Wagner and German Idealism

Wagner and German Idealism

Professor Roger Scruton explores the philosophical background that influenced the young Richard Wagner. The German universities of his youth were in a state of intellectual ferment in the aftermath of the greatest philosopher of modern times, Immanuel kant. Out of this came a school of philosophy known as German Idealism. Wagner was particular influenced by the most famous of these philosophers, Hegel. And, even though Wagner was later to radically revise his philosophical views, the ideas of Hegel can still be traced in his great cycle of music dramas, The Ring: the notion that nothing human is permanent, and all must perish in the spirit's ongoing search for self-knowledge. And the essence of this spirit, Hegel argued, is freedom. Wagner took this idea one step further. Freedom, for Wagner, was not only a political phenomenon, it was also a profound spiritual reality, revealed in the moment of sacrifice.

Release date:

Available now

15 minutes

Last on

Mon 9 Dec 2013 22:45

Featured in...

The Book that Changed Me

The Book that Changed Me

Five figures from the arts and science introduce books that changed their lives and work.

Download The Essay

The Essay podcast

Download all the episodes from the series and listen at your leisure.

Listen Online First

The Essay Online First

Hear all five episodes of the latest episodes of the Essay before they're broadcast