would straightway make of Art an impossibility for all time? In truth, this is the fear of many an honest friend of Art and many an upright friend of men, whose only wish is to preserve the nobler core of our present civilisation. But they mistake the true nature of the great social agitation. They are led astray by the windy theories of our socialistic doctrinaires, who would fain patch up an impossible compact with the present conditions of society. They are deceived by the immediate utterance of the indignation of the most suffering portion of our social system, behind which lies a deeper, nobler, natural instinct: the instinct which demands a worthy taste of the joys of life, whose material sustenance shall no longer absorb man’s whole life— forces in weary service, but in which he shall rejoice as Man. Viewed closer, it is thus the straining from journeymanhood to artistic manhood, to the free dignity of Man. It is for Art therefore, and Art above all else, to teach this social impulse its noblest meaning, and guide it toward its true direction. Only on the shoulders of this great social movement can true Art lift itself from its present state of civilised barbarianism, and take its post of honour. Each has a common goal, and the twain can only reach it when they recognise it jointly. This goal is [/96 t/rongfarr Man, to whom Reno/anon shall give his Strength, and Ari his Beaagy/ 4 CHARLES DARWIN (1809—82) FROM THE ORIGIN OF SPECIES BY MEANS OF NATURAL SELECTION 1859 Eng/fro naturally. Sacked rnea’z'rine aZ Edinburg/y and biology at Cambridge. A: a natara/z'rz‘ aboard HMJ‘ Beagle, Darn/in too/éparz‘ in a Haj/ear ( 7 8 3 7H3 6 ) yorenz‘z'fir marry afford/9 American water; andpna/z'J/rtd mam] war/er on tbegeo/ogrra/ ana’ zoologz'ra/ drrrorrerz‘er oft/Jar voyage. Hirgreaz‘projm‘ war #96 r'nzrertz'gaz‘z'on of 1/76 origin ofrberrar, on arm/9 be rzroreea’for worm/years, a/tboag/o a; new war notpab/z'rbea’ until 7 859. The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection put forward a #9609! of evolution air/air}; war bot/9 rontrozrorna/ ana’ org/942 influential thong/90w Enrope. I n later works, Darwin prod/road supplements to rm angina! treatise, [/99 wort inrbon‘anf (and again controversial) afar/9rd] war The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex ( 78 7 7 ) ti If under changing conditions of life organic beings present individual differences in almost every part of their structure, and this cannot be disputed; if there be, owing to their geometrical rate ofincrease, a severe struggle for life at some age, season, or year, and this certainly cannot be disputed; then, considering the infinite complexity of the ...
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