Darwin and Wagner: Evolution and aesthetic appreciation

Journal of Aesthetic Education 45 (2):83-108 (2011)
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Two of the most influential works of the Western nineteenth century were completed in 1859: Charles Darwin’s The Origin of Species and Richard Wagner’s opera Tristan and Isolde. Although created within very different cultural traditions, these works show some striking similarities: both brought about a critical, long-lasting debate and caused conflicting reactions after their publications, and both had fundamental and compelling impact on their disciplines. The perspective discussed in this paper, however, is that both works address the notion of evolutionary thought. In 2009 we could have thus celebrated a double anniversary: it was 150 years since the manifestation of the evolutionary idea in such different ..



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