The man whom W.H. Auden called 'perhaps the greatest genius that ever lived' has inspired extremes of adulation and loathing. In this penetrating analysis, Bryan Magee outlines the range and depth of Wagner's achievement, and shows how his sensational and erotic music expresses the repressed and highly charged contents of the psyche. He also examines Wagner's detailed stage directions, and the prose works in which he formulated his ideas, and sheds interesting new light on his anti-semitism. This new edition has been extensively revised. It includes a fresh chapter, 'Wagner as Music'.