Versuch über Wagner

The philosopher, sociologist, and music theorist Theodor W. Adorno (1903–1969) was one of the most important representatives of the so-called Frankfurt School. He first examined the Gesamtkunstwerk in his essay In Search of Wagner (1939/1952), in which he reflected critically on Richard Wagner’s postulate of the fusion of all the arts. He accused Wagner of the phantasmagoric motif of obscuration, the abandonment of anything unequivocal, the negation of everything individually distinct. This arbitrariness of aesthetic totality continued in modernity.[1] In Die Kunst und die Künste, Adorno dismissed the aspiration of merging the individual arts or art genres under the general term of art. It is as if by negating their clear-cut form, the art genres nibble on the concept of art itself.[2]


  • original Title: Versuch über Wagner
  • Date: 1939 – 1952
  • Genre: Text