History of Aesthetics

Date: Wed, 06 Mar 1996 08:35:15 -0500 (EST) From: SCHNECK@CUA.EDU
from: S. Schneck, Dept. of Politics, Catholic University

I need a comprehensive, intellectual history of aesthetics. What I'm looking for should be linked with the canonical authors of the Western philosophical tradition from Plato through the 19th century. Anybody have a text or two to recommend?

In lieu of a comprehensive text, I'd settle for pieces, I suppose. The piece that I need most would concern the shift from Enlightenment aesthetics to Romanticism. I could also use something in the German idealist genre that contrasts ancient and modern aesthetics.

Thanks, friends, in advance!

Date: 06 Mar 96 12:51:19 PST
From: William Peck <William.Peck@directory.Reed.EDU>

Mr. Schneck's request rings a bell for me too. I'm tryimng to get up a course on German aesthetics - I've always done German phil. but never specigfically aesthetics before. I also have concluded that I should start with the rise of romanticism. So I'd appreciate it seeing what others' advice is to mr Schneck.

Of the books I already know, which are olden but golden, I recommend two by one literary historian much involved in intellectual history. The author is Meyer H. Abrams. The books are 1) The Mirror and the Lamp, and 2) (his magnum opus) Natural Supernaturalism. Abrams' beat was English lit, but he realized that discussion of romanticism can't well be done without featuring German art-and-thought um die Jahrhundertwende.

Lit on the difference between ancient and modern aesthetics should be easy to find, since that sort of contrast was central to German romantic thought - I think especially of the Schlegel brothers. But I confess I don't know exactly what to specify. Who knows more about this than we do?

Bill Peck
Reed C

Date: Wed, 06 Mar 1996 15:22:14 -0600 (CST) From: GILDRIER@LYNX.APSU.EDU

On a history of aesthetics of broad range, Monroe C. BeardsleyAesthetics from Classical Greece to the Present: A Short History-1966 is a classic. An interesting book on shift to Romanticism is Morse Peckham-Romanticism and Ideology-1995, the last third of which is on aesthetics. R.P. Gildrie APSU gildrier@apsuo1.apsu.edu

Date: Wed, 6 Mar 1996 15:51:54 -0500 (EST) From: susan h libby <libbysh@wam.umd.edu>

This is in response to S. Schenck's request for references to histories of aesthetics. Here are a few sources--they vary in their comprehensiveness, but I hope they're helpful:

M.H. Abrams, -The Mirror and the Lamp: Romantic Theory and the Critical TRadition-, 1953 (still in print, available at Borders). Mostly on English poetry, but a great, classic study.

Moshe Barasch, -Theories of Art from Plato to Winckelmann-, 1985 and -Modern Theories of Art from Winckelmann to Baudelaire-, 1990.

Annie Becq, -Genese de l'esthetique francaise moderne 1680-1814-, 1994.

Roland Mortier, -L'Originalite: une nouvelle categorie esthetique au siecle des Lumieres-, 1982.

Harold Osborne, -Aesthetics and Art Theory-, 1970.

Herbert Dieckmann, "Diderot's Conception of Genius," -Journal of the History of Ideas-, II, 1941:151-182.

Richard Shiff, "The Original, the Imitation, the Copy and the Spontaneous Classic", -Yale French Studies-, v. 66, 1984:27-54.

Obviously, this list focuses on French aesthetics: for looking for German sources, you could start with these anthologies:

Lorenz Eitner, ed. -Neo-Classicism and Romanticism: Sources and Documents- 2 vols. 1970.

Albert Hofstadter and Richard Kuhns, eds. -Philosophies of Art and Beauty: Selected Readings in Aesthetics from Plato to Heidegger-, 1976.

Have fun!

Susan Libby
Art History
University of Maryland, College Park

Date: Thu, 07 Mar 1996 12:58:36 -0500 (EST) From: NMCOURTRIGHT@amherst.edu

I found the 2-volume _History of Aesthetics_ by Wladislaw Tatarkiewicz (The Hague, 1970) to be useful, although it covers only ancient and medieval aesthetics. He writes brief comprehensive essays on the general pictures, then includes excerpts of texts on the subject.
Nicola Courtright

Date: Mon, 11 Mar 1996 12:13:25 -0500 (EST) From: adavi03@emory.edu

On March 11, William Peck wrote:

>Lit on the difference between ancient and modern aesthetics should be easy to
>find, since that sort of contrast was central to German romantic thought - I
>think especially of the Schlegel brothers. But I confess I don't know exactly
>what to specify.

There is a fairly inexpensive copy of Friedrich Schlegel's Fragments available under the title _Friedrich Schlegel's Lucinda and the Fragments_, ed. Peter Firchow (or, at least, it was available a few years ago). Other prominent writers might include the German poet Hoelderlin, and the French writer Jean-Jacques Rousseau (I am thinking of _Reveries of the Solitary Walker_, but there are others too).

In terms of literary criticism, one might also want to look at the first chapter of Auerbach's _Mimesis_, which is very useful in showing how different narratives might be, and thus showing that ideas may be rightly described as lying behind even a form of narrative. His work deals here with the difference between Greek and Hebrew narrative style, but seems to me a nice pedagogical tool when trying to introduce Romanticism.

It would be interesting to hear whether some of you think one could deal with Kierkegaard in terms of aesthetics too. One could make much of his use of indirect discourse, but is hampered by the statements against aesthetics.

Allen S. Davidson                |    "The touchstone by which men try us
Graduate Division of Religion    |     is most often their own vanity."
Emory University                 |
                                 |     (from George Eliot's _Romola_)

Date: Thu Mar 07 15:51:30 1996
From: sfl@falcon.cc.ukans.edu

I don't know if any of these sources will be helpful, but here just a few articles and books that I've come across while studying the origins of German Historicism :

Erich Auerbach., "Vico and Aesthetic Historicism," Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism. 8 (1949), 110-118.

Georg Biederman., "German Classical Philosophy and Its History Conception," Duetsche Zeitschrift Fuer Philosophy. 28 (1980), 1355-1370. (in German)

Hans Kohn., "The Multidemensional Enlightenment," Journal of the History Of Ideas. 31(1970), 465-474.

Allan Megill., "Aesthetic Theory and Historical Consciousness in the Eighteenth Century," History and Theory. 17 (1978), 29-62.

Jnos Rathman., "Vico, Herder, und Hegel," Duetsche Zeitschrift Fuer Philosophy. 26 (1978), 1294-1297. (in German).

Isaiah Berlin.., _Vico and Herder_ (London, 1976).

Robert E. Norton. _Herder's Aesthetics and the European Enlightenment_ (Ithica, 1991).

Peter Hans Reill., _ The German Enlightenment and the Rise of German Historicism_ (Berkeley, 1975).

Earl A. Wasserman., _Aspects of the Eighteenth Century_ (Baltimore, 1965).

Hayden White., _The Historical Imagination in Nineteenth- Century Europe_ (London, 1973).

Hopefully at least one of these items will be helpful.

Susan Longfield

Date: Mon, 11 Mar 1996 14:13:23 -0600
From: Rosemary Grant <fhr010@mail.connect.more.net>

There's a good source called _History of the Humanities_ but I don't remember the author. Someone else on this list will know. The main focus of this book is how teaching the humanities began but it also connects to the history of aesthetics. You might want to check it out.
Rosemary Bradford Grant

Monett High School, history & humanities instructor        1-417-235-5445
UMKC adjunct,                                              fax 417-235-7884

Monett, MO 65708

Date: Mon, 18 Mar 1996 01:07:05 -0500
From: J. R. Brown <jbrown@vivid.net>

Following this thread, I am curious if there has been no mention of Croce or if I've simply missed it ? I suspect none of his work is in print in English).

J. R. Brown

"Que sais-je ?" Montaigne

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