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Gontrum Lecture 2019: Alex Ross, “Lords of the Ring: Wagner and Fantasy Culture”

Alex will speak about the resonance of Wagner’s mythic storytelling in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, particularly in fantasy fiction (J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis) and fantasy film (Star Wars, The Matrix, Game of Thrones). What dangers exist in the propagation of mythic archetypes in popular culture, and how might Wagner warn us of them?

Alex has been the music critic of The New Yorker since 1996. His first book, The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century, won a National Book Critics Circle Award and the Guardian First Book Award, and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. His second book is the essay collection Listen to This. He is now at work on Wagnerism: Art in the Shadow of Music. Ross has received an Arts and Letters Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Belmont Prize in Germany, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a MacArthur Fellowship.

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