What: Erik Vogt, Gwendolyn Miles Smith Professor of Philosophy, will deliver an inaugural lecture entitled, “The Philosophers and Richard Wagner.” Vogt’s presentation will survey different philosophical constructions of the problematic yet far-reaching “case of Richard Wagner” that is intended to designate a novel type of debate about the interrelationship of music, drama, and mythology.
Richard Wagner was a 19th-century German composer, theater director, polemicist and conductor who is primarily known for his operas.
Vogt’s lecture will focus attention on the controversial question as to whether the notion of the “gesamtkunstwerk” (total work of art) provides the interpretative key for an adequate understanding of the aesthetic and political effects commonly ascribed to Wagner’s music dramas.
The lecture is free and open to the public. A reception following Vogt’s talk will be held in the Academic Club in Hamlin Hall.
When: Monday, February 24 at 4:30 p.m.
Where: McCook Auditorium on the Trinity campus, 300 Summit St.
Background: A Gesamtkunstwerk is a work of art that makes use of all or many art forms. Although the term was first used by the German writer K.F.E. Trahndorff in 1827, Wagner used the term in two 1849 essays: “Art and Revolution” and “The Artwork of the Future.” The word has been closely associated with Wagner’s aesthetic ideals.
In addition to Vogt’s position in the philosophy department at Trinity, he is Universitats-Dozen in the department of philosophy at the University of Vienna in Austria, as well as vice president and treasurer of the Society for The Philosophic Study of Genocide and the Holocaust. His main research interests are aesthetics and political theory.
Vogt, who has been a faculty member at Trinity since 2002, is the author of four books and a forthcoming book on the aesthetic-political readings of Wagner. Vogt is the editor or co-editor of 11 volumes and the translator of more than 20 books.
Vogt earned his master’s degree, Ph.D. and Univ.-Doz. from the University of Vienna, Austria.
The Gwendolyn Miles Smith Presidential Chair was endowed in 1995 with a bequest from Gwendolyn Miles Smith in support of a professorship in an academic department or program as determined by the president and the dean of the faculty. Earlier gifts from the couple resulted in the opening of the Allan K. Smith and Gwendolyn Miles Smith Alumni-Faculty House in 1990 and 1985, the endowment of two professorial chairs in the College’s English department and the Writing Center, and additional funding for faculty support.
Gwendolyn Smith received the doctor of humane letters, honoris causa, from Trinity in 1989. Her husband, Allan K. Smith, was a member of the Class of 1911. She was an active volunteer in the Hartford community, serving as president of the Hartford YWCA, president of the Women’s Board of the Hartford Seminary Foundation, and a member of the Vestry of Trinity Episcopal Church. She served as a trustee of the Hartford College for Women for 12 years and was a member of the Women’s Committee of the Wadsworth Atheneum and president of the Town and County Club.
For more information, please contact Trinity’s Office of Donor Relations at 860-297-2010.