German-language culture and art from 1899 (when the first edition of Freud’s Interpretation of Dreams appeared in Vienna) through 1933 remains timely. The Central European geographical location of Austria and Germany, not to mention their significance at the center of 20th century history, place it at the center of the contemporary world. It was there that the enlightenment project finally faltered, where Victorian progressivism, puritanism, and optimism breathed its last, where the irrational could no longer be dismissed as capable of amelioration; and where the twin drives of death and eros as Freud identified them led to the catastrophic collapse of modernity even as the human spirit aspired to new heights of transcendence. The music, art, film, and literature of the urbanised Neue Sachlichkeit movement, an extension of and at the same time reaction to Expressionism, reached into the individual self in a gesture of melancholy desperation — a desperation similar to that of the cultural products of pre-war Vienna in the art of Klimt and Schiele, in the music of Schoenberg, before the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire required a shift from Vienna to Berlin for further exploration. Never was sensitivity to political and cultural anxiety more acute; the failure of Weimar republicanism and democracy issued in the birth of the Hitlerian era in 1933; and the friction of this criminal communitarianism with the body, mortality, sensuality, and eroticism seemed to spark, just for a moment, new possibilities of self and culture. But this spirit did not begin with Freud (it reaches back to Schopenhauer, Büchner, Wagner [from whom comes the title of this post], and Schnitzler), and it did not end with the exiles of 1933 (it extends forward to Thomas Bernhard, Peter Weiss, and Elfriede Jelinek). And it is only recently that scholars such as Richard McCormack and Jill Lloyd have been building on the pioneering historical work of Peter Gay and John Willett to conduct an archaeology of eros and gender of the period. What becomes exceedingly clear as one surveys this cultural work is the extraordinary risk involved in erotic and sensual self-fashioning, especially as it pertains to the sexual self in a conservative and traditionalist culture, especially the neo-puritanism of the 21st century — risks that are accepted, and are necessary to, more ecstatic experience and self-fashioning. When one leaps, one can fall; as one leaps higher, one can fall more dangerously. But the achievements of the final extraordinary years of Weimar — from about 1925 to 1933 — provide avenues to this fashioning, and encouragement towards the the acceptance of the transgressive-against-culture of the erotic self, even now.