Conference on Wagner and Nietzsche Dublin, 21-22 May 2024

Deadline: March 1st 2024

Conference on Wagner and Nietzsche – Dublin, 21-22 May 2024
A conference jointly hosted by Trinity College Dublin and University College Dublin

Call for Papers

Proposals for 45-minute papers are invited on topics including but not limited to:
– Wagner’s prose works
– Wagner’s poliEcal thought
– Wagner’s legacy in philosophy and literature
– Schopenhauer’s philosophy (as it bears on Wagner)
– Nietzsche’s break from Wagner and Schopenhauer
– Nietzsche’s wriEngs on music
– Nietzsche’s ethics and/or aestheEcs


Friedrich Nietzsche famously wrote in the preface to Der Fall Wagner (The Case of Wagner, 1888): ‘Wagner sums up modernity. There is no way out, one must first become a Wagnerian’. Often discussed as a precursor to several major art movements in the last two centuries, from literary symbolism to film music, Richard Wagner is generally considered amongst the most influential figures in nineteenth century Europe. And yet, his considerable prose works, which underpin many of the technical and pracEcal advances evidenced in his music drama, have received comparatively little scholarly attention.

Wagner and Nietzsche’s relationship although tumultuous and the subject of much debate, coalesced around a shared philosophical interest in Arthur Schopenhauer. The third of Nietzsche’s Unzeitgemässe Betrachtungen (often translated as Untimely Meditations) ‘Schopenhauer as Educator’, published in 1874, was the last of Nietzsche’s works to be positively received by Wagner. Nietzsche’s works that follow, including the fourth and final of the Meditations, ‘Richard Wagner in Bayreuth’, signal his departure and ultimate disavowal of both Schopenhauer and Wagner.

Although Wagner remained committed to Schopenhauer’s philosophy, the later was critical of Wagner’s music, claiming that he was more poet than musician. Schopenhauer criticized Wagner for subordinating music to poetic and dramatic aims, thereby misunderstanding his philosophy of music. Indeed, this foreshadows Nietzsche’s late critiques of Wagner’s music summed up in Nietzsche’s somewhat erratic claims that Wagner was both the greatest ‘Schauspieler’ (actor) and ‘miniaturist’ in composition. Both Schopenhauer and Nietzsche were, of course, amateurs in music, and in order to make sense of the schisms that opened
up between them, we must investigate the profound, though often nebulous, relationship between philosophy and music in their work.

This workshop marks the 150th anniversary of Nietzsche’s seminal essay and aims to reopen debates regarding the multifaceted philosophical intersections between Wagner, Nietzsche and Schopenhauer. In doing so, it also aims to resituate the philosophical significance of Wagner’s prose writings, not merely as a point of interest for Nietzsche’s philosophy, but as systematic works of philosophy in their own right.


We invite submissions containing a title, abstract (250 words max) and brief biography (50 words max) to be sent to Brian O’Connor ( and Josh Torabi ( by March 1st, 2024. Please include your name, contact details and institutional affiliation if applicable and let us know of any access needs. We will aim to notify participants by February 16th, 2023. The conference registration fee will be €50 (waged) / €25 (unwaged, students) for two days which will cover refreshments. ‘Wagner /Nietzsche’ will be an in-person conference at hosted at both TCD and UCD venues, but please get in touch if access needs or the COVID-19 situation make on-site attendance difficult for you.

The UCD School of Philosophy and the School of English at TCD are dedicated to fostering a diverse and inclusive environment. We welcome proposals from graduate students new to literary and philosophical studies, as well as from established scholars and we particularly welcome abstracts from BAME scholars who we recognise are under-represented in the field.


Papers with a philosophical orientation will be eligible for consideration for publication in a special edition of the International Journal of Philosophical Studies.


Two bursaries of €300 will be provided on a competitive basis to postgraduate, early-career, or independent scholars for whom another source of funding is not available for travel expenses. Please mention if you wish to apply for a bursary when submiting your abstract.

Workshop organisers

Brian O’Connor, Professor of Philosophy, School of Philosophy, University College Dublin
Josh Torabi, Government of Ireland Postdoctoral Fellow, School of English, Trinity College

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