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Winnie And Wolf

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | Winnie And Wolf.pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    A.N. Wilson(Author)

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Winnie and Wolf is the story of the extraordinary relationship between Winifred Wagner and Adolf Hitler that took place during the years 1923-40, as seen through the eyes of the secretary at the Wagner house in Bayreuth.

Winifred, an English girl, brought up in an orphanage in East Grinstead, married at the age of eighteen to the son of Germany's most controversial genius, is a passionate Germanophile, a Wagnerian dreamer, a Teutonic patriot.

In the debacle of the post-Versailles world, the Wagner family hope for the coming, not of a warrior, a fearless Siegfried, but of a Parsifal, a mystic idealist, a redeemer-figure. In 1923, they meet their Parsifal - a wild-eyed Viennese opera-fanatic in a trilby hat, a mac and a badly fitting suit. Hitler has already made a name for himself in some sections of German society through rabble-rousing and street corner speeches. It is Winifred, though, who believes she can really see his poetry. Almost at once they drop formalities and call one another 'Du' rather than 'Sie'. She is Winnie and he is Wolf.

Like Winnie, Hitler was an outsider. Like her, he was haunted by the impossibility of reconciling the pursuit of love and the pursuit of power; the ultimate inevitability, if you pursued power, of destruction. Both had known the humiliations of poverty. Both felt angry and excluded by society. Both found each other in an unusual kinship that expressed itself through a love of opera.

"A subtle and captivating fiction" (The Times)"An extraordinary work whose achievements are almost Wagnerian in scale" (Daily Mail)"A thoroughly engrossing read... A.N. Wilson offers a plethora of fascinating ideas on politics, philosophy and, above all, the music of Wagner... Winnie and Wolf vividly brings to life a place, a time and an extraordinary family" (Mail on Sunday)"Deeply clever and gripping... Vividly presented and immaculately researched" (Spectator)" Winnie and Wolf tells a convincing story; it is an emotionally fraught account of German Kultur at war and peace... A.N. Wilson's art is to create a richly chromatic drama of a Romantic Germany, darkened by the atonal experiments of Schoenberg, Hindemith, and Leverkühn, and the murderous ideas of Wolf" (Times Literary Supplement)

2.3 (5183)
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Book details

  • PDF | 368 pages
  • A.N. Wilson(Author)
  • Arrow (3 July 2008)
  • English
  • 9
  • Science Fiction & Fantasy

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Review Text

  • By AAAAnAnthyony thony Austin on 14 April 2017

    Be prepared to be deluged by the world of late 19th century and early 20th Century Germany and the horrors and vicissitudes of its change into the horror of total Nazism. .Brilliant, consuming and eye-opening voyeurism. The Wagner Family emerge with personal integrity in taters but their contribution to music see-sawing towards its final status as untrammelled.

  • By Jane 1923 on 22 January 2016

    I picked this up to read only because I enjoy A N Wilson so much (I see others do not like the untranslated use of German etc - I like that only because it shows he assumes a certain level of intelligence on the part of his readers and no need to dumb down - a refreshing trait these days).I find the history of the first half of the 20th century in Europe fascinating but will admit to knowing next to nothing about opera in general and Wagner in particular. This did not impact on my reading of the book and it got better and better as it went on. I did not see it as an attempt to "humanise" Hitler but rather as a device to explore why it was that so many Germans - like Winnie - were spellbound by him. There is a line towards the end where it says that post war those who admitted to any affiliation with the Nazis would not have filled a small hall - so where were all the crowds who were at Nuremburg etc. Wilson takes it as understood that you know the historical background - this is not a book to educate you about Hitler and the Third Reich (and in any event it is a novel) - but to use a literary form to make some headway in understanding just that issue & using Winnie's relationship with him as a device. Indeed in the light of so many recent scandals with celebrities we do well to remember that the devil - however you conceive of him - does not come amongst us with a forked tail and horns but often in an appealing and beguiling light.Well worth the read.

  • By CJ on 11 January 2012

    Famous figure from history turns out to have had a 'secret child' - it certainly isn't a new idea, but A N Wilson makes it work in Winnie and Wolf - the child in this case being the daughter of Adolf Hitler and Winifred Wagner. The reader understands the premise of the story from the beginning and expects no particular climactic surprise or revelation. The pleasure of reading is rather in watching between one's fingers, as the narrator describes the rise of Fascism, and the start of WWII through German eyes. Wilson provides a convincing narrator - a weak and not particularly political German youth, who has faith in the new regime, because it apparently offers hope and stability, and a convincing picture of an off duty Hitler, which chimes well with measured biographies of the man.I would have enjoyed this novel more, I think, if I had a wider knowledge of classical music in general and Wagner's operas in particular. (Wilson, and his fictional narrator at times assumed a greater knowledge of the operas' plots than I suspect the average reader will possess.) Similarly the untranslated German quotations which appeared in the text from time to time were irritating for someone like me, who has no German, and I think anyone who doesn't have a reasonable knowledge of 1920s and 1930s European history might struggle. These factors demoted the book from 5 stars to 4.

  • By Ribble on 19 September 2007

    This is the first novel I've read by A N Wilson, and it won't be the last. He has taken on an immense subject--German history, culture and philosophy in the last two centuries, and the roots of Nazism--and has drawn from it an affecting and engrossing book which I found hard to put down. The initial idea is a startling one--Hitler had an illegitimate daughter by Winifred Wagner, the Welsh wife of Wagner's son, and the Director of Wagner's festival theatre at Bayreuth during the Thirties. But what makes this idea tenable is the framing device--we are told in the introduction that this is a manuscript found by an American pastor after the daughter's death, and translated from the German. Even the pastor does not know if it is true, a fiction, or a hoax. That framing device allows Wilson to play some audacious games with history (as well as to allow his supposedly German narrator to fall into some glaring Americanisms!). All that stops this novel getting five stars is its tendency to lapse into long sections of fairly undigested Wagner history--but even then Wilson has the get-out that it is his narrator that is being boring, not Wilson himself! Thomas Mann pulls off the same trick with his famously tedious narrator in 'Dr Faustus', a much greater book, but one with which 'Winnie and Wolf' can stand comparison.


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