Schiller's "On Grace and Dignity" in Its Cultural Context
Friedrich Schiller is not only one of the leading poets and
dramatists of German Classicism but also an inspiring philosopher.
His essay "Über Anmut und Würde" (On Grace and Dignity) marks a
radical break with Enlightenment thinking and its morally
prescriptive agenda. Here Schiller does not pursue the prevalent
interest in the individual artist as genius or in the creative act;
instead, he establishes a harmony of mind and body in the aesthetic
realm, putting down his thoughts on aesthetics in a systematic way
for the first time, building on his own earlier forays into the
field and on an intensive study of Kant. The popular essay form
allowed Schiller to combine condensed thought with clear and
rhetorically effective presentation, but his innovation here is his
insistence on a freedom for art that affirms the moral freedom of
reason, reuniting the human faculties radically separated by
Enlightenment thought. Schiller sees aesthetic autonomy as the way
forward for civilization. This is the first English scholarly
edition of this pivotal essay, accompanied by the first
comprehensive commentary on it. The essays focus on various facets
of Schiller's essay and its socio-historical and philosophical
context. Schiller's analysis is examined in the light of the
thematic context of his plays as well as its surviving influence
into the twentieth century. Contributors: Jane Curran, Christophe
Fricker, David Pugh, Fritz Heuer, Alan Menhennet.
Jane V. Curran is Professor of German at Dalhousie University,
Halifax, Nova Scotia. Christophe Fricker is a D. Phil. candidate at
St. John's College, Oxford.
Subjects: Language & Literature, Sociology
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