The contents of these volumes have been written down directly from my dictation, over a period of several years, by my friend and wife, who wished me to tell her the story of my life. It was the desire of both of us that these details of my life should be accessible to our family and to our sincere and trusted friends; and we decided therefore, in order to provide against a possible destruction of the one manuscript, to have a small number of copies printed at our own expense. As the value of this autobiography consists in its unadorned veracity, which, under the circumstances, is its only justification, therefore my statements had to be accompanied by precise names and dates; hence there could be no question of their publication until some time after my death, should interest in them still survive in our descendants, and on that point I intend leaving directions in my will.
If, on the other hand, we do not refuse certain intimate friends a sight of these papers now, it is that, relying on their genuine interest in the contents, we are confident that they will not pass on their knowledge to any who do not share their feelings in the matter.
Part I. 1813-1842
Travels in Germany (First Marriage)
Part ii. 1842-1850 (Dresden)
‘The Flying Dutchman’
Liszt, Spontini, Marschner, etc.
Franck, Schumann, Semper, Gutzkow, Auerbach
Spohr, Gluck, Hiller, Devrient
Studies in Historical Literature
‘Rienzi’ at Berlin
Relations with the Management, Mother’s Death, etc.
Growing Sympathy with Political Events, Bakunin
The May Insurrection
Flight: Weimar, Zurich, Paris, Bordeaux, Geneva, Zurich
Illustrations [not shown in e-text]
Frontispiece for volume I
Richard Wagner in 1842, from the Portrait by E. Kietz.
Richard Wagner about 1872 by Lenbach.
Original in the possession of Frau Cosima Wagner
These frontispieces are used by the courtesy of Mr. F. Bruckmann.
I was born at Leipzig on the 22nd of May 1813, in a room on the second floor of the ‘Red and White Lion,’ and two days later was baptized at St. Thomas’s Church, and christened Wilhelm Richard.