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Skidmore College
First-Year Experience

Scribner Seminar Program
Course Description

Wagner's Ring of the Nibelungs

Instructor(s): Tom Denny, Music

In this seminar, students will explore one of the great epic dramas of Western culture, Wagner's Ring of the Nibelungs.   Few artworks in any medium have been more admired and reviled, more imitated and repudiated, in short, more influential and controversial, than Wagner's four-opera cycle.  Students will explore these rich works through study of their texts (in translation), of their music and staging (through audio and video recordings), and of a wide range of critical commentaries and primary sources.   Readings will reflect the cross disciplinary approaches to the work, and will include, among others, excerpts from the Nibelungenlied, the Edda, and the Saga of the Volsungs.  Additional readings, including Wagner's own prose works and letters, will come from writers such as Arthur Schopenhauer, Joseph Campbell, Robert Donington, George Bernard Shaw, and Friedrich Nietzsche. No prior study of German or music is needed for this course.

Course Offered