« IndietroContinua »
of the internal form of language (which he also called the intuition of intuition, or apperception) with the æsthetic imagination. The Herbartian psychology to which he clung afforded him no clue to such a discovery. Herbart and his followers divorced psychology from logic as a normative science and never succeeded in discerning the true connection between feeling and spiritual formation, soul and spirit ; they never understood that logical thought is one of these spiritual formations : an activity, not a code of external laws. The domain allotted by them to Æsthetic we already know ; for them Æsthetic too was only another code of beautiful formal relations. Under the influence of these doctrines Steinthal was led to regard Art as the embellishment of thoughts, Linguistic as the science of speech, and Rhetoric or Æsthetic as a thing differing from Linguistic since it is science of fine or beautiful speaking. In one of his innumerable tracts he
says, “Poetics and Rhetoric both differ from Linguistic, since they are obliged to touch on many important topics before reaching language. These sciences therefore have but one section devoted to Linguistic, which is the concluding section of Syntax. Moreover Syntax has a character entirely different from Rhetoric and from Poetics; the former is occupied solely with correctness (Richtigkeit) of language; the latter two sciences study beauty or grace of expression (Schönheit oder Angemessenheit des Ausdrucks) : the principles of the first are merely grammatical, the others must consider matters outside language; for example, the disposition of the orator and so forth. To speak plainly, Syntax is to Stylistic as is the grammatical measure of the quantity of vowels to the theory of metre.' That speaking invariably means good or beautiful speaking, since speech that is neither good nor beautiful is not really speech, and that the radical renewal of the concept of language inaugurated by Humboldt and himself must produce far-reaching effects on the cognate sciences of Poetics, Rhetoric and Æsthetic and, by transforming, unify them, never entered Steinthal's head. After all this labour and all this minute analysis, the identification of language and poetry, and of the science of language with the science of poetry, the identification of Linguistic with Æsthetic, still found its least faulty expression in the prophetic aphorisms of Giambattista Vico.
i Gramm., Log. u. Psych. pp. 139-140, 146. : Einleit. Pp. 34-35.
3 See above, pp. 78-79.
MINOR GERMAN ÆSTHETICIANS
Minor estheticians in the metaphysical school.
WHEN we turn from the pages of methodical and serious thinkers such as Schleiermacher, Humboldt and Steinthal, we are filled with distaste by the books written in enormous quantities during the first half of the nineteenth century by disciples of Schelling and Hegel. We are fatigued and almost disgusted as we pass from this illuminating and scientific study to something which oscillates between vapid fancies and charlatanism ; between the vanity of empty formulæ and the attempt, not always free from dishonesty, to employ them in order to amaze and overwhelm the reader or student.
Why should we encumber a general History of Æsthetic (which ought, certainly, to take account of aberrations from the truth, but only in so far as they indicate the general trend of contemporary thought) with the theories of such men as Krause, Trahndorff, Weisse, Deutinger, Oersted, Zeising, Eckardt and the crowd of manipulators of manuals and systems? The only one who obtained a hearing outside his native Germany was Krause, who was imported into Spain; we are justified, therefore, in leaving them to the memory or forgetfulness of their compatriots. For Krause, the humanitarian, the freethinker, the theosophist, everything is organism, everything is beauty ; beauty is organism, and organism is beauty: Essence, that is to say God, is one, free and entire; one, free and entire is Beauty. There is but one artist, God; but one art, the divine. The beauty of finite things is the Divinity, or rather the likeness of Divinity manifested in the finite. Beauty brings into play reason, intellect and imagination in a mode conforming to their laws, and awakens disinterested pleasure and inclination in the soul. Trahndorff, describing the various degrees by which the individual seeks to grasp the essence or form of the universe (the degrees of feeling, intuition, reflexion and presentiment), and noting the insufficiency of simple theoretical knowledge till supplemented by the Will, the Will which is power (Können), in its three degrees of Aspiration, Faith and Love, places the Beautiful in the highest grade, in Love: it would seem, therefore, that Beauty is Love which comprehends itself. Christian Weisse 2 attempted, like Trahndorff, to reconcile the God of Christianity with the Hegelian philosophy: in his estimation the æsthetic Idea is superior to the logical, and leads to religion, to God; the idea of beauty, existing outside the sensible universe, is the reality of the concept of beauty, and, as the idea of divinity is absolute Love, so must that of Beauty be found truly in Love. The same reconciliation was attempted by the Catholic theologian Deutinger ; beauty, for him, is born of power (Können), an activity parallel with those of the knowledge of truth and the doing of good but (differing in this from knowledge, which is receptive) realizing itself in an outward movement from within, mastering the world of matter and imprinting upon it the seal of personality. An internal ideal intuition, the Idea : an external shapable matter : the power of interpenetrating internal with external, invisible with visible, ideal with real: such is Beauty. Oersted 4 (the celebrated Danish naturalist whose works
1 Abriss der Asthetik, post. 1837; Vorlesung üb. Asth. (1828–1829), post. 1882.
1 Asthetik, Berlin, 1827.
· Asthetik, Leipzig, 1830 ; System di Asth., lectures, post. Leipzig, 1872.
3 Kunstlehre, Ratisbon, 1845-1846 (Grundlinien einer positiven Philosophie, vols. iv. v.).
• Der Geist in der Natur, 1850-1851 ; Neue Beiträge z. d. Geist i. d. Natur, post. 1855.
were translated into German and gained him a considerable reputation in Germany) defines beauty as the objective Idea in the moment of subjective contemplation: the Idea expressed in things in so far as it reveals itself to intuition. Zeising 1 turned his attention partly to exploration of the mysteries of the golden section, and partly to speculations on Beauty, which he considered as one of the three forms of the Idea ; first, the Idea which expresses itself in object and subject ; secondly, the Idea as intuition; and thirdly, the Absolute which appears in the world and is conceived intuitively by the spirit. Eckardt, intent on creating a theistic Æsthetic which should avoid the one-sided transcendence of deism on the one hand and the one-sided immanence of pantheism on the other, maintained that its principles must be sought not in the feelings of the contemplator, not in works of art, not in the idea of the beautiful, not in the concept of art, but in the creative spirit of the artist, the original fount of beauty; and since a creative artist cannot be conceived except as derived from the highest creative genius which is God, Eckardt invokes aid from
a psychology of God (eine Psychologie des Weltkünstlers). Fried. If quantity is as important as quality, we must devote Theodor Vischer. some space to Friedrich Theodor Vischer, the bulkiest
of all German æstheticians, indeed the German æsthetician par excellence : after publishing a book on The Sublime and the Comic, a contribution to the Philosophy of the Beautiful, in 1837, he produced four huge tomes on Æsthetic as Science of the Beautiful between 1846 and 1857,4 where, in hundreds of paragraphs and long observations and sub-observations, is massed a stupendous amount of æsthetic material, of matter foreign to Æsthetic, and of subjects taken haphazard from the whole thinkable
1 Asthetische Forschungen, Frankfurt a. M. 1855.
2 Die theistische Begründung d. Asthetik im Gegensatz 2. d. pantheistichen, Jena, 1857; same author, Vorschule d. Asth., Karlsruhe, 1864-1865.
3 Ub. d. Erhabene u. Komische, Stuttgart, 1837.
• Asthetik oder Wissenschaft d. Schönen, Reutlingen, Leipzig and Stuttgart, 1846–1857, 3 parts in 4 vols.