Winnie And Wolf
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)
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