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Wagner alert: Tristan stone to be removed

The Daily Mail has a story that, if true, should twang the emotions of every sensitive Wagnerian (if there is such a thing).

It appears that the Tristan stone, marking the grave of Isolde’s lover, is to be removed from its site by developers near Fowey, in Cornwall, to make way for a housing estate. An alternative spot will be found, but it on’t be the same.

A friend of mine has a house in Fowey. I expect her to pull on long blonde pigtails and a breastplate and get out there to demonstrate. A legend and a legacy are at stake. I want to hear Wagner sung in the original Cornish.

Read more here.


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  1. Christine Marsden says:

    Could that not just build the housing estate round it and make it a feature?

  2. They should move Stonehenge. It’s an eyesore for drivers on the A303, the field could easily be filled with houses, and it’s old and falling down.

  3. Ms. Marsden is right–it would be a wonderful addition to the property. Come on developers–you can call it “Tristan’s Trysting-Place: An Estate of Ecstasy”.

  4. Martha de Francisco says:

    Incidentally, without knowing about this, since a few days I have memories of the Tristan stone in Cornwall stuck in my mind. Memories of the monument that I visited years ago and of the words inscribed on the stone “Drustanus hic iacet Cunomori filius”.

    Some sort of telepathic message, for sure. Perhaps a cry for help from the hero of Chr├ętien de Troyes, Malory, Wagner and many other principal players of Western culture. Moved to make place to a housing estate!!!

  5. Fergus Johnston says:

    British Barbarians! We should organise a joint Irish/Cornish campaign, as Isolde was an Irish princess after all. And all the Joyce scholars would support it as well, the couple being a feature in the Wake. Why can’t they build AROUND the thing? I mean, it wouldn’t take much to alter plans.

    • Why not build the park-and-ride round it? It could then act as a bus stop. Dear old Tristan wouldmaybe then be some use for once. He doesn’t really seem to have cut it as a knight.

  6. Do we actually know if “Drustanus” has anything to do with the legendary “Tristan” other than a certain similarity of name? I understand that if there were historical figures behind the Tristan and Isolde legend, they are so far back in history and the stories had been elaborated so much until they came to be recorded, one wouldn’t be able to identify the historical figures behind the stories.

    That said, this still is an important historical monument and perhaps it shouldn’t be treated this way.

    • it is in latin,my name in cornish the initial t mutates to a d in a sentence.Hence ow hanow drystan [my name is trystan maybe an explaination .

  7. Alexander Prior says:

    I’ve long since wanted to make Tristan in either Irish or Cornish (or a mix?), and I very much plan on making The Ring Cycle in Old Norse one day. I am convinced that both would really get something even more extra-special from the very unique and beautiful colours of those languages.

    • They are indeed very interesting languages but it wouldn’t make sense to produce Tristan in a Celtic language because those have very different structures from German so the music which is very tightly composed to the text wouldn’t really fit the text anymore (and vice versa). The Ring in Old Norse? That would perhaps work better but I doubt it would gain much from that. It is after all very deeply routed in the romantic style of its age – it is not an attempt to make anything sound particularly “authentic”.

  8. Stuart Young says:

    That Wain Home want to build 800 homes on this site is a local disaster, but the furore over the so-called Tristan Stone is a storm in a tea cup.
    The connection with Tristan is tenuous at best. The stone has been in its present location for less than 50 years. The 1962 Ordnance Survey show that it was located some distance away at the East Lodge of the Rashleigh’s Estate at Menabilly, see Daphne du Maurier’s book ‘Vanishing Cornwall’. Before that its history is obscure, but some accounts say it was further North near the old Iron Age Fort at Castle Dore which does have links with King Mark, Tristan’s uncle.
    I live nearby in the Parish of St. Sampson, where Castle Dore is located and conclude that if it is to be moved again it would be more fitting that be returned to Castle Dore, but I doubt if the present inhabitants of Fowey who regard it as theirs would agree. its present location has nothing to do with the burial site of King Mark, or Tristan.

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