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4 August 1988
Eros Revived: Erotica of the Enlightenment in England and America 
by Peter Wagner.
Secker, 498 pp., £30, March 1988, 0 436 56051 8
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’Tis Nature’s Fault: Unauthorised Sexuality during the Enlightenment 
edited by Robert Purks Maccubin.
Cambridge, 260 pp., £25, March 1988, 0 521 34539 1
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The New Eighteenth Century: Theory, Politics, English Literature 
edited by Felicity Nussbaum and Laura Brown.
Methuen, 320 pp., £28, February 1988, 0 416 01631 6
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... The description of this prime young filly, taken from the Edinburgh publication A Genuine List of Sporting Ladies (c. 1770) is typical of many entries from whores’ directories included by PeterWagner in Eros Revived. Harris’s List of Covent Garden Ladies, published regularly between 1760 and the early 1790s, prided itself on providing up-to-date information for the sporting gentlemen of ...
11 February 1993
Wagner​ in Performance 
edited by Barry Millington and Stewart Spencer.
Yale, 214 pp., £19.95, July 1992, 0 300 05718 0
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WagnerRace and Revolution 
by Paul Lawrence Rose.
Faber, 304 pp., £20, June 1992, 9780571164653
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Wagner​ Handbook 
edited by Ulrich Müller and Peter​ Wapnewski, translated by John Deathridge.
Harvard, 711 pp., £27.50, October 1992, 0 674 94530 1
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Richard Wagner’s Visit to Rossini and An Evening at Rossini’s in Beau-Séjour 
by Edmond Michotte, translated by Herbert Weinstock.
Quartet, 144 pp., £12.95, November 1992, 9780704370319
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... The bewildering variety of interests and standards in Wagner scholarship (or what passes for it) is congenitally resistant to study.’ Thus John Deathridge, the leading Wagner scholar of the English-speaking world, at the beginning of his chapter on Wagner research in the Wagner Handbook. It so learned and au courant a scholar as Deathridge is daunted by trying to make ...
11 April 2013
... desk. He wrote: ‘Out of a profane god I have made myself a symbol exhorting decency in life. For death is the real terminus that yields to no one.’Like anyone who has spent time thinking about Wagner, I have inevitably come back to the subject of boundaries and limits, and in particular to questions about the boundary that lies between Wagner’s works and his listeners, and about the experience ...
3 March 1983
The Bayreuth Ring 
BBC2, October 1982Show More
directed by Hans-Jürgen Syberberg.
Edinburgh Film Festival, September 1982
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by Lucy Beckett.
Cambridge, 163 pp., £9.95, August 1981, 0 521 22825 5
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Wagner​ and Literature 
by Raymond Furness.
Manchester, 159 pp., £14.50, February 1982, 0 7190 0844 1
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Wagner​ to ‘The Waste Land’: A Study of the Relationship of Wagner​ to English Literature 
by Stoddart Martin.
Macmillan, 277 pp., £20, June 1982, 0 333 28998 6
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Wagner​ and Aeschylus: ‘The Ring’ and ‘The Oresteia’ 
by Michael Ewans.
Faber, 271 pp., £12.50, July 1982, 0 571 11808 9
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... revenge for the Franco-Prussian War. The Boulez-Chéreau Ring has also been described, more preposterously, as ‘the Ring of the century’ – an accolade which plainly belongs to the 1951 Wieland Wagner production which inaugurated the ‘New Bayreuth’. Musically, the Boulez Ring cannot compare with Furtwängler’s La Scala performance or Knappertsbusch’s 1957 cycle, both available on record ...
5 February 1981
by Norman Stone.
Hodder, 195 pp., £6.95, August 1980, 0 340 24980 3
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Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf’ in Britain and America: A Publishing History 1930-39 
by James Barnes and Patience Barnes.
Cambridge, 158 pp., £8.50, September 1980, 0 521 22691 0
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The Berlin Secession: Modernism and Its Enemies in Imperial Germany 
by Peter​ Paret.
Harvard, 262 pp., £10.50, December 1980, 0 674 06773 8
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German Romantic Painting 
by William Vaughan.
Yale, 260 pp., £19.95, October 1980, 0 300 02387 1
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... subtitle in full is that it is symptomatic of one of our intellectual age’s grand delusions – of the belief that Hitler has a specific history in German Romanticism. It is a delusion which Peter Paret and especially William Vaughan are quite ready to take for reality, while Norman Stone’s own dreams about ‘the positive qualities of Hitler, his real achievements’ (thus Professor J.H ...
19 February 1981
Culture and Value 
by Ludwig Wittgenstein, edited by G.H. von Wright, Heikki Nyman and Peter​ Winch.
Blackwell, 94 pp., £9.50, September 1980, 0 631 12752 6
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... pertain to a wide variety of topics, including music, art, architecture, poetry, dreams, humour, culture, civilisation, philosophy, faith, God, talent, originality, Shakespeare, Beethoven, Schubert, Wagner. It seemed to Georg Henrik Von Wright, one of Wittgenstein’s literary executors, that many of these reflections would be of interest to people who would not read Wittgenstein’s philosophical work ...


Peter​ Barham: Henry Cotton

18 August 2005
Madhouse: A Tragic Tale of Megalomania and Modern Medicine 
by Andrew Scull.
Yale, 360 pp., £18.95, May 2005, 0 300 10729 3
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... the interwar years, in medicine as in other spheres, notions that blurred the boundary between the scientific and the criminal, the professional and the political. Scull recounts the story of Julius Wagner von Jauregg, who was threatened with prosecution for the barbaric electrical treatment he had inflicted on recalcitrant soldiers in the First World War. He was rescued by Freud, who helped turn ...

Doing Some Measuring ahead of Time

Richard Davenport-Hines: Sade in Prison

9 August 2001
Letters from Prison 
by the Marquis de Sade, translated by Richard Seaver.
Harvill, 401 pp., £20, October 2000, 1 86046 807 1
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De Sade's Valet 
by Nikolaj Frobenius, translated by Tom Geddes.
Marion Boyars, 242 pp., £9.95, November 2000, 0 7145 3060 3
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... in 1784-85. The book was prison-cell pornography, but prison conditions had honed Sade’s interest in social issues, and he used sex in his writings as a way of describing power relations. As PeterWagner demonstrated in Eros Revived (1988), politicised pornography was an 18th-century commonplace. Sade’s pornography, as one would expect from a man who so calamitously lacked the power to ...

At the British Museum

Anne Wagner: Käthe Kollwitz

22 December 2019
... of 1903, which she exhibited at the Berliner Secession that year. ‘Woman with Dead Child’ (1903) Kollwitz modelled for this image in front of a mirror, sitting naked cradling her young son Peter. Her mouth is pressed to his chest as if, in the words of her friend Beate Bonus-Jeep, she is trying ‘to swallow back into herself the disappearing life that once belonged to her womb’. Peter ...
19 September 1996
The Nietzsche Canon: A Publication History and Bibliography 
by William Schaberg.
Chicago, 297 pp., £29.95, March 1996, 0 226 73575 3
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... seems shaky, the historic context he supplies is sparse. Still, the book is eminently useful, for it records Nietzsche’s devotional concern for his books. As his friend and helpmeet in publishing, Peter Gast (the familiar pseudonym for Heinrich Köselitz), wrote to him, probably after having seen early versions of passages from Ecce Homo (in a letter not cited in Schaberg’s book): ‘Life and ...

Cooking it up

Rupert Christiansen

19 January 1989
Maria: Callas Remembered 
by Nadia Stancioff.
Sidgwick, 264 pp., £13.95, April 1988, 0 283 99645 5
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Callas at Juilliard: The Master Classes 
by John Ardoin.
Robson, 300 pp., £16.95, April 1988, 0 86051 504 4
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Callas as they saw her 
edited by David Lowe.
Robson, 264 pp., £6.95, April 1988, 9780860514961
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The Great Caruso 
by Michael Scott.
Hamish Hamilton, 322 pp., £16.95, June 1988, 0 241 11954 5
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by Victor Borovsky.
Hamish Hamilton, 630 pp., £25, April 1988, 0 241 12254 6
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... satisfying our most atavistic pantomime cravings for the larger-than-life, and to keep caste as caviare to the general. This applies just as much to the self-confessed puritans of the genre (Gluck, Wagner, Birtwistle) as to the unapologetic sensualists (Handel, the Italians, Strauss): perhaps only Debussy in Pelléas et Mélisande has successfully transcended this fundamental crudity of impact. In the ...
30 December 1982
Carl Maria von Weber: Writings on Music 
edited by John Warrack, translated by Martin Cooper.
Cambridge, 402 pp., £35, December 1981, 0 521 22892 1
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... ller’s Die Schwestern von Prag scaled symphonic heights undreamed of by its creator in Beethoven’s Kakadu Variations for piano trio): but who today has heard of Bernard Anselm Weber’s Deodata, Peter von Winter’s Das Unterbrochene Opferfest, Friedrich von Drieberg’s Don Tacagno, Friedrich Himmel’s Fanchon, Anton Fischer’s Das Hausgesinde or Carl Ludwig Hellwig’s Die Bergknappen? One ...
5 June 1986
Agate: A Biography 
by James Harding.
Methuen, 238 pp., £12.95, April 1986, 0 413 58090 3
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Subsequent Performances 
by Jonathan Miller.
Faber, 253 pp., £15, April 1986, 0 571 13133 6
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... and then there may be an entirely different date which Miller has superimposed to give the audience a new idea. It is easiest to make such changes when the playwright is dead. John Osborne and Peter Nichols did not want Miller to alter their plays, but he was more fortunate when he directed Robert Lowell’s version of Aeschylus’s Prometheus Bound. Since Miller did not want to set this play in ...

Tomorrow is here again

Anne Wagner: The First Pop Age

11 October 2012
The First Pop Age 
by Hal Foster.
Princeton, 338 pp., £20.95, October 2011, 978 0 691 15138 0
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... an art ‘not of transformation but of transposition’, when transformation is art’s proper aim. Transposition of what? Foster begins his book with the pronouncement of the architects Alison and Peter Smithson: ‘Today we collect ads.’ For the first Pop artists this was an article of faith. Avid bottom-feeders, they scraped up regular doses of tabloid violence and pulp pornography, raiding the ...

When you’d started a world war

Blake Morrison: Walter Kempowski

20 June 2019
by Walter Kempowski, translated by Charlotte Collins.
Granta, 240 pp., £14.99, November 2018, 978 1 78378 352 6
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... element in All for Nothing is more conspicuous than in Homeland. There’s also a larger cast of characters but the central figure, and one of the few still alive at the end, is 12-year-old Peter, who the author readily admitted was a self-portrait, not least in his reluctance to be a Hitler Youth. The family home is a large estate, the Georgenhof, once affluent, less so since the war began ...

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