Enchantment and Modernity

Lawrence Kramer

in Opera and Modern Culture

Published by University of California Press

Published in print November 2004 | ISBN: 9780520241732
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520940840 | DOI:
Enchantment and Modernity

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Wagnerism's heyday witnessed the transformation of Wagner into both the cause and the solution of the problem with modern life. One view posited that Wagner's operas suggested the best model for a modern life unscathed by its own economic and technological machinery. This chapter looks into the dual sentiments that Wagner's music evoked in the nineteenth-century context. Often inspiring both love and hatred, Wagner's work could never be ignored/discounted by someone in possession of minimum musical nuance. The phenomenon explained by Nietzsche and Baudelaiire as enchantment displays aestheticized form of the experience of being touched at the quick, which constitutes symbolic investiture, theorized by Borrdieu as a rite of initiation. However, this sort of initiation needs periodical renewal. Encounters with symbolic investiture prompt individuals to readily accept arbitrarily concluded decisions as their own. However, absence of investiture may expose one to a world scarce in genuine meaning and resonance.

Keywords: Wagnerism; modern life; enchantment; symbolic investiture; resonance; Baudelaiire

Chapter.  9382 words. 

Subjects: Musicology and Music History

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