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The Deutsches Historisches Museum invites viewers to the next segment of the Historical Judgement series on Friday, 23 April 2021. This year’s symposium is dedicated to two influential 19th-century German contemporaries: Karl Marx (18181883) and Richard Wagner (18131883).

With this unusual pairing, the Deutsches Historisches Museum is breaking new ground. Despite the nearly identical birth and death dates of these two men, the parallels within their lives, and their still significant impacts on the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries, Marx and Wagner have rarely been addressed together until now.

For both men, the Revolution of 1848/49 was a life-changing experience, and both subsequently fled Germany and lived in exile— Marx in London, Wagner in Zurich. A few years earlier, in 1843, Marx had written his essay “On the Jewish Question”, and a few years later, in 1850, Wagner composed his article “Judaism in Music”. The main works by each—Marx’s Capital and Wagner’s Ring—have been interpreted as anti-capitalist manifestos, the first an obvious critique, the second an indirect one. Save for a few years, Marx and Wagner both experienced the same world and witnessed the same economic and social upheavals, but they ultimately drew very different conclusions from what they saw. What becomes apparent when Marx and Wagner are considered together? In what ways can they be historicised? And what happens when this does take place?

For this comparison and renewed way of thinking about Marx and Wagner, the DHM has chosen three discourses that left a mark on both and can thus be used to show their commonalities and their differences: antisemitism, alienation, and revolution.

In eight lectures, followed by discussion rounds, internationally renowned experts take a joint look at Marx and Wagner. Speakers and panellists include Prof Dr Christine Achinger, Dr Sabine Beneke, Prof Dr Leon Botstein, Prof Dr Raphael Gross, Prof Dr Rahel Jaeggi, Prof Dr Harold James, Prof Dr Alexander Kluge, Dr Gerd Koenen, Prof Dr Thomas Macho, Dr Kristina Meyer, Prof Dr Christina Morina, Prof Dr Pamela Potter, Prof Dr Jonathan Sperber and Prof. Dr Michael P. Steinberg.

The third issue of the magazine Historical Judgement, featuring the subject Marx, Wagner, Capitalism and German Sentiment, will be published on 19 April 2021.

In 2022 the Deutsches Historisches Museum will show the two exhibitions Karl Marx and Capitalism (working title)  (28 January ‒ 21 August 2022) and Richard Wagner and the History of Feeling (working title) (8 April ‒ 11 September 2022).

Friday, 23 April 2021, 2 pm ‒ 8:30 pm
Capitalism and German Sentiment
3rd International Symposium in the Historical Judgment series

Event location: Livestream from the Deutsches Historisches Museum
Conference languages: German and English, with simultaneous translation
Participation is free of charge.

Registration is required: dhm.de/marxwagner/anmeldung

A detailed programme is available: dhm.de/en/marxwagner

The symposium will be streamed live and recorded.

Interview requests should be made in advance: presse@dhm.de

Download Programme