Harold James, 1 November 1984
In 1892 the English Wagnerphile Mary Burrell tracked down a proof copy of the autobiography dictated by Wagner covering the first 51 years of his life, which had been printed privately in an edition of only 15 for his friends and patrons. She was appalled: she believed the picture Mein Leben gave of Wagner was so unpleasant that the work must have been a forgery by the Master’s enemies. The book was only published, in a version made doubly inaccurate by dependence on the sloppily-printed private edition and by deliberate excision of controversial passages, in 1911. In 1963 it appeared in its complete form, based on a transcript of Cosima Wagner’s manuscript. This is now available in English.