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ERIC Number: EJ962220
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 26
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0021-8510
Darwin and Wagner: Evolution and Aesthetic Appreciation
Ostergaard, Edvin
Journal of Aesthetic Education, v45 n2 p83-108 Sum 2011
Two of the most influential works of the Western nineteenth century were completed in 1859: Charles Darwin's "The Origin of Species" and Richard Wagner's opera "Tristan and Isolde." Although created within very different cultural traditions, these works show some striking similarities: both brought about a critical, long-lasting debate and caused conflicting reactions after their publications, and both had fundamental and compelling impact on their disciplines. In this article, the author focuses on the following questions: (1) How is the idea of evolution expressed in "The Origin of Species" and "Tristan and Isolde"? (2) What are common essences of that which Darwin referred to as "descent with modifications" and Wagner to as "becoming" ("das Werden")? (3) What educational potential exists for exploring and understanding evolution when comparing its historical emergences in biology and music? Using a phenomenological approach, the author aims to survey, describe, and compare significant parallels between the two works. He expands the comparison of the two works to considerations of how teachers can facilitate students' meaningful learning of evolution and which joint role art and science might play. (Contains 1 figure and 82 notes.)
University of Illinois Press. 1325 South Oak Street, Champaign, IL 61820-6903. Tel: 217-244-0626; Fax: 217-244-8082; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A