Former Shows & Episodes

Word Patriots

Mark Seinfelt

Word Patriots – Fathers and Sons: Wagner, Moore, Mann (part one)

Today’s show—part one of a two-part interview—will be the first of a series of periodic shows devoted to past masters, heroic word patriots who overcame great obstacles, who wrote in new and innovative ways, or who defied convention by visiting formerly taboo topics and thereby opened new fields of exploration for literature. I am very happy and honored to have my father Dr. Frederick William Seinfelt as my guest this week. He is a professor emeritus at Indiana University of Pennsylvania and the author of the 1975 book George Moore: Ireland’s Unconventional Realist and two companion essays: Wagnerian Elements in the Writings of George Moore and Thomas Mann and some American and British Writers. Today my father and I will be discussing Wagner, Moore and Mann. Wagner’s inclusion on a show titled Word Patriots may be surprising but is indeed apt. We must remember Wagner wrote his own librettos and set down all the words before jotting down the first note of music. Moreover Wagner spent his entire life trying to achieve the Gesamtkunstwerk, the total work of art, the fusion of all the arts. Not only did he influence virtually every composer of the succeeding generation, he also had an enormous impact on the literature of both the 19th and 20th centuries. Today we will focus primarily on Wagner’s influence on the Irish novelist George Moore, who received his earliest literary influences through Zola and the French realists while studying painting in Paris. His first novels were written in London during the 1880s, exposing his unorthodox concepts and countering the basic ideals of the Victorian novel. His diverse and unconventional ideas classified him as a naturalist, a Paterian aesthete, an art critic and a leader of the Celtic movement as well as a Wagnerian. Next week we concentrate on Wagner’s influence on the German Nobel Prize-winning author Thomas Mann. If you would like to know more about Mark Seinfelt’s work be sure to visit his website: