Richard Wagner
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Richard Wagner

Diagnosing Wagner

Edward Said, the late pro-Palestinian Columbia professor, has called Richard Wagner a narcissist, and the label seems to fit perfectly.

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders published by the American Psychiatric Association, a narcissist has a “pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts….”

A narcissist, according to the DSM, is someone who exhibits five (or more) of the following:

1. a grandiose sense of self-importance

2. is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love (megalomania)

3. believes he or she is “special” and can be understood only by, or should associate with, people (or institutions) that are also “special” or of high status

4. requires excessive admiration

5. has a sense of entitlement

6. is interpersonally exploitative

7. lacks empathy

8. is often envious of others or believes others are envious of him or her

9. shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes.

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