Wagner, Richard, German composer (1813-1883). Autograph letter signed.

Starnberg, 25 June 1864.

Large 8vo. 5 pp. on 3 ff. Includes autogr. envelope with embossed sender's monogram and initials on verso.


Long, important letter to Josephine Maier, mother of Wagner's close friend Mathilde Maier. As a matter of form, Wagner's oft-quoted request that Mathilde move in with him as his companion is directed to her mother: "My dear and esteemed friend! Only to someone to whom I already owe so much love and true dedication as I do to you may I dare submit a question and indeed a request as I must today. I must now decide how to go about keeping my home tolerable in such a fashion that the fine external security now achieved also serves my inner prosperity. As you know, I live in separation from my wife: my desire to transfer my household to a female being has recently become so strong in me once more that I seriously considered whether it might not be better to call back my wife rather than live alone. Only the conviction, gained from long experience and confirmed by the observations of all my friends and relations, that a reunion must needs bring about for the both of us a condition much less bearable than separation, has utterly disabused me of this plan [...]" (transl.).

While this remarkable letter is addressed to Josephine Maier, Wagner sent it directly to Mathilde Maier, who read it without passing it on to her mother. She rejected Wagner's offer, but remained his friend for the rest of his life.


Published in M. Dürrer (ed.), Richard Wagner. Sämtliche Briefe, vol. 16. Briefe des Jahres 1864, Wiesbaden/Leipzig/Paris 2006, no. 204, p. 245ff., commentary p. 599 with references to earlier editions.

Stock Code: BN#33769 Tag: