Cover image for Nietzsche and Wagner : a lesson in subjugation
Nietzsche and Wagner : a lesson in subjugation
Köhler, Joachim, 1952-
Personal Author:
Uniform Title:
Friedrich Nietzsche und Cosima Wagner. English
Publication Information:
New Haven : Yale University Press, [1998]

Physical Description:
186 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
General Note:
"Originally published under title: Friedrich Nietzsche und Cosima Wagner"--T.p. verso.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
B3316 .K643 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



An absorbing account of the bizarre and fluctuating relationship between the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, the composer Richard Wagner, and Wagner's wife, Cosima. First published in German in 1996, this book brings the details of this turbulent triangle vividly to life, showing how their traumatized childhoods bound Nietzsche and Cosima in submission to the demonic, aging Wagner. 14 illustrations.

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

First published in Germany in 1996, this book studies the complex relationship among Friedrich Nietzsche, Richard Wagner, and Wagner's wife, Cosima. Köhler, an editor at Hoffman & Kampe Verlag, demonstrates a parallel between the interaction of the three principal characters and the myth of Dionysus and Ariadne, a story that obsessed Nietzsche throughout most of his adult life and that serves as the theme for the entire narrative. Their story has all the turgid ingredients of a good 19th-century novel: art, revolution, philosophy, erotic jealousy, infidelity, insanity, and a cast of real characters the equal of any in classical literature. Given the complicated material and the number of facts per square inch, the translation is as clear as one could expect. Truth can be as fascinating as fiction. Recommended for public and academic libraries.‘Timothy J. McGee, Univ. of Toronto, Canada (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Kohler's book on Nietzsche's relations with Richard and Cosima Wagner is important but must be handled with caution. Kohler is the author of a study of Nietzsche and an analysis of Hitler's response to Wagner. Anglophone readers will appreciate his synthesis of the extensive, untranslated scholarship on Nietzsche's childhood and its impact on his sexual and social development. No other English account presents as cogently the traumatic effect upon Nietzsche of his father's untimely, agonizing death, or of Nietzsche's school years on his adult life; no one has followed more closely Nietzsche's comings and goings in the Wagner household from 1866 to 1872. An unmistakable picture emerges: Nietzsche allowed himself to be manipulated by the Wagners and became an agent of their antisemitic agenda. Kohler unfolds for the first time the spectacle of Nietzsche's obsequious conduct before the Wagners. But beware of the rest of Kohler's analysis--a diatribe on the effect of Nietzsche's repressed homosexuality on the subsequent development of his thought. For Kohler, Nietzsche's philosophical activity is reducible to the rage he felt against the Wagners for having discerned his homosexual introversion and communicating it to their social circle. While the scholarship is admirable, Kohler's ability to read Nietzsche is virtually nil. Upper-division undergraduates and above. N. Lukacher University of Illinois at Chicago