Translating anxieties: Morris, Wagner, and the crisis of late Romanticism

DSpace Repository


Dokumentart: ConferenceObject
Date: 2002
Language: English
Faculty: 5 Philosophische Fakultät
Department: Sonstige - Neuphilologie
DDC Classifikation: 839 - Other Germanic literatures
Keywords: Saga , Island
Other Keywords:
cultural exchange, William Morris, The Story of Sigurd the Volsung
Show full item record


In the history of cultural exchange between Iceland and Europe, 1876 was an epochal year, seeing the first publication of William Morris, The Story of Sigurd the Volsung and the fall of the Niblungs and the first complete performance of Wagner’s Ring des Nibelungen. As translators of saga material into epic and opera, Morris and Wagner sought the renewal of these cultural forms, relics of an aesthetic originally created to serve the needs of aristocratic elites. Implicit in their enterprise was a protest against the marginalization of the artist, whose traditional role and relation to sources of patronage had been subverted by the forces of industrialism and capitalism. In different ways, Morris and Wagner were caught between traditional patronage and the emergent "culture markets" of their time, and their anxieties over the role of the artist and the meaning of art found expression in the modes of fantasy, dream, and prophecy made available to them by the saga material. In fact, it might be argued that the blended realism and myth of the Icelandic sagas provided Morris especially with a fitting vehicle for his social and aesthetic vision.

This item appears in the following Collection(s)