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The Total Work of Art in European Modernism$
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David Roberts

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780801450235

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801450235.001.0001

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The Destination of Art

The Destination of Art

(p.34) 2 The Destination of Art
The Total Work of Art in European Modernism

David Roberts

Cornell University Press

This chapter focuses on how the French Revolution triggered intense discussions among German poets and thinkers (Hegel, Schiller, and Höolderlin) on the possibilities of aesthetic politics and a new mythology for the new age. In his Lectures on Philosophy, Hegel observed that only two nations participated in the French Revolution: the French in action, the Germans in thought. This division of labor can be read as the two paradigmatic attempts to reconcile nature and culture: through revolution in France and through the path of aesthetic education in Germany. The chapter traces the second path from Schiller’s Letters on Aesthetic Education and the philosophical fragment known as “The Oldest Systematic Program of German Idealism” via Hölderlin’s quest to create a tragedy for the modern polis—that is, for the Swabian republic he hoped for—to Hegel’s interpretation of the destiny of art in the Phenomenology of Spirit (1807) and the Lectures on Aesthetics in the 1820s.

Keywords:   French Revolution, aesthetic politics, cultural secularization, Quatremère de Quincy, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Friedrich Schiller, Friedrich Hölderlin, religion, art

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