Reading Nathan Shields’ powerful essay, “Wagner and the Jews,” reawakened memories from two decades ago when I attended the Bayreuth festival as a music critic. My most potent recollections are not of the performances I heard of Wagner’s music; nor do I recall any great revelations about the mind of the master who designed and built this self-aggrandizing temple. But I was left with three sensory impressions, and they have proved indelible.
Something More Profound than Prejudice
As Wagner illustrates, anti-Semitism is more than a mere dislike of Jews—it’s a metaphysical condition that shapes the very way the world is perceived.