Wagner and Philosophy
Richard Wagner has long been considered one of the most obviously philosophical of the great artists in the European tradition. This recognizes both the way in which his work was strongly influenced by the philosophies of Schopenhauer and the young Hegelians and the extent to which it has in turn stimulated significant philosophical responses.
This course will examine the philosophical aspects of Richard Wagner’s main music dramas, from 'The Ring of the Nibelung' to 'Parsifal' and consider philosophical responses to Wagner, from Nietzsche to Adorno and up to the present day.
Term Starts: 23rd April
Kitcher & Schacht., Finding an Ending: Reflections on Wagner’s Ring
Tanner, Michael., Wagner
If you are planning to purchase books, remember that courses with too few students enrolled will be cancelled. The Department accepts no responsibility for books bought in anticipation of a course.
If you have enrolled on a course starting in the autumn, you can become a borrowing member of the Rewley House library from 1st September and we will try to ensure that as many titles as possible are available in the Library by the start of each term. If you are enrolled on a course starting in other terms, you can become a borrowing member once the previous term has ended.
All weekly class students may become borrowing members of the Rewley House Continuing Education Library for the duration of their course. Prospective students whose courses have not yet started are welcome to use the Library for reference. More information can be found on the Library website.
There is a Guide for Weekly Class students which will give you further information.
Availability of titles on the reading list (below) can be checked on SOLO, the library catalogue.
Students who register for CATS points will receive a Record of CATS points on successful completion of their course assessment.
To earn credit (CATS points) you will need to register and pay an additional £10 fee per course. You can do this by ticking the relevant box at the bottom of the enrolment form or when enrolling online.
Coursework is an integral part of all weekly classes and everyone enrolled will be expected to do coursework in order to benefit fully from the course. Only those who have registered for credit will be awarded CATS points for completing work at the required standard.
Students who do not register for CATS points during the enrolment process can either register for CATS points prior to the start of their course or retrospectively from between January 1st and July 31st after the current academic year has been completed. If you are enrolled on the Certificate of Higher Education you need to indicate this on the enrolment form but there is no additional registration fee.
Course fee: £205.00
Take this course for CATS points: £10.00
Meade McCloughan has been studying philosophy for over 30 years and has taught at University College London and Birkbeck College London. He is on the organising group of the Marx and Philosophy Society.
To examine the philosophical aspects of Wagner's main music dramas.
1. To understand the philosophical influences on Wagner.
2. To appreciate the ways in which Wagner's works reflect and transform these philosophical influences.
3. To evaluate a diverse range of philosophical responses to Wagner's works.
Each week, the tutor will give a presentation before opening up for discussion in class. Reading material will be circulated in advance, and handouts made available each week. Students will be able to benefit from formative feedback on written work during the course.
By the end of the course students will be expected to:
1. be able to understand the main philosophical theories which influenced Wagner.
2. be able to appreciate the ways in which Wagner's music dramas in part develop out of these philosophical influences.
Participants will be given four short exercises during the course to take home and complete (up to 500 words each) and then return subsequently (either hardcopy or electronically). The tutor will assess and provide written comments on completed exercises. Students will be able to do all four short exercises.
Students can chose to be assessed for the course EITHER on the basis of THREE completed short exercises OR by submitting an essay of 1,500 words on a chosen topic from the course (suggested questions will be provided during the course). Those choosing to write an essay can submit a 500 word draft for feedback in advance of submitting the final version or can use one of the short exercises for the same purpose.
Students must submit a completed Declaration of Authorship form at the end of term when submitting your final piece of work. CATS points cannot be awarded without the aforementioned form.
To earn credit (CATS points) for your course you will need to register and pay an additional £10 fee for each course you enrol on. You can do this by ticking the relevant box at the bottom of the enrolment form or when enrolling online.
Please use the 'Book' or 'Apply' button on this page. Alternatively, please complete an application form.
Level and demands
Familiarity with at least some of Wagner's main music dramas would be desirable.
Most of the Department's weekly classes have 10 or 20 CATS points assigned to them. 10 CATS points at FHEQ Level 4 usually consist of ten 2-hour sessions. 20 CATS points at FHEQ Level 4 usually consist of twenty 2-hour sessions. It is expected that, for every 2 hours of tuition you are given, you will engage in eight hours of private study.
Terms and conditions
Terms and conditions for applicants and students on this course
Sources of funding
Information on financial support