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The Acceptance of Wagner’s “Das Gesamtkunstwerk” by Russian Symbolists

Zheng Tiwu, Mu Azhen

The idea “Gesamtkunstwerk” is the essence of the art theory of well-known German dramatist Richard Wagner. At the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, Wagner's art theory was widely spread in Russian literary-art circle and reached a climax. Wagner’s “Gesamtkunstwerk” had a great influence on Russian symbolists, especially on main representatives of the younger generation of Russian symbolists, including Vyacheslav Ivanov, Alexander Blok and Andrew White. Ivanov’s establishment of “collective action” and trial of "myth-creating", White’s exploration on "forms of art" and his creation of "literary Symphony", as well as the study of Alexander Blok on "art and revolution" and his development of "music spirit" are all the result of internalizing Wagner’s “Gesamtkunstwerk”. The acceptance of the thought of “Gesamtkunstwerk” not only became the key to the theory framework of the younger generation of Russian symbolists, but also greatly enriched the literary creation of Russian symbolists.