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All modern artists have had to market themselves in some way. Richard Wagner may just have done it better than anyone else. In a self-promotional effort that began around 1840 in Paris, and lasted for the remainder of his career, Wagner claimed convincingly that he was the most German composer ever and the true successor of Beethoven. More significantly, he was an opera composer who declared that he was not composing operas. Instead, during the 1850s, he mapped out a new direction, conceiving of works that would break with tradition and be literally 'brand new'. This is the first study to examine the innovative ways in which Wagner made himself a celebrity, promoting himself using every means available: autobiography, journal articles, short stories, newspaper announcements, letters, even his operas themselves. Vazsonyi reveals how Wagner created a niche for his works in the crowded opera market that continues to be unique.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgments; A note on translation and style; Abbreviations; Introduction; 1. Image; 2. Publicity; 3. Niche and branding; 4. Consumers and consumption; 5. Hub; Epilogue: the Wagner industry; Bibliography; Index.
Nicholas Vazsonyi is Jesse Chapman Alcorn Memorial Professor of Foreign Languages and Professor of German and Comparative Literature, Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures at the University of South Carolina. His first book, Lukacs Reads Goethe (1997), was followed by two edited volumes, one on German national identity formation between 1750 and 1871 (2000) and the other entitled Wagner's Meistersinger: Performance, History, Representation (2003). Richard Wagner: Self-Promotion and the Making of a Brand recently appeared in German translation as Richard Wagner: Entstehung einer Marke (2012). He is co-organizer with Anno Mungen (University of Bayreuth) of the WagnerWorldWide 2013 project, a series of linked lectures and conferences around the world, to be capped by an edited volume. In 2013, he joined the editorial team of the German journal wagnerspectrum.