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  • Listen to the opera. Or read the libretto. There is no question that the Dyer’s Wife’s renunciation of her shadow is tantamount to killing her unborn children. What else is abortion?

    And does the librettist, Hugo von Hofmannsthal approve of her decision? No. So while the editor’s interference was unjustified (and tone-deaf), it does not change the meaning of Mark Swed’s sentence.