Richard Wagner: A Life In MusicBy Martin Geck(University of Chicago Press, 423 pages, $35) THE JUNE 1980 issue of Esquire asked rhetorically on its cover: “Is anyone in America not writing a screenplay?” Similar queries could be posed about present-day Wagneriana: Is anyone in the world not writing a book on Wagner? According to an oft-quoted statistic, Wagner has inspired more literature than anyone in history save Christ and Napoleon (though if this was ever true, by now Hitler has probably pushed Wagner into fourth place and perhaps Napoleon into third).
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