Books: Home Life at Valhalla

COSIMA WAGNER'S DIARIES, VOL. I, 1869-1877 Edited by Martin Gregor-Dellin and Dietrich Mack Translated by Geoffrey Skelton; Harcourt Brace Jovanovich; 1199 pages; $24.95

It is hard to imagine the domestic side of Richard Wagner. Composing, conducting, fleeing creditors, courting kings, falling in love, venting his deep biases, building a theater and peopling an entire mythical world, all these things, yes. Life's dailiness seems somehow inappropriate to such a man as it is to most legendary artists. But his last 14 years are about to receive intense scrutiny by scholars, Wagner lovers and Wagner...

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