This article reexamines the legacy of Wagnerism in France through the lens of cultural and intellectual history. Taking the Revue wagnérienne (1885–88) as its central subject of analysis, it demonstrates that contributors to the Revue developed from Richard Wagner's work several strategies for transcending the Franco-German nationalist conflicts so trenchant in the 1880s. Falling beyond the confines of any one academic discipline or aesthetic category, the Wagnerism presented on the pages of the Revue wagnérienne borrowed from scientific thought, aesthetics, religion, and politics in equal measure. This comingling of approaches expressed by the authors suggests that Wagnerism in the 1880s created an intellectual space for seemingly contradictory perspectives to coexist. Grappling with Wagner's works and ideas, then, provided French intellectuals with an opportunity to imagine alternatives to many of the political, cultural, and ideological polarizations of the early Third Republic.

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