A kingdom not of this world: music, religion, art-religion

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The secularisation paradigm, the notion that religion faded into irrelevance in the post-Enlightenment era, has long defined perceptions of Romantic religiosity and religious art. From this perspective, art – in particular, the phenomenon of art-religion – served to fill the void left by the retreat of religion, offering new secularised forms of transcendence to replace those once offered by conventional religious art. This chapter aims to overhaul our received picture by arguing that rather than usurping the place of religion, art-religion serves as its dynamic continuation. It reveals the porous nature of the boundaries between religious art and art-religion in early Romantic thought, examining key texts by Schleiermacher, Wackenroder and Tieck. It then demonstrates how a similar logic of recuperation and reinvention is at work in Romantic music, drawing on examples ranging from quasi-liturgical music to the monuments of absolute music. The chapter culminates with an exploration of what are arguably the most complex, multi-layered examples of Romantic art-religion in the musical sphere, Liszt’s Christus and Wagner’s Parsifal.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Cambridge companion to music and romanticism
EditorsBenedict Taylor
Place of PublicationCambridge
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages17
ISBN (Print)9781108647342
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021

Publication series

NameCambridge companions to music
PublisherCambridge University Press


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