Wagner the gardener: Media as nature and the building of a cult | Intellect Skip to content
1981
Volume 9, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 2046-6692
  • E-ISSN: 2046-6706

Abstract

This article explores why composer Richard Wagner has such a passionate cult following, by employing the ‘family resemblances’ of cult texts identified by Matt Hills and, in the process, uncovers the elemental threads embedded into his work. Taking up John Durham Peters’s call for an elemental approach to media, I argue that Wagner’s treatment of art as nature allowed for the erasure of mediation. By insisting that his products were of an organic nature, he was thus able to keep the spectre of commercialization at bay. In turn, this encouraged the formation of a cult fandom. Finally, I make the case for further study of both fans of high culture and how we might trace the emergence of cultish modes of consumption to the nineteenth century.

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2021-09-01
2024-04-19
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  • Article Type: Article
Keyword(s): cult media; fandom; media studies; music; opera; Richard Wagner
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