Dr Anthony Barron

Martin Heidegger; Iris Murdoch; Existentialism; Reformation Theology and its influence upon Literature.


My research projects are motivated by my abiding fascination with interrelationships between the history of ideas and the arts. Accordingly, they are interdisciplinary in nature and focussed on the various ways in which the abstract conceptual discourse of subjects such as Philosophy, Theology and Psychology figures in a variety of seminal literary texts. I am presently investigating intertextual links between the philosophy of Heidegger and the critical and creative writings of Iris Murdoch. I aim to show that Murdoch’s highly refined sense of the distinctions between Philosophy and Literature can be understood in relation to her conspicuously nuanced reading of Heidegger. I am also developing aspects of my earlier work that explore the aesthetic significance of theological themes in the writings of Swift and Beckett.


In instances where interdisciplinary expertise is required, I work as an evaluator of conference abstracts in conjunction with staff in the Department of Education and Lifelong learning at Waterford Institute of Technology.

Since 2011 I have been responsible for the academic and administrative aspects of Waterford’s Annual Bloomsday celebrations.

I have previously worked with colleagues in the planning and running of the George Berkeley Summer School


Sole authored monograph

Against Reason: Schopenhauer, Beckett and the Aesthetics of Irreducibility (New York and Stuttgart: Columbia University Press-ibidem-Verlag (2017)

Peer-reviewed articles

‘An Agon with the Twilighters: Samuel Beckett and the Primacy of the Aesthetic’, Irish University Review, 42 (1) (2012), 6-23.

Further Research Outputs

Waterford Philosophical Society

In 2005, I founded the Waterford Philosophical Society. Since then I have delivered weekly lectures on interrelationships between the history of ideas and the arts to the members of that group. While my talks cover the works of individual thinkers within Western intellectual history from the perspective of chronological development, they also engage with special topics such as Philosophy and Literature, Aesthetics, Ethics, Logic, and the Philosophy of Mind. My work with the Waterford Philosophical Society also involves the arrangement of talks by renowned national and international guest speakers. I consider public engagement and questions relating to the general accessibility and pertinence of the Humanities to be core aspects of my teaching and research interests.

Seminar and Conference Papers

Staff-Postgrad Seminar Series, Trinity College Dublin, 10 March 2010

Paper Title: ‘The Aesthetics of Renunciation: Schopenhauer, Beckett and the Palliation of Life’

‘Innovation in Irish Poetry’ University College Cork, 12 July 2011

Paper Title: ‘The Cold Comforts of Apperception: Beckett’s Agon with the Twilighters’

‘Consciousness and Cognition: Theatre Practice and Performance’ University College Cork, 24 May 2014

Paper Title: ‘Beckett’s Better Consciousness: A Schopenhauerian Reading of Eleutheria’

George Berkeley Summer School, Thomastown, 16 August 2014

Paper Title: ‘Idealism Revised? Schopenhauer’s Reading of Berkeley’

Eighteenth-Century Society of Ireland, University College Cork, 13 June 2015

Paper Title: ‘Sanctified Reason: An Exploration of Swift’s Repudiation of Irish Presbyterian Dissent’

‘The Other 1916’ Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Dun Laoghaire, 3 June 2016

Paper Title: ‘A Quest for Authenticity: Heideggerian Perspectives on A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man’

‘Women’s Voices in Ireland: From the Decade of Revolution to the Decade of Centenaries’ University College Cork, 10 June 2017

Paper Title: ‘An Elusive Ironist: Tracing the Voice of Lydia Mary Foster’

ISTR Conference 2018: ‘Changing Theatres: Dramaturgy & Contemporary Theatre Practice & Research’, University College Cork, 21 June 2018

Paper Title: ‘Effing the Ineffable: Beckett’s Theatrical Imagination from Page to Stage’

(Forthcoming) ‘The Art of Being Human: Friendship, Music and Death’ Prague, 8 March 2020

Paper Title: ‘Forgiveness and Goodness: An Intertextual Reading of Shakespeare and Nietzsche’

Media Interactions

‘What is Philosophy?’ WLR FM (2015).

Awards & Funding

In 2014, I received an Ussher Award from the School of English at TCD. This enabled me to develop elements of my research that were integral to both my Ph.D. thesis and my subsequently published study of Schopenhauer and Beckett.