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2015-2016 Catalog

MUS 226 1859: Charles Darwin, Richard Wagner and the Uses and Abuses of 19th Century Science

One-hundred-fifty years ago, Charles Darwin published his treatise on the origin of species, and Richard Wagner composed his opera Tristan and Isolde. This course examines nineteenth-century [mis]applications of Darwinian theories, reflected in Wagner's operas, replete with subliminal references to the superiority of Germanic peoples and inferiority on non-Germanic peoples. We shall: read Darwin and texts reflecting his influence in Germany; view Wagner's operas; and consider Wagner's influence on Adolf Hitler. [H, GM2, V, W]