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Art of the Modern Age: Philosophy of Art from Kant to Heidegger

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This is a sweeping and provocative work of aesthetic theory: a trenchant critique of the philosophy of art as it developed from the eighteenth century to the early twentieth century, combined with a carefully reasoned plea for a new and more flexible approach to art.

Jean-Marie Schaeffer, one of France's leading aestheticians, explores the writings of Kant, Schlegel, Novalis, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, and Heidegger to show that these diverse thinkers shared a common ...

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Overview

This is a sweeping and provocative work of aesthetic theory: a trenchant critique of the philosophy of art as it developed from the eighteenth century to the early twentieth century, combined with a carefully reasoned plea for a new and more flexible approach to art.

Jean-Marie Schaeffer, one of France's leading aestheticians, explores the writings of Kant, Schlegel, Novalis, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, and Heidegger to show that these diverse thinkers shared a common approach to art, which he calls the "speculative theory." According to this theory, art offers a special kind of intuitive, quasi-mystical knowledge, radically different from the rational knowledge acquired by science. This view encouraged theorists to consider artistic geniuses the high-priests of humanity, creators of works that reveal the invisible essence of the world. Philosophers came to regard inexpressibility as the aim of art, refused to consider second-tier creations genuine art, and helped to create conditions in which the genius was expected to shock, puzzle, and mystify the public. Schaeffer shows that this speculative theory helped give birth to romanticism, modernism, and the avant-garde, and paved the way for an unfortunate divorce between art and enjoyment, between "high art" and popular art, and between artists and their public.

Rejecting the speculative approach, Schaeffer concludes by defending a more tolerant theory of art that gives pleasure its due, includes popular art, tolerates less successful works, and accounts for personal tastes.

"[A] remarkable work.... [Schaeffer's] writing is governed by ... the ideals of clarity and consequence, the ideas of logic, truth, and evidence.... Schaeffer is so precise and unrelenting a philosophical critic that one wonders how some of the philosophies he anatomizes here can possibly survive the operation."—From the foreword by Arthur C. Danto

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Editorial Reviews

BookForum
Art of the Modern Age is an important contribution to the field, and its readership should not be limited to philosophers. While Schaeffer is not afraid to do the necessary detail work, he never gets mired in issues of merely scholastic interest.
— F.L. Rush
Choice
This academically solid, well-documented book . . . [offers] very good background for courses in the history of aesthetics or art theory.
Bookforum

Art of the Modern Age is an important contribution to the field, and its readership should not be limited to philosophers. While Schaeffer is not afraid to do the necessary detail work, he never gets mired in issues of merely scholastic interest.
— F.L. Rush
BookForum - F.L. Rush
Art of the Modern Age is an important contribution to the field, and its readership should not be limited to philosophers. While Schaeffer is not afraid to do the necessary detail work, he never gets mired in issues of merely scholastic interest.
From the Publisher
"Art of the Modern Age is an important contribution to the field, and its readership should not be limited to philosophers. While Schaeffer is not afraid to do the necessary detail work, he never gets mired in issues of merely scholastic interest."—F.L. Rush, Bookforum

"This academically solid, well-documented book . . . [offers] very good background for courses in the history of aesthetics or art theory."Choice

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691016696
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 4/4/2000
  • Series: New French Thought Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 376
  • Product dimensions: 6.48 (w) x 9.58 (h) x 1.13 (d)

Meet the Author


Jean-Marie Schaeffer is Research Director at the Centre National de la recherche scientifique in Paris. He is also a member of the Centre de recherches sur les arts et la langage (Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris). His books include "Les Célibataires de l'Art: Pour une esthétique sans mythes" and "Qu'est-ce qu'un genre littèraire?" Arthur C. Danto is Johnsonian Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at Columbia University.
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Table of Contents

Foreword. The Speculative Philosophers of Art by Arthur C. Danto ix
Introduction 3
Part One: WHAT IS PHILOSOPHICAL AESTHETICS?
CHAPTER 1 Kantian Prolegomena to an Analytic Aesthetics 17
THE JUDGMENT OF TASTE AND FINALITY WITHOUT REPRESENTATION OF A SPECIFIC END 19
NATURAL BEAUTY AND ARTIFICIAL BEAUTY: THE STATUS OF THE FINE ARTS 31
GENIUS AND TASTE 40
THE WORK OF ART IN KANT AND IN ROMANTICISM 49
AESTHETICS, META-AESTHETICS, AND THEORY OF ART 55
Part Two: THE SPECULATIVE THEORY OF ART
CHAPTER 2 The Birth of the Speculative Theory of Art 67
Poetry as the Sublation of Metaphysics (Novalis) 72
FROM PHILOSOPHY TO POETRY 73
THE SPECULATIVE THEORY OF POETRY 81
QUESTIONS 90
The History of Literature as a Speculative Project (Friedrich Schlegel) 96
HISTORICISM 97
LITERATURE 102
THEORY AND HISTORY OF LITERATURE 107
LITERATURE AS AN ORGANISM 114
ANCIENT AND MODERN 121
THE THEORY OF GENRES 129
CHAPTER 3 The System of Art (Hegel) 135
ART 138
ART, PHILOSOPHY, AND RELIGION 146
PHILOSOPHICAL KNOWLEDGE OF ART: SYSTEM AND HISTORY 152
ART AS AN ORGANIC SYSTEM 158
THE ARTS 166
THE ART OF ART: POETRY 174
CHAPTER 4 Ecstatic Vision or Cosmic Fiction? 182
From AnagoGy to Artistic Redemption (Schopenhauer) 186
THE PLACE OF ART 186
FROM ART TO THE ARTS 194
FROM ART AS DETACHMENT TO PHILOSOPHICAL WISDOM 201
The Fiction of Truth and the Truth of Fiction (Nietzsche) 208
ART AS A FUNDAMENTAL METAPHYSICAL ACTIVITY 210
THE GENEALOGY OF ART 222
ART AND THE WILL TO POWER 230
CHAPTER 5 Art as the Thought of Being (Heidegger) 237
HEIDEGGER AND ROMANTICISM 239
ART ANDTRUTH OF BEING 246
ART AS HISTORICAL FOUNDATION AND AS ECSTATIC DEVIATION 252
POETRY AND THOUGHT 256
AN INTERPRETIVE PRACTICE 265
CONCLUSION What the Speculative Tradition Misunderstood 273
THE SPECULATIVE THEORY OF ART IN "THE MODERN ART WORLD" 274
THE SPECULATIVE THEORY OF ART AS A PERSUASIVE DEFINITION: CONCERNING "MODERNIST" HISTORICISM 284
AESTHETICS AND ART 292
ON AESTHETIC PLEASURE 298
Notes 309
Index of Names 347
Index of Concepts 351
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