This German-born composer was quite possibly the most controversial musical figure of the 19th century. A great literary, philosophical, and political man as well as a musical talent, he pursued his artistic aims with ruthless determination in his public and private life as well as through his many critical and theoretical writings. His contribution to the development of the German Romantic opera included the training of a more dramatically powerful type of opera singer and the extension of thematic development. His life and works arouse passions like no other composer's and his works are hated as much as they are worshipped. The New Grove Wagner is a fascinating guide to this challenging, yet stimulating, composer.