Aesthetics and Modernity from Schiller to the Frankfurt School
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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.
of critical grip.15 His remark might seem to suggest hostility to the aesthetic on the part of a naïvely moralist and literalistic critic. But the opposite is the case. Leavis had a radical commitment to the specialness of the imaginative experience involved in a literary engagement with language and, by the 13 14 15 Nietzsche, Untimely Meditations, 168. Nietzsche, Twilight, 90, trans. modified. Leavis, The Common Pursuit, 89. 22 Michael Bell same token, had an almost unbearably urgent
reality, emotion and intellect, creation and analysis. The similar structures of their aims and responses, their focus on dialectical processes of successive otherness and integration point to the general coherence of the whole period. This illuminates – yet again – the special (or even untenable) position of Weimar classicism as a classicism embedded in an intellectual landscape that in a European context is called Romanticism. German classicism, occurring after the advent of the awareness
the energy of conf licting forces, arresting the imagination of the reader in the fixity of a blind determinism. Conclusion Schiller’s aesthetics has often been depicted as an idealist aesthetics of autonomy – idealizing both in its tendency to sublate the real conf licts and oppositions inherent in the real world, and idealizing in so far as it supposedly opts for the universal, the generic, the objective, and ultimately, the lawfulness of objective morality at the cost of the particular, the
response to those words shaped the movement’s formal design.3 Sustained and spirited, the lack of interest accorded the movement’s purely textual element began during the composer’s lifetime. One of Beethoven’s otherwise most sympathetic early critics, Adolf Bernhard Marx, writing in 1826, unequivocally denied the finale was ‘a composition of Schiller’s ode’, or, for that matter, ‘the musical expression of its content or even of its words’.4 Friedrich Nietzsche agreed. Even though he viewed the
H. Kaulen, eds, Literatur als Spiel. Evolutionsbiologische, ästhetische und pädagogische Aspekte. Beiträge zum Deutschen Germanistentag 2007 (Berlin: de Gruyter, 2009), 135–156. Freud, S. Der Dichter und das Phantasieren, Freuds Gesammelte Werke, Vol. 7, ed. A. Freud (Frankfurt am Main: Fischer Verlag, 1972). Nethersole, R. ‘“[…] die Triebe zu leben, zu schaf fen, zu spielen”. Schillers Spieltriebkonzeption aus heutiger Sicht’, H-J. Knobloch, ed., Schiller heute (Tübingen: Staufenburg-Verlag,