The book is a critique of Richard Wagner and the announcement of Nietzsche's rupture with the German artist, who had involved himself too much, in Nietzsche's eyes, in the nationalist movement. His music is no longer represented as a possible "philosophical affect," and Wagner is ironically compared to Georges Bizet. However, Nietzsche presents Wagner as only a particular symptom of a broader "disease" that is affecting Europe: that is, nihilism. The book shows Nietzsche as a capable music-critic, and provides the setting for some of his further reflections on the nature of art and its relationship to the future health of humanity.
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