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Penetrating Wagner's "Ring" Hardcover – 1 May 1983

31 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 453 pages
  • Publisher: Kluwer Academic / Plenum Publishers; New edition edition (1 May 1983)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0306762056
  • ISBN-13: 978-0306762055
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 15.4 x 3.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,945,739 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

217 of 223 people found the following review helpful By Agatha Thistletwat on 12 Jun. 2008
Format: Paperback
Previous explorations of Wagner's vast Ring piece have been unfulfilling, but Di Gaetani is unafraid to thrust deeply and energetically into this dark and forbidding cavern. A highly satisfying exploration leading the reader to a positively biblical understanding of Wagner's Ring.
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124 of 132 people found the following review helpful By Webster Forrest on 14 April 2010
Format: Paperback
Nothing can prepare you for the Ring. Its sublime textures, its dark passages, and its climactic final moments leave one exhausted and spent. In this groundbreaking work John L. DiGaetani succeeds in exploring what it takes to - literally - penetrate the Ring.

Wagner was a man of filthy personal habits and ate a very poor diet. He was grouchy and sometimes didn't leave his bed for days and days, even to wash. A lot of people think that this is why his Ring grew into something so enormous and troublesome. DiGaetani argues a contrary view: that the unmanagible size of Wagner's Ring is an act of Will - that it was the ultimate expression of Wagner's attempt to obliterate all that had gone before him that drove him to such excesses as inserting swords, helmets, anvils, speers and a giant worm into his Ring. The end result, argues DiGaetani, is a structure which although circular, runs red with blood and gives both seering pain and intense pleasure.

For me the greatest achievement of this book is the long section wherein the author gives guidance on how the Ring can be relevant to audiences today. In one passage guiding us through the subtext of Siegfried's death (he is impailed in the back by the rough and burly Hagen) he quite literally brings the viewer to the point of wishing to BE Siegfried and to die as that hero died, in a state of unqualified adoration and radiant bliss.

I would recommend this book for more serious Wagner scholars, as much of the material takes for granted an understanding of the structure, form, and perceived limits of those many layers of ancient sentiment which subconsciously adhere to the many inner recesses of this epic and awful work whose cavernous chambers lie hidden from the uninitiated. To penetrate the Ring prematurely would lead to a raw and ungratifying experience.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By JD on 13 Jun. 2014
Format: Paperback
I found this very hard-going indeed at first but I think I approached this from the wrong angle. Penetrating Wagner's ring is not for the beach nor is it one for last thing at night with a cup of warm cocoa. Certainly my wife didn't appreciate me investigating the ring piece at bed time and all the tossing and turning it took as I vainly tried to get into it. Alcohol might help next time. Maybe I'll give it another go after a stiff one and I might find penetrating Wagner's ring a much more pleasurable and satisfying experience. Bottoms up!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By RK on 12 Mar. 2015
Format: Paperback
I normally relegate such titles as this to the bottom of the pile but DiGaetani has sidestepped the windiness which has often beset critics approaching Wagner's Ring, and instead has successfully captured its rugged, mottled majesty in this rousing snapshot.

Some may feel intimidated by Wagner's colossal Ring and doubt that they have the staying power to engage with it for the full 16 hours. This is where DiGaetini comes in, he has bravely ventured into The Ring's dense terrain and emerged with a richly textured personal log. The samples are well chosen and cleanly presented, affording the reader an insight into the composer's psyche as well as an awed appreciation for the regularity and solidity of his output.

There are some drawbacks- some may bemoan a lack of fluidity in the central passages while others may note a certain bumpiness around the edges, but those that persevere will be rewarded with golden nuggets of the kind that could only be uncovered by a true Ring enthusiast.

Worth the effort.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By RingTacular on 23 Mar. 2013
Format: Paperback
I dipped my toe into Wagner's Ring as my first foray into the void. Needless to say, I was immediately gripped by the sudden, and all-encompassing gulf into which I had allowed myself. Feeling as if I had only scratched the surface of this sensitive tome, I elected to give my whole self to its delicate intricacies.

Through careful but precise probing, I was able to reach deeper, and deeper into the meanings of this great chasm. At times, the lubrication of curiosity was not enough, and I found myself forcing my way across the breech. The teeth-clenching agony, however, paid dividends, only to release pleasure immeasurable, that overwhelmed my being and drenched me with luxurious, thick euphoria.

Delving further into The Ring, I found myself aching for more. The Ring touched upon a part of me as no other had. Within myself, great spasms of joy were to be endured, at the behest of basal fury and guilt. Forceful education, unrelenting punishment and raw debasement were to be endured. Inevitably, The Ring would provide its sweet reward, a feeling of emptiness, ecstasy, and ultimately a relentless fulfillment that only a Ring of this size could offer.

I was left feeling distinctly unclean and incomplete after this experience, yearning for more, and feeling empty after such an ordeal. Hence, without option, I was forced to look deep within for access to my darker places. With practice and time this became steadily easier and less harrowing.
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