The following are pages 133-134 of my Social Security document submission of June 1993, in support of my initial claim for disability benefits. A handwritten note on the document states: 7/20/92. The document evidences my continued rumination about the meaning of the dream I titled The Dream of the Four Miltons.
Pages 133-134 of Social Security Document Submission
Talk about overdetermination. The following are two adjoining scenes near the end of the movie Wagner, starring Richard Burton.
I had seen the serialized version of the movie on television in the fall of 1986.
Scene 1: Courtyard of the Palazzo Vendramin in Venice, adjacent to the Grand Canal. A group of gondoliers is shown passing by (Wagner had rented the palazzo's mezzanine floor for a vacation with his family in Venice in late 1882-1883. The Wagners had installed themselves there in September 1882.) Wagner is reminiscing with his old friend and father-in-law, Franz Liszt. Note Wagner's deeply ambivalent feelings about the conductor Hermann Levi, whom Wagner valued highly as a musician but whose Jewishness troubled Wagner. In Wagner's mind, Levi was too fine a conductor not to be an Aryan conductor. (Moses was a Levite.)
Liszt: It has become difficult.
Wagner: It has become impossible. Parsifal. Yes, Parsifal.
Liszt: You had the nerve to suggest that Levi was baptized.
Liszt: Levi, the rabbi's son. The conductor of Parsifal.
Wagner: What about him?
Wagner: About time.
List: No, no, no. You wanted him baptized before he could conduct Parsifal.
Wagner: He was very upset. He should have understood. The things. . . . The things. . . . I conducted the last performance myself.
Liszt: Yes. So you said.
Wagner: At least he kept his name. Not like the others who try to hide their origins. Cosi worried about vulgarity. That such a work as Parsifal should not be sullied by vulgarity. * * * * He should have been baptized, Levi. I finished with Bismarck when he actually gave German Jews equal citizenship with the rest of us. I had three Jews working on Parsifal. All hard workers. Gifted even. Levi led me a dance. We still are friends. He has not abandoned me. * * * * Nietzsche came to see me in Sorrento. I thought him still worth talking to. Told him of Parsifal, the great Christian legend. Expounded on it for him. All friendship dead there Too bound up with his wretched headaches and vomits. Blind as a bat. I wrote to his physician (secret communications with a physician!) to tell him to curb his masturbating. Nietzsche masturbates, you know. I told him to persuade his patient to stop masturbating, eat vegetables, and take cold water plunges.
* * * *
Scene 2: Rented room in the Palazzo Vendramin. Cosima, Wagner's wife, is seated at a table eating. Wagner walks in the door, angry.
Wagner: Your father, the old humbug.
Wagner: Yes, humbug. The life he has led and now he fancies himself a priest. The old lecher. Wants to play me his latest Ave Maria. Get rid of him! I can't stand him anymore!
Cosima: Please. Wasn't it you who said he inaugurated the new age?
Wagner: Yes. In fingering!
[In the next scene, Liszt is shown departing in a gondola. Thus, inflatable raft = sled = Moses' ark of bulrushes = gondola).
The following is an excerpt from Gregor-Dellin, M. Richard Wagner, at 510 (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich: 1983). From the chapter titled, "Death in Venice." Wagner died in Venice on February 13, 1883.
The family arrived there on the afternoon of September 16, 1882, after a journey made hazardous by violent storms. The railroad bridge at Ala and the magnificent bridge over the Adige at Verona collapsed only half an hour after they crossed them; in fact, they were the last people to traverse the second of the two. Their first two nights were spent at the Hotel de l'Europe, where they learned of these terrible disasters and heard rumors that the floods were bringing a virulent fever in their wake. September 17 was devoted to arranging more permanent quarters in the Palazzo Vendramin-Calergi, situated at the extremity of the Grand Canal's northern arc, on the Cannaregio side; and on September 18, the Wagners and their staff installed themselves on the palazzo's mezzanine floor.
(The date September 17 [my sister's birthday] relates to birthday cake. "Journey made hazardous by violent storms" relates to violent snowstorm. "Virulent fever" relates to chicken pox. Vacation in Venice - vacation in Atlantic City.)