Aesthetics and Modernity from Schiller to the Frankfurt School

Aesthetics and Modernity from Schiller to the Frankfurt School

Language: English

Pages: 369

ISBN: 3034302177

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


The essays in this book investigate the complex and often contradictory relationships between aesthetics and modernity from the late Enlightenment in the 1790s to the Frankfurt School in the 1960s and engage with the classic German tradition of socio-cultural and aesthetic theory that extends from Friedrich Schiller to Theodor W. Adorno. While contemporary discussions in aesthetics are often dominated by abstract philosophical approaches, this book embeds aesthetic theory in broader social and cultural contexts and considers a wide range of artistic practices in literature, drama, music and visual arts. Contributions include research on Schiller’s writings and his work in relation to moral sentimentalism, Romantic aesthetics, Friedrich Schlegel, Beethoven, Huizinga and Greenberg; philosophers such as Kierkegaard, Benjamin, Heidegger and Adorno; and thematic approaches to Darwinism and Naturalism, modern tragedy, postmodern realism and philosophical anthropology from the eighteenth century to the present day. This book is based on papers given at an international symposium held under the auspices of the University of Nottingham at the Institute of German and Romance Studies, London, in September 2009.

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invisible hand’17 – in order to rectify their deliberate disruption of  his own af fairs in his homeland. Like O., other members of  the Prince’s entourage were skilfully removed, and replaced with emissaries of this ‘invisible hand’. F***, however, whose letters are cited by O. in the second book, remains oblivious to all of  this. Nevertheless, O. himself makes no attempt to enlighten the reader as to how these plots 17 ‘einer unsichtbaren Hand’, Schiller, Geisterseher, 655. The Invisible

matters in the past, and under which circumstances this understanding will be accurate and piece about ‘Goethe’s Styl’, he proceeds to present a successful example of modern literature: Goethe points the way to the future. The Aesthetics of  Historicity 65 possibly complete. In this their thinking is closely related to the developing notions of post-Fichtian Idealism. The Weimar classicist and the Jena Romantic set their own priorities in accordance with their own intellectual tendencies.

Dainat, H. ‘Der Unglückliche Mörder: Zur Kriminalgeschichte der deutschen Spät­ aufklärung’, Zeitschrift für deutsche Philologie 107 (1988), 517–541. Dewhurst, K., and N. Reeves, eds. Friedrich Schiller. Medicine, Psychology, Literature (Berkeley: University of  California Press, 1978). Fink, G.-L. ‘Theologie, psychologie et sociologie du crime: Le conte moral de Schubart a Schiller’, Recherches germaniques 6 (1976), 55–111. Foucault, M. Discipline and Punish, trans. Alan Sheridan (New York:

redemption that curiously cannot impart redemption. Jürgen Habermas neatly sums up what Schiller (and Wagner?) seems to have in mind when he states that modernity, whenever such has been at work, pivots on a dynamic relationship with the past. The Enlightenment ‘ideal of perfection’, Habermas writes, and the ‘infinite progress of  knowledge’ inspired by modern science may have ‘produced a radicalized consciousness’ that ‘detached itself from all previous historical connection and understood

Aesthetic Modernism 163 two recurrent critical axes: the idea of  freedom (articulated in individual experience); and the degree to which the aesthetic experience of  freedom makes good on its promise by realizing some revolutionary potential. The Aesthetic as Experience of  Freedom Schiller’s relationship to Kant is fascinating and somewhat tortured. Never entirely comfortable distancing himself from the Königsberg master, Schiller nevertheless departed from a strictly Kantian aesthetic on

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