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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The aesthetics of modern society, 25 April 2004
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Friedrich Schiller is perhaps better known as the great tragedian ofGerman literature's classical period; the friend of Goethe and author ofplays such as 'The Robbers', 'Wallenstein' and 'Don Carlos'. However, formuch of his short life he also pursued a considerable and distinguishedinterest in philosophy, and for a number of years held the chair inhistory at Jena. It was in the mid-1790s, when concern at events inrevolutionary France was at its height, that Schiller decided to addressthe question of how it was possible for a society to become free withoutdescending into anarchy. For the creator of Karl Moor and Don Carlos thiswas no easy task, and not one that could simply decreed by thepronouncements of a revolutionary assembly. Rather it required a totaltransformation in the nature of man and his society. Drawing on the workof Kant, but building upon it and moving beyond it, Schiller posited theidea of man's aesthetic education as a bridge towards the future society;a means of returning man to wholeness with himself and his society, thusprefiguring (and inspiring) many of the ideas of the generation of GermanRomantics, such as Novalis and the Schlegels, growing up at thistime.
The Willoughby edition contains a fine introduction to the workin its philosophical, historical, and personal contexts, and in itspresentation of the original text alongside the English translation mustbe considered the definitive edition. It should perhaps be noted thatreaders expecting to find theories of artistic appreciation or creativityfrom this great artist will be disappointed. Schiller's concerns lieelsewhere in this work. However, for those interested in what GordanCraig long ago termed 'the politics of the unpolitical', and Germanthought in general, this cannot but be a necessary read.
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On the Aesthetic Education of Man (Dover Books on Western Philosophy)
On the Aesthetic Education of Man (Dover Books on Western Philosophy) by Friedrich Schiller (Paperback - 26 Nov 2004)
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