The Wagner Journal

Nicolas Bell, Wagner Manuscripts at the British Library

Nicolas Bell, Wagner Manuscripts at the British Library

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November 2014, Volume 8, Number 3, 33–49.

The British Library holds only a small collection of Wagner’s manuscripts: they comprise around twenty music manuscripts, five manuscripts of libretti or related texts, and some forty-two letters both from and addressed to the composer. Most of these materials relate to Wagner’s early years, but among them are documents relating to some pivotal works in his development as a composer. Despite its limited extent, the collection is significant and has a fitting home alongside the host of other Wagnerian materials which the library possesses. Almost all of the manuscripts in the library’s collections were described, and in many cases edited and translated, in a series of articles by Stewart Spencer on ‘Wagner autographs in London’ published in the 1980s in this journal’s precursor, Wagner

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