A Kingdom Not of This World: Wagner, the Arts, and Utopian Visions in Fin-de-Siecle Vienna

Overview


Typically regarded as reflecting on a culture in social, political, or psychological crisis, the arts in fin-de-siècle Vienna had another side: they were means by which creative individuals imagined better futures and perfected worlds dawning with the turn of the twentieth century. As author Kevin C. Karnes reveals, much of this utopian discourse drew inspiration from the work of Richard Wagner, whose writings and music stood for both a deluded past and an ideal future yet to come. Illuminating this neglected ...
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Overview


Typically regarded as reflecting on a culture in social, political, or psychological crisis, the arts in fin-de-siècle Vienna had another side: they were means by which creative individuals imagined better futures and perfected worlds dawning with the turn of the twentieth century. As author Kevin C. Karnes reveals, much of this utopian discourse drew inspiration from the work of Richard Wagner, whose writings and music stood for both a deluded past and an ideal future yet to come. Illuminating this neglected dimension of Vienna's creative culture, this book ranges widely across music, philosophy, and the visual arts. Uncovering artworks long forgotten and providing new perspectives on some of the most celebrated achievements in the Western canon, Karnes considers music by Mahler, Schoenberg, and Alexander Zemlinsky, paintings, sculptures, and graphic art by Klimt, Max Klinger, and members of the Vienna Secession, and philosophical writings by Nietzsche, Schopenhauer, and Maurice Maeterlinck. Through analyses of artworks and the cultural dynamics that surrounded their creation and reception, this study reveals a powerful current of millennial optimism running counter and parallel to the cultural pessimism widely associated with the period. It discloses a utopian discourse that is at once beautiful, moving, and deeply disturbing, as visions of perfection gave rise to ecstatic artworks and dystopian social and political realities.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"[A] beautifully written volume." --Wagner Notes

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199957927
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 8/23/2013
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 1,108,017
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Kevin C. Karnes is Associate Professor of Music History and Chair of the Department of Music at Emory University. His books include Music, Criticism, and the Challenge of History and the revised and expanded edition of Brahms and His World.

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Table of Contents

Contents

Introduction

1. Fin-de-Siècle Vienna and the Utopian Imagination

2. Max Klinger, the Gesamtkunstwerk, and the Dream of a Third Kingdom

3. "All of Vienna has become Secessionistic": Longings of an Organization

4. Dreams of Transcendence, Fantasies of Control: Gustav Klimt

5. The Sacred Spring of Arnold Schoenberg and Alexander Zemlinsky

6. Gustav Mahler and the Promise of Return

Epilogue. Endings and Beginnings

Notes

Bibliography

Index

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