Sacrificing Roger Scruton

Title: Death Devoted Heart: Sex and Sacred in Wagner's "Tristan and Isolde"

Author: Roger Scruton

An eloquent atheist like Scruton finds that he has much in common with Richard Wagner. Not that Scruton desires to bear the usual criticisms hurled (sometimes unfairly) against Wagner. But there is something about Wagner which appeals to Scruton and he has a sympathy which cannot be disguised.

It is helpful to have such a guide as Scruton when considering Wagner's Tristan und Isolde because otherwise we might be forgiven for trying to impose a Christian worldview on this work.

This rapturous evocation of the love object translate the once living Tristan into waves, clouds, scents, sounds, and finally into the “world-breath’s billowing all” as Isolde sinks into the joyful and all-knowing unconsciousness by the Upanishads and by the Hindu doctrine of Nirvana - release from the world - as the highest state of being. (p.72)

Read More