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Title: Emphasising the positive : the critical role of Schlegel’s aesthetics
Authors: Corby, James
Keywords: Schlegel, Karl Wilhelm Friedrich, 1772-1829
Discourse analysis
Romanticism -- Germany
Interpretation (Philosophy)
Issue Date: 2010
Publisher: The European Legacy
Citation: Corby, J. (2010). Emphasising the positive : the critical role of Schlegel’s aesthetics. The European Legacy, 15(6), 751-768.
Abstract: In its relationship with that which might be considered to exist beyond the perceived limits of philosophical discourse—for the sake of brevity let us call it the Absolute—Early German Romanticism tends to be presented either as mystically positivistic and therefore wholly unphilosophical, or as philosophically informed and committed to a sort of critical antifoundationalism that offers, at best, a negative non-relation to the Absolute. Naturally enough, these two opposing positions give rise to opposing reconstructions of Romantic aesthetics. Whilst broadly in agreement with the latter interpretation, this article argues, in relation to Friedrich Schlegel, that in the rush to establish the philosophical credentials of Fru ̈hromantik, some of its complexity has been jettisoned and along with it a more accurate understanding of the guiding spirit of Romantic aesthetics. Drawing on Fichte and Walter Benjamin, it will be argued that Schlegel’s notion of the Wechselerweis is intended to bridge the ideal and the real in a positive experience of negation and that his much-vaunted aesthetics amounts to an attempt to develop a philosophico-literary form that would be able to express or, rather, perform precisely this.
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