On the Aesthetic Education of Man
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On the Aesthetic Education of Man

Friedrich Schiller, Reginald Snell

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eBook - ePub

On the Aesthetic Education of Man

Friedrich Schiller, Reginald Snell

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About This Book

“Essential reading.” — New Society.
A classic of eighteenth-century thought, Friedrich Schiller’s treatise on the role of art in society ranks among German philosophy’s most profound works. In addition to its importance to the history of ideas, this 1795 essay remains relevant to our own time.
Beginning with a political analysis of contemporary society — in particular, the French Revolution and its failure to implement universal freedom — Schiller observes that people cannot transcend their circumstances without education. He conceives of art as the vehicle of education, one that can liberate individuals from the constraints and excesses of either pure nature or pure mind. Through aesthetic experience, he asserts, people can reconcile the inner antagonism between sense and intellect, nature and reason.
Schiller’s proposal of art as fundamental to the development of society and the individual is an enduringly influential concept, and this volume offers his philosophy’s clearest, most vital expression.

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1 From a letter to Goethe, 16th October 1795.
2 31st August 1794.
3 Eleventh Letter,
4 It is a pleasure to refer the reader to Prof. E. M. Butler’s admirable book The Tyranny of Greece over Germany, which is full of good things, well said, upon this subject.
5 Herbert Read: Education through Art (Faber, 1943), p. 1. If the publication of these Letters of Schiller in English does nothing further than send a few readers to Herbert Read’s great book, it will have been worth doing; for my part, I regard it as ’surely one of the curiosities’ of contemporary cultural history that so few educators have been impressed by the wisdom contained in the educational writings of this distinguished poet, critic, and thinker.
6 And again, very briefly, in a pamphlet entitled The Education of Free Men (Freedom Press, 1944), where the statement of it occupies a bare twenty-nine pages.
7 Op cit., p. 70.
8 I may refer at this point to a recently published writing by my friend Fichte: Lectures on the Vocation of the Scholar, where the reader will find some very luminous inferences from this proposition, that have never before been attempted along these lines.
9 The saying is sometimes attributed to St. Thomas Aquinas, who in Sum. Theol., 2a, 2ae, Qu. 34, Art. 2, translates a passage in Aristotle (Nic. Eth. VIII, 10, 2) as optimo oppositum pessimum. But the most usual form of the saying, corruptio optimi pessima, is probably proverbial. —Trans.
10 As presiding over earthly and spiritual love respectively.—Trams.
11 Horace, Ep. I, 2, 1. 40.—Trans.
12 Pythagoras.—Trans.
13 In presenting this remarkable portrait of the ideal artist, Schiller evidently had a definite model in his mind, and...

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