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creature, Quadrio.” ". In spite of these aspirations Bettinelli's book (1769) contains little beyond vivacious and eloquent empirical observations concerning the psychology of poets, “poetic enthusiasm,” to which he assigns six degrees, namely, elevation, vision, rapidity, novelty and surprise, passion and transfusion. Equally empirical was Mario Pagano in his two fragments, Gusto e le belle arti and Origine e natura della poesia (1783–1785), in which he grotesquely combines some ideas from Vico with the current sensationalism. Theoretico-imaginative form and sensuous pleasure are presented by him as two historical periods of art. “In their cradle the fine arts are directed towards making a true imitation of nature rather than towards loveliness. Their first steps are towards expression rather than charm. . . . In the most ancient poetry, even in the ballads of barbarous ages, there lives a most compelling pathos: passions are expressed naturally, even the sound of the words is alive with the expression of the things described.” But “the period of perfection is reached at the moment when exact imitation of nature is coupled with complete beauty, accord and harmony,” when “the taste is refined and society reaches its most complete form of culture.” Fine arts “precede by a short time the dawn of philosophy, that is to say, the time of the most intense perfection of society”; indeed, certain modes of art, such as tragedy, must necessarily come later than philosophy whose aid must be invoked to further “the purgation of manners.” ”
The compatriots and successors of Baumgarten, like those of Vico, did little by way of understanding or improving upon his work. An enthusiastic admirer and disciple of Baumgarten who had attended his lectures at Frankfort-on-the-Oder, Georg Friedrich Meier, came forward in 1746 to defend the Meditationes against the attacks of Quistorp to whom the master had deigned no reply; already in 1748, prior to the publication of the AEsthetic, he had published the first volume of his Principles of all the Beautiful Sciences,” followed in 1749 and 1750 by the second and third volumes. This book, which is a complete exposition of Baumgarten's theory, is divided, according to the master's method, into three parts: invention of beautiful thoughts (heuristic), aesthetic method (methodic), and the beautiful signification of thoughts (semiotic); the first of these (occupying two and a half volumes) is subdivided into three sections: beauty of sense-apprehension (aesthetic richness, grandeur, verisimilitude, vivacity, certainty, sensitive life and wit), sensitive faculties (attention, abstraction, senses, imagination, subtlety, acumen, memory, poetic power, taste, foresight, conjecture, signification and the minor appetitive faculties), and the diverse kinds of beautiful thought (aesthetic concepts, judgements, and syllogisms). Elsewhere than in this book, which was reprinted many times (in 1757 an epitome was issued *), Meier discusses AEsthetic in several of his numerous works, especially in a little tract, Considerations on the First Principles of all Fine Arts and Sciences.” Who was more tenderly inclined than he towards the science so recently born and baptized 2 He was ardent in her defence against those who denied both her possibility and her utility, and against those who admitted these yet complained, not unreasonably, that she was substantially the same as that which in former days had been treated as Poetics and Rhetoric. He parried this accusation, of which he recognized the partial truth, by asserting that it was impossible for one writer to have perfect knowledge of all the arts: another of his excuses was to the effect that Æsthetic was a science too young to show the perfection reached by other sciences after the cultivation of centuries ; in one place he says he has no intention of arguing “with those * See above, p. 217. * Anfangsgründe aller schönen Wissenschaften, Halle, 1748–1750. * A uszug aus den Anfangsgründe, etc., ibid. 1758.
* Saverio Bettinelli, Dell' entusiasmo nelle belle arti, 1769, in Opere, iii. pp. xi.-xiii.
* Fr. M. Pagano, De' saggi politici, Naples, 1783–1785, vol. i. Appendix to § 1, “Sull' origine e natura della poesia”; vol. ii. § 6, “Del gusto e delle belle arti.”
enemies of AEsthetic who will not or cannot see the true nature and aim of this science, but have built for themselves in its place a deformed and miserable image against which, when they fight, they fight against themselves.” With philosophic resignation he concludes that the same fate is in store for AEsthetic as for every science : “At first when almost unknown they encounter enemies and detractors who ridicule them through ignorance and prejudice; but later they meet persons of intellect who, by working at them conjointly, carry them on to their proper perfection.” "
Confusions of Students of the new science flocked to Halle University
Meier. to hear Meier lecture on AEsthetic whose “chief author ‘’ or “inventor” (Haupturheber, Erfinder), as Meier never tired of repeating, was “Herr Professor Baumgarten” ; at the same time warning them that his own Anfangsgründe were no mere transcription of Baumgarten's lectures.” Still, while recognizing the great gifts of Meier as publicity-agent, the facility, clarity and wealth of his eloquence, and his shrewdness in polemic, one cannot altogether deny the justice of the remark upon “Professor Baumgarten of Frankfort and his ape (Affe) Professor Meier of Halle.” ” Every defect of Baumgarten's AEsthetic reappears accentuated in Meier; the limits of the inferior cognitive faculties, alleged as the domain of poetry and the arts, are laid down by him most strangely. It is curious to note how, for example, he interprets the difference between the confused (aesthetical) and the distinct (logical), and the proposition that beauty disappears when made the object of distinct thought. “The cheeks of a beautiful girl whereon bloom the roses of youth are lovely so long as they are looked at with the naked eye. But let them be examined with a magnifying glass. Where is their beauty 2 One can hardly believe that such a disgusting surface, scaly, all mounts and hollows, the pores full of dirt, with hairs sprouting here and there, can be the seat of that amorous attraction which subdues the heart.”" That is described as “aesthetically false ’’ whose truth the inferior faculty is unable to grasp : for example, the theory that bodies are composed of monads.” Once they have become intelligible to these faculties, general concepts possess great aesthetic richness, since they include infinite consequences and particular cases.” AEsthetic also comprehends those things which cannot be thought distinctly or, if So thought, might be capable of upsetting philosophic gravity: a kiss may be an excellent subject for a poet; but whatever would be thought of a philosopher who sought to demonstrate its necessity by the mathematical method 2* Moreover, Meier includes the whole theory of observation and experiment in AEsthetic, to which this theory belongs, he says, by right of its connexion with the senses,” and also the whole theory of the appetitive faculties, because “aesthetic requires not only a fine wit but a noble heart as well.”" He comes near truth sometimes, when, for example, he observes that the logical form presupposes the aesthetic and that our first concepts are sensitive, later becoming distinct by the help of logic; 7 and when he condemns allegory as “among the most decadent forms of beautiful thinking.”.” But, on the other hand, he thinks that logical distinctions and definitions, although not necessarily sought after by genius, are very useful in poetry; they are even indispensable as regulators of beautiful thinking and make up, as it were, the skeleton of the body poetic : great care, however, must be taken not to judge aesthetical general concepts, notiones aestheticae universales, with the rigorous exactitude demanded by philosophical. And since such concepts, taken singly, may be likened to unstrung jewels, they must be connected by the string of aesthetic judgement and syllogism, the theory of which is identical with that presented by Logic, setting aside that part which is of little or no use to genius, but belongs exclusively to the philosopher.” In his Considerations of 1757 Meier, having combated the principle of imitation (which appeared to him at once too broad, since science and morals are also imitations of nature, and too narrow, since art does not imitate natural objects solely nor should it imitate them all, for the immoral must be excluded), reaffirmed the thesis that the aesthetic principle consists in the “greatest possible beauty of sense-perception.” ” He upheld this by condemning as erroneous the belief that this sense-perception is wholly sensuous and confused, without any gleam of distinctness or rationality. The perception of sweet, bitter, red, etc., is wholly sensuous; but there is another perception which is both sensuous and intellectual, confused and distinct, in which both faculties, the higher and the lower, collaborate. When intellectuality prevails in this consciousness, then we have science : when sensibility, then we have poetry. “From our explanation it will be gathered that the inferior cognitive faculties must collect all the material of a poem, and all its parts. Intellect and judgement, on the other hand, watch and ensure that these materials are placed side by side in such a way that in their connexion distinction and order may be observed.” ” Here a plunge into sensationalism, there a fugitive glimpse of truth : most often, and in conclusion, an adherence to the old mechanical, ornamental, pedagogic theory of poetry: this is the impression left on us by the aesthetic writings of Meier. Another disciple of Baumgarten, Mendelssohn, conceiving beauty as “indistinct image of a perfection,” deduced that God can have no perception of beauty, as this is merely a phenomenon of human imperfection. According to him a primary form of pleasure is that of the senses, arising from “the bettered state of our bodily constitution "; a secondary form is the aesthetic fact of sensible beauty, that is to say, unity in variety; a third * Anfangsgründe, §§ 541-670. * Betrachtungen, § 20. * Op. cit. § 21.
* Preface to 2nd ed. (1768) of vol. ii. of Anfangsgründe, and Betrachtungen, cit., esp. §§ 1, 2, 34.
* Preface to vol. i., and cf. § 5.
* In a letter to Gottsched, 1747, in Danzel, Gottsched, p. 215.
* Anfangsgründe, § 23. * Op. cit. § 92. * Op. cit. § 49. * Op. cit. § 55. * Op. cit. §§ 355-370. * Op. cit. §§ 529-540. 7 Op. cit. § 5. * Op. cit. § 413.