The Wagner Experience: and its meaning to us and over 2 million other books are available for Amazon Kindle . Learn more


or
Sign in to turn on 1-Click ordering.
Trade in Yours
For a £5.82 Gift Card
Trade in
More Buying Choices
Have one to sell? Sell yours here
Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Colour:
Image not available

 
Start reading The Wagner Experience: and its meaning to us on your Kindle in under a minute.

Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here, or download a FREE Kindle Reading App.

The Wagner Experience: And its meaning to us [Hardcover]

Paul Dawson-Bowling
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
RRP: £35.00
Price: £22.75 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
You Save: £12.25 (35%)
o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o
Only 7 left in stock (more on the way).
Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.
Want it tomorrow, 21 Sep.? Choose Express delivery at checkout. Details

Formats

Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition £10.50  
Hardcover £22.75  
Trade In this Item for up to £5.82
Trade in The Wagner Experience: And its meaning to us for an Amazon Gift Card of up to £5.82, which you can then spend on millions of items across the site. Trade-in values may vary (terms apply). Learn more

Book Description

7 May 2013
'People who take to the Wagner Experience encounter something wonderful, like gazing into a silver mirror which dissolves into a miraculous, self-contained world, glinting with life-changing possibilities. There are others who sense its appeal but find it difficult, and the first aim of this study is to provide an Open Sesame for anyone wanting it.'
From the author's introduction

In this bicentenary celebration of Wagner and his music, Paul Dawson-Bowling introduces, deepens and enriches the Wagner Experience for the newcomer and the seasoned Wagnerian alike. Expounding in colourful style the stories, the sources and the lessons of Wagner's great dramas, he offers unusual insights into the man, his works and their meaning, while grappling with the music's almost occult power.
Before taking us through the ten great dramas themselves, he discusses Wagner's formative experiences, his aspirations and his mentality; also his first wife Minna and her immense but unrecognised impact. This sets up lenses through which the reader may more accurately view not only Wagner the man and his less appealing aspects, but, more importantly, his stage works, since, as Dawson-Bowling insists, the best encounter with Wagner's dramas is the direct one.
Uniquely drawing on a lifetime's experience in General Medical Practice, the author brings a wisdom, humanity and psychological understanding to his study of the life and work of Wagner, with especial reference to the thought of Carl Jung.
Above all, this book draws out the vital lessons which Wagner's extraordinary, didactic dramas can offer us. It reveals their lessons as life-enhancing: capable of transforming our society, our lives and ourselves. There is no other book about Wagner quite like it.

Frequently Bought Together

The Wagner Experience: And its meaning to us + Richard Wagner: The Sorcerer of Bayreuth
Price For Both: £39.72

Buy the selected items together

Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought


Product details

  • Hardcover: 900 pages
  • Publisher: Old Street Publishing (7 May 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1908699434
  • ISBN-13: 978-1908699435
  • Product Dimensions: 24.6 x 16.8 x 8.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 384,920 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author


Paul Dawson-Bowling has lived all his life in the knowledge of Wagner. In 1958 when still a school-boy, he bicycled across Europe to Bayreuth for the Ring and those other great works of Wagner's maturity, Tristan und Isolde, Die Meistersinger, and Parsifal. However he is actually something of a polymath. He studied classics at school and classics and philosophy at Oxford, and joined the Civil Service for five years before beginning, aged 29, to train as a Doctor of Medicine. For thirty years he was consequently a family doctor at Faversham in East Kent, where he still lives.

In connection with Wagner he was over twenty-five years the main reviewer for Wagner News, the Journal of the English Wagner Society, of books, stage performances and recordings. His annual "Paul Dawson-Bowling Presentation" was for years a landmark event in the Society's London Calendar. He has also contributed to the journals of the Wagner Societies in North America and to Seattle Opera. He has lectured to The Music Club of London on subjects such as J S Bach's Passion Music and to the general London public on Wagner's Flying Dutchman. He has also published articles on Bruckner, notably an analysis in The Bruckner Journal of the Thematic and Tonal Unity in Bruckner's Eighth Symphony. Most important of all,the publication of his magnum opus, The Wagner Experience and Its Meaning to Us is the culmination of his lifelong determination to open up the Wagner Experience for those who find it difficult and to enable those already familiar with it to go further and deeper.

He is married to the harpsichordist, Elizabeth de la Porte, whose great love of Bach and Francois Couperin he shares. In retirement he remains a Trustee of the Sick Doctors Trust, and is a committee member and past President of the Brasenose Society (Brasenose College Oxford).

Product Description

Review

'Impressive . . . [Dawson-Bowling] throws light both on Wagner as a social being and on the works . . . It's not often one encounters references to Marie Stopes, The Hite Report and cunnilingus in commentaries on Tannhäuser, but Dawson-Bowling has much of interest to say about Elisabeth, and indeed Venus, in terms of sexual experience from a woman's point of view . . . The readability of The Wagner Experience is much enhanced by the clear typeface, with a generous number of superbly produced colour illustrations'
BARRY MILLINGTON, THE WAGNER JOURNAL

'The distillation a lifetime's work which has clearly been a labour of love, this book is organised as two beautifully illustrated volumes.'
Wagner News

'in every way remarkable... communicates essential truths and modes of understanding Wagner... [The Wagner Experience] is a wonderful culmination to a lifetime of devotion, and it deserves to be widely read and bought in large numbers. Any one reading [it] will have a well-informed, sympathetic, perceptive understanding of Wagner without any neglect of the more difficult aspects of his personality -- the egocentricity, the mood swings, the anti-Semitic prejudice.
John Derry, Professor Emeritus, University of Newcastle --...

About the Author

Paul Dawson-Bowling studied Classics and Philosophy at school and at Oxford. He worked for the Civil Service before leaving, at 29, to train as a Doctor of Medicine. For thirty years he was a family doctor in Kent. In retirement, he remains a trustee of the Sick Doctors Trust.
In 1958, when still a schoolboy, he bicycled across Europe for the Bayreuth Festival. For twenty-five years he has been a principal reviewer for Wagner News, and has published numerous articles on Wagner in the UK and America; he is also well known as a lecturer. He is married to the harpsichordist, Elizabeth de la Porte, whose great love of Bach and Couperin he shares.

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?


Customer Reviews

4 star
0
3 star
0
2 star
0
1 star
0
5.0 out of 5 stars
5.0 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The 21st Century Wagner "bible" 24 July 2013
Format:Hardcover
With 800 pages of text plus 100 more of illustrations, this monumental work invites comparison with Ernest Newman's 736 page The Wagner Operas, its predecessor by 64 years which provided this reviewer's epiphany regarding Wagner's canonical output. Wagner News readers who are familiar with the work of Paul Dawson-Bowling are likely to have positive expectations of his magnum opus. As one whose fairly diligent reading over the last 20 years or so has resulted in an accumulation of the "usual" yard and a half shelf-full of Wagner books I was not expecting The Wagner Experience (to use a less unwieldy version of its title) to provide me with another such epiphany. I should declare at the outset that it has succeeded in doing exactly that.

The distillation a lifetime's work which has clearly been a labour of love, this book is organised as two beautifully illustrated volumes. The first deals with Wagner's output as a whole and attempts (very successfully, in my view) to explain what the author terms "the miracle of the music". Those of us who struggle for coherence when asked what the secret is of Wagner's hold over the imagination and the intellect will find such chapters as the boldly-titled "Towards a definition of Wagner's fascination" to provide much assistance. One may have reacted sceptically to the pre-publication blurb which claimed that this is a book like no other on the subject, but the fact that it is written with the benefit of a lifetime's experience as a medical practitioner alone brings an abundance of justification for such a claim. The biographical chapters in particular provide a doctor's insight into Wagner's psychological development and the influences upon his work which can be traced back to his earliest childhood and beyond.
Read more ›
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fascinating Insight into Wagner 10 Aug 2014
By Colin W
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book gives an excellent and very detailed analysis of the meaning and music of Wagner's music dramas. It also gives a fascinating analysis of Wagner's life. The book is thoroughly researched using a host of sources. It places Wagner on the highest level of creative geniuses, a position he fully merits. Wagner's genius was universally recognised in his own day and for long after but, unfortunately, later fell victim to petty and unwarranted criticisms, many of them related to Wagner's personal lifestyle. As Paul Dawson-Bowling points out, other composers and artists behaved far worse than Wagner but their personal lives are simply ignored in appreciating their art.
My only slight criticism of the book is the use of the psychology of Freud, Jung and Alice Miller to analyse Wagner's childhood and personal development. I regard these theories as unscientific and the conclusions drawn as speculative, although interesting.
Each opera is given a detailed and penetrating study which sets it in the context of the ideas of Wagner's time as well as revealing the timeless qualities of the work.
In addition to all this, the book is very well written and thoroughly enjoyable on a variety of levels.
Highly recommended.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Wagner Experience: Quite simply the most inspiring book on Richard Wagner ever! 23 Nov 2013
By Daniel B. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is the book on Richard Wagner I have waiting to read all my life, and I am sure if you too are what Shaw "a perfect Wagnerite," you will agree. Too often people associate Wagner with Nazism as if he were a proto-Nazi, and then they get intellectually lazy and probe no further. Dawson-Bowling just by-passes this dead-end business,
because he has so many other brilliant issues to deal with. This statement, which appears in his opening paragraph, hooked me: "People who take to the Wagner Experience encounter something wonderful, like gazing into a silver mirror which dissolves into a miraculous, self-contained world, glinting with life-changing possibilities." Isn't that an inspiring focus for those of us under the spell of Wagner's art? Doesn't it articulate eloquently why we keep coming back to these ten operas, never tiring of repeated encounters, in fact continually discovering new riches. I read a section of Dawson-Bowling's book, then I turn on the appropriate passage and glory in the renewed appreciation his book fosters. I'm in no rush to finish reading it because its whole purpose is bring us back to listening to the music and reflecting on the text with a heightened awareness of Wagner's greatness. This is a two-volume set. The first, shorter volume develops his thesis on the Wagner Experience with a survey of his creativity; the second volume analyzes each of the music dramas according to his thesis. The sheer abundance of insights, interpretations and enthusiasm in volume two is breath-taking. What a gift Dawson-Bowling has given us! I would love to be a member of a study group slowly reading and discussing their way through this book. I have been listening to Wagner with delight and wisdom for fifty-three years, but this visionary book has exhilarated me and renewed me for another half-century at least of the Wagner Experience. Fellow Perfect Wagnerites, I know you're out there! Buy this book, read it, treasure it - Perpetuate the Wagner Experience!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Two beautifully illustrated volumes which represent the distillation of a lifetime's work 6 Feb 2014
By Mr. R. Lee - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
With 800 pages of text plus 100 more of illustrations, this monumental work invites comparison with Ernest Newman's 736 page The Wagner Operas, its predecessor by 64 years which provided this reviewer's epiphany regarding Wagner's canonical output. Wagner News readers who are familiar with the work of Paul Dawson-Bowling are likely to have positive expectations of his magnum opus. As one whose fairly diligent reading over the last 20 years or so has resulted in an accumulation of the "usual" yard and a half shelf-full of Wagner books I was not expecting The Wagner Experience (to use a less unwieldy version of its title) to provide me with another such epiphany. I should declare at the outset that it has succeeded in doing exactly that.

The distillation a lifetime's work which has clearly been a labour of love, this book is organised as two beautifully illustrated volumes. The first deals with Wagner's output as a whole and attempts (very successfully, in my view) to explain what the author terms "the miracle of the music". Those of us who struggle for coherence when asked what the secret is of Wagner's hold over the imagination and the intellect will find such chapters as the boldly-titled "Towards a definition of Wagner's fascination" to provide much assistance. One may have reacted sceptically to the pre-publication blurb which claimed that this is a book like no other on the subject, but the fact that it is written with the benefit of a lifetime's experience as a medical practitioner alone brings an abundance of justification for such a claim. The biographical chapters in particular provide a doctor's insight into Wagner's psychological development and the influences upon his work which can be traced back to his earliest childhood and beyond.

The work and life of "the supreme artist of dramatic psychology" are illuminated for the author by the psychologist Carl Jung. We are told that Wagner never escaped a compulsive tendency to be self-centred to its pathological point of narcissism. "Narcissists are often aware of exactly how different people work and how they are likely to respond, but exploit this awareness overwhelmingly for their own interests." So Wagner came to have an insight and a feeling for character that was extraordinary, "as outsiders often do".

Throughout the book original angles of approach provide freshness, but one chapter in particular may come to be seen as revolutionary. Would you have expected "Femme inspiratrice, femme fatale" to be about Minna Wagner? With this chapter the author has to justify its opening sentence: "Of all the experiences which went into the making of Wagner, Minna Planer was the most far-reaching." He adds: "The importance of her role is impossible to exaggerate, and yet it goes unrecognised." The 39 meticulously researched pages which follow cover the ground of comparing her influence with that of Cosima Wagner. Although he concedes; "It was Cosima that made possible what is for me the most extraordinary achievement of Wagner's life, the fulfilment of Parsifal down to its staging within a year of his death." He continues: "It was Minna who became the source of all the heroines in Wagner's dramas. Cosima, and briefly Mathilde, would re-invigorate the paradigm of woman as life's ultimate fulfilment which Minna had instilled in Wagner. But it was Minna who had forged it in the first place."

The chapter: "Puzzles, Obstructions and Objections" addresses the matter of the hostility which the music itself can call up. "When Wagner stirs the depths what comes welling up can be ecstatic and liberating, but it can also take the disturbing form of dark phantoms that come screaming out of the blackness. Not many people are happy to recognise any shadow or disunities in themselves." He explains that this is not the only inner problem which some people foist outwards onto Wagner. Another objection to Wagner apparently represents another pathology: "it is bound up with the lure that Wagner holds for anyone who is looking for shortcomings in greatness and feels satisfaction from finding them. To do this is the mark of a neurosis, a compensation mechanism for people who cannot accept that others exist who are more significant than they are themselves. Wagner's towering greatness and his great faults provide these people with a ready target." Two important refutations are adroitly provided in this chapter, namely that Wagner's political views ("he always remained far away to the left") were in some way compatible with Hitler's and that the composer's anti-Semitism is present in his musical output. We are provided with a useful tool to test the work to determine whether or not it qualifies as "anti-Semitic art".

Volume 2 is a guide to each of the ten "great dramas". The author throws medically-informed illumination upon many of Wagner's characterisations in a 21st Century handbook which is likely to become as indispensible as that of Ernest Newman. The author avoids dry presentations of the stories by integrating narrations with the points of discussion which they generate at the very places in the plots where they come up as he does with the music examples. Those who are unable to read musical notation are catered for with the verbal descriptions of motives, etc which are also provided.

Space allows the picking of no more than a couple of exemplar cherries. Remember that each of the following claims have closely-argued support. We are told that, thanks to its music, "Tristan und Isolde describes romantic love and erotic passion more vividly than any other story or description in existence. Because of the music Tristan und Isolde is more than a description; it creates the actual feeling within us. Through the music it creates the very experience in the imagination. It conjures up all that love might be, even for people who have never known it, switching on the mind to ecstatic possibilities that may previously be unimagined but are innate, and to the hope that they may be realised."
Of the author's favourite work, Parsifal, he writes: "Our encounter with Montsalvat comes with a demand that we accept its standards for actual life. The experience of Parsifal enjoins kindness, compassion, loyalty, generosity, integrity, responsibility, a willingness to get involved and act, and a willingness to leave well alone."

Paul Dawson-Bowling has written powerfully succinct conclusions to the Volume 2 chapters, each covering one of the great music dramas. If I may be permitted an editorly quibble it is that, with one exception, (Parsifal) the effect is spoiled by the fact that before the reader can sit back and contemplate the chapter now completed it starts up again with a list of performers of the work's first performance at Bayreuth! Let me challenge the wisdom of this editorial decision with the example of Götterdämmerung. Who would want to move on to the 1876 cast list immediately upon reading the following? "The Ring as a whole is a compelling validation of human existence, a secular redemption. Simply to have lived life in all its richness and variety is an experience of such value that is not negated by the fact that it must end. The prospect of it ending does create a degree of regret; yes, that is there in The Ring's final eight bars; but it still establishes the conviction that to have lived life is an experience so worthwhile that not even the prospect of total, eternal oblivion can detract from that worthwhileness."

Roger Lee: Editor, Wagner News
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting and enthusiastic reference work 2 Feb 2014
By rwu - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The only reason to give this only 4 stars is my disappointment that it covers in detail only the "mature" works, starting with "Holländer" and gives scant attention to "Rienzi" and the two youthful operas. At least "Rienzi" deserves better attention, in my opinion. It is worth noting that there are indications that a more thorough proofreading might have helped avoid some of the incomplete sentences (a few missing verbs,for instance), and syntax problems. However, what is here is beautifully presented, with many illustrations. This is certainly a work that every Wagner enthusiast must consider for his or her library. Two volumes in a slipcase.
5.0 out of 5 stars Wagner is a refreshment to the human spirit. 24 April 2014
By Frank J. O'Connor - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This in a nutshell is the thesis of Paul Dawson-Bowling's remarkable two volume work on the life and work of Richard Wagner. This is at the same time one of the most perceptive and sympathetic accounts of the Titan I've ever read. Bravo.
Were these reviews helpful?   Let us know
Search Customer Reviews
Only search this product's reviews

Customer Discussions

This product's forum
Discussion Replies Latest Post
No discussions yet

Ask questions, Share opinions, Gain insight
Start a new discussion
Topic:
First post:
Prompts for sign-in
 

Search Customer Discussions
Search all Amazon discussions
   


Look for similar items by category


Feedback