Friedrich Schiller.

Aesthetical & philosophical essays. Tr. from the German.. online

. (page 1 of 42)
Online LibraryFriedrich SchillerAesthetical & philosophical essays. Tr. from the German.. → online text (page 1 of 42)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

This is a digital copy of a book that was preserved for generations on library shelves before it was carefully scanned by Google as part of a project
to make the world's books discoverable online.

It has survived long enough for the copyright to expire and the book to enter the public domain. A public domain book is one that was never subject
to copyright or whose legal copyright term has expired. Whether a book is in the public domain may vary country to country. Public domain books
are our gateways to the past, representing a wealth of history, culture and knowledge that's often difficult to discover.

Marks, notations and other marginalia present in the original volume will appear in this file - a reminder of this book's long journey from the
publisher to a library and finally to you.

Usage guidelines

Google is proud to partner with libraries to digitize public domain materials and make them widely accessible. Public domain books belong to the
public and we are merely their custodians. Nevertheless, this work is expensive, so in order to keep providing this resource, we have taken steps to
prevent abuse by commercial parties, including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Google Book Search for use by individuals, and we request that you use these files for
personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort to Google's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the
use of public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Maintain attribution The Google "watermark" you see on each file is essential for informing people about this project and helping them find
additional materials through Google Book Search. Please do not remove it.

+ Keep it legal Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just
because we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States, that the work is also in the public domain for users in other
countries. Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of
any specific book is allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Google Book Search means it can be used in any manner
anywhere in the world. Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About Google Book Search

Google's mission is to organize the world's information and to make it universally accessible and useful. Google Book Search helps readers
discover the world's books while helping authors and publishers reach new audiences. You can search through the full text of this book on the web

at http : //books . google . com/|

Friedrich Schiller

' ^^^ ' - '•^ I /^>

-^/^B '^ i^Ulf^ ' -^T 1

' >4|\

ohilosophical essays

n^^-^r .-...

Digitized by


Digitized by


Digitized by


Digitized by



Digitized by LjOOQIC


Digitized by



OF fvl








Digitized by


This edition is limited to one thou sand

W, W. PROUT, Printer.

copies^ of which this is no. . ^-rTTZlf. . ^

Digitized by VjOOQIC



Introduction 5

Letters on the uEsthbtical Epucation of Man ... 33


i^^HE Moral Utility of Esthetic Manners ... 126

>^On the Sublime 135

i //2.THE Pathetic . . . . , 149

V^X ^^ Grace AifD Dignity 175

On Dignity 211

On the necessary Limitations in the Use of Beauty

AND Form 230

Reflections on the Use of the Vulgar and Low

Elements in Works of Art 2&1

^Detached Reflections on Different Questions of

JEsthetics . . . . . . . . . 261

^X)n Simple and Sentimental Poetry .... 269

^^The Stage as a Moral Institution 339

^,j^<Dn the Tragic Art 346

j^ Of the Cause of the Pleasure we derive from Tragic

y^^^^ Objects 367

Schiller's Philosophical Letters: —

Prefatory Remarks . 879

Thbosophy of Jut.ius 387

,/On the Connection between the Animal and the

•^ Spiritual Nature in Man 406

Physical Connection 408

Philosophical Connection 411*

Digitized by


Digitized by



The special subject of the greater part of the lett^^rr nnd
essays of Schiller contained in this volume is ^stheMcs ;
and before passing to any remarks on his treatment of
the subject it will be useful to offer a few observations on
the nature of this topic, and on its treatment by the philo-
sophical spirit ofjiiffwsftM ages.

First, thenysestheticsjias for its object the vast realm
of the beautifu L and itmay^be most adequatej^^^ned^
as the ghijp^opli^of ^rt or_of_t^e_fine art^^ To some the
definition ma}' seem arbitrary, as excluding the beautiful
in nature ; but it will cease to appear so if it is remarked
that the beauty which is the w ork of art ishigher^tliao
natural beaut y, because . i t is tlie offspring' of^ the mind .
jVloreove'r, \l\ ""in conformity with" a certain' school of
modern philosophy, the mind be viewed as the true being,
including all in itself, it must be admitted that beaut}' is
only truly beautiful when it shares in the nature of mind,
and is mind's offspring.

Viewed in this light, the beauty of nature is only a
reflection of the beauty of the mind, only an imperfect
beauty, which as to its essence is included in that of the
mind. Nor has it ever entered into the mind of any
thinker to develop the beautiful in natural objects, so as to
convert it into a science and a system. The field of natural
beauty is too uncertain and too fluctuating for this pur-
pose. Moreover, the relation of beauty in nature and
beauty in art forms a part of the science of aesthetics,
and finds again its proper place.

But it may be urged that art is not worthy of a scientific
treatment. Art is no doubt an ornament of our life and
a charm to the fancy ; but has it a more serious side ?


Digitized by




When compared with the absorbing necessities of hnman
v^ existence, it might seem a luxury, a superfluity, cal-

culated to enfeeble the heart by the assiduous worship
^ '^ of beaut^', and thus to be actually prejudicial to the true

. >^' interest of practical life. This view seems to be largely

\ , countenanced by a dominant party in modern times, and

. V practical men, as they are styled, are only too read}' to
take this superficial view of the office of art.
^ Many have indeed undertaken to defend art on this

score, and to show that, far from being a mere luxury, it
,- has serious and solid advantages. It has been even

-^ apparentl}' exaggerated in this respect, and^ represented
J as a kind of mediator between reason and sense, between
y incnTiatioh''aiTfr'cluty, having as its mission the work of
^^ reconciling the conflicting 'elements in the human heart.
A strong trace of this view will be found in Schiller,
especially in all that he says about the plaj'-instinct in
his '' -^sthetical Letters."

Nevertheless, art is worthy of science ; aesthetics is a
true science, and the office of art is as high as that
assigned to it in the pages of Schiller. We admit that
art viewed only as an ornament and a charm is no longer
free, but a slave. But this is a perversion of its proper
end. Science has to be considered as free in its aim and
in its means, and it is only free when liberated from all
other considerations ; it rises up to truth, which is its
onl}' real object, and can alone fully satisfy it. ArMg
like manner is alone truly art when it is free and inde-
.pendepf, .when it solves the problem of its high cTestTn"^-
? tion^ — that problem whether it has to be placed beside
religion and philosophy as being nothing else than a
^ \*^ particular mode or a special form of revealing God to con-
sciousness, and of expressing the deepest interests of
liumau nature and the widest truths of the human mind.
For it is in their works of art that the nations have
imprinted their favorite thoughts and their richest intui-
tions, and not unfrequently the fine arts are the only
means by which we can penetrate into the secrets of their
wisdom and the mysteries of their rehgion.

It is made a reproach to art that it produces its effects
by appearance and illusion ; but can it be established that

Digitized by



appearance is objectionable ? The phenomena of nature
and the acts of human life are nothing more than appear-
ances, and are yet looked upon as constituting a true
reality ; for this reality must be sought for beyond the
objects perceived immediately by the sense, the substance
and speech and principle underlying all things manifesting
itself in time and space through these real existences,
but preserving its absolute existence in itself. Now, the
very special object and aim of art is to represent the
action and development of this universal force. In nature
this force or principle appears confounded with particular
interests and transitory circumstances, mixed up with
what is arbitrary in the passions and in individual wills.
Art sets the truth free from the illusory and m endacious
forms of this coarse, imperfect world, and clotTies it in a
nobler, purer form created by the mind itself. Thus
the forms of art, far from being mere fljppfljap^ps^ pp^'-
fectly illusory , conta_in_ more reality j.nd trytli^tliaJlJtllfi
phenomenal existences ^Qf . the xeial world,... Tlie^ world of
art is truer than that gLhiatary iirjastJJX^.

Nor is this all : the representations of art are more ex-
pressive and transparent than the phenomena of the real
world or the events of histor3\ The mind finds it harder
to pierce through the hard envelop of nature and common
life than to penetrate into works of art.

Two more reflections appear completelj' to meet the
objection that art or aesthetics is not entitled to the
name of science.

It will be generally admitted that the mind of man has
the power of considering itself, of making itself its own
object and all that issues from its activity ; for thought
constitutes the essence of the mind. Now art and its
work, as creations of the mind, are themselves of a
spiritual nature. In this respect art is much nearer to the
mind than nature. In stu dy iiig_ the works of art the
mind has t o do ^jgJtkitSQlfv.witJbLjghat pioceeds from "itself,
and jp^itftelf.

Thus art finds its highest confirmation in science.

Nor does art refuse a philosophical treatment because
it is dependent on caprice, and subject to no law. If its
highest aim be to reveal to the human consciousness the


Digitized by



highest interest of the mind, it is evident that the sub-
stance or contents of tlie representations are not given up
to the control of a wild and irregular imagination. It
is strictl}' determined by the ideas that concern our inteUi-
gence and b}^ the laws of their development, whatever may
be the inexhaustible variet}' of forms in which they are
produced. Nor are these forms arbitrary, for every form
is not fitted to express every idea. The form is deter-
mined b^' the substance which it has to suit.

A further consideration of the true nature of beauty,
and therefore of tlie vocation of the artist, will aid us still
more in our endeavor to show the high dignity of art and
of aesthetic3. The history of philosophy presents us with
many theories on the nature of the beautiful ; but as it
would lead us too far to examine them all, we shall only
consider the most important among them. The coarsest of
these theories defines the beautiful as that which pleases
the senses. This theory, issuing from the philosophy of
sensation of the school of Locke and Condillac, only
explains the idea and the feeling of the beautiful by dis-
figuring it It is entirely contradicted by facts. For it
converts it into desire, but desire is egotistical and insati-
able, while admiration is respectful, and is its own
satisfaction without seeking possession.

Others liave thought the beautiful consists in proportion,
and no doubt this is one of the conditions of beauty, but
only one. An ill-proportioned object cannot be beautiful,
but the exact correspondence of parts, as in geometrical
figures, does not constitute beauty.

A noted ancient theory makes beauty consist in the per-
fect suitableness of means to their end. In this case the
beautiful is not the useful, it is the suitable ; and the latter
idea is more akin to that of beaut}-. But it has not the
true character of the beautiful. Again, order is a less
mathematical idea than proportion, but it does not explain
what is free and flowing in certain beauties.

The most plausible theory of beauty is that which makes
It consist in two contrary and equally necessary elements
— unit}' and variety. A beautiful flower has all the
elements we have named ; it has unity, s^'mmetry, and
variety of shades of color. There is no beauty without

Digitized by



life, and life is movement, diversit}-. These elements are
found in beautiful and also in sublime objects. A
beautiful object is complete, finished, limited with symmet-
rical parts. A sublime object wliose forms, though not
out of proportion, are less determined, ever awakens in
us the feeling of the infinite. In objects of sense all
qualities that can produce the feeling of the beautiful come
under one class called physical beaut}'. But above and
beyond this in the region of mind we have first intellectual
beaut}', including the laws that govern Intelligence and
the creative genius of the artist, the poet, and the
philosopher. Again, the moral world has beauty in its
ideas of liberty, of virtue, of devotion, the justice of
Aristides, the heroism of Leonidas.

We iiave now ascertained that there is beauty and
sublimity in nature, in ideas, in feelings, and in actions.
After all this it might be supposed that a unit}' could be
found amidst these different kinds of beauty. The
sight of a statue, as the Apollo of Belvedere, of a man, of
Socrates expiring, are adduced as producing impressions
of tlie beautiful ; but the form cannot be a form In
itself, it must be the form of something. Physical beau tA;
is the sign of an interior beautj-^a spiritual and morn 1
beauty which is th e basis^ the pr'iK'.iplft, apd the_Jtmity m£ .

Physical beauty is an envelop to intellectual and to
moral beauty.

Intellectual beauty, the splendor of the true, can only
have for principle that of all truth.

Moral beauty comprehends two distinct elements, equally
beautiful, justice and charity. Thus God is the principle
of the three orders of beauty, physical, intellectual, and
moral. He also construes the two great powers distrib-
uted over the three orders, the beautiful and the sublime.
God is beauty par excellence ; He is therefore perfectly \
beautiful ; He is equally sublime. He is to us the type
and sense of the two great forms of beauty. In short, the
Absolute Being as absolute unity and absolute variety is
necessarily the ultimate principle, the extreme basis, the
finished ideal of all beauty. This was the marvellous
beauty which Diotimus had seen, and which is described
in the Banquet of Socrates.7

Digitized by



It i«i our purpose after the prcvio-us discussion to
aUempt to elucidate still furthsr the ^def». o^ art b}- follow-
ing its historic development.

Many questions bearing on f»rt and relating to the
beautiful had been propounded before, tven as far back
as Plotinus, Plato, and Socrates^ but recent times have
been the real cradle of aesthetics as a sc^ience. Modern
philosophy was the first to recognise that beauty- in art is
one of the means by which the contradictions can be
removed between mind considered in its abstract and
absolute existence and nature constituting the world of
sense, bringing back these two factors to unity.

Kant was the first who felt the want of this union and
expressed it, but without determining its conditions or
'Expressing it scientifically. He was impeded in his efforts
to effect this union b}' the opposition between the subjec-
tive and the objective, by his placing practical reason
^bove theoretical reason, and he set up the opposition
found in the moral sphere as the highest principle of
morality. Reduced to this diflficulty, all that Kant could
ilo was to express the union under the form of the sub-
jective ideas of reason, or as postulates to be deduced
from the practical reason, without their essential character
being known, and representing their realization as nothing
more than a simple you oiight^ or imperative *'Du

In his teleological judgment applied to living beings,
Kant comes, on the contrar}', to consider the living organ-
ism in such wise that, the general including the particular,
and determining it as an end, consequently the idea also
determines the external, the compound of the organs, not
by an act springing from without but issuing from within.
In this way the end and the means, the interior and ex-
terior, the general and • particular, are confounded in
unity. But this judgment only expresses a subjective
act of reflection, and does not throw any light on the
object in itself. Kant has the same view of the aesthetic
judgment. According to him the jjjdgTnent does.XLOt..^M50^
ceed either from reason, as the faculty of general ideas, or
from sensuous perception, but from the free play of the
reason and of the imagination. In this analysis of the

Digitized by



cognitive faculty, the object only exists relatively to
the subject and to the feeling of pleasure or the enjoy-
ment that it experiences.

The characteristics of the beautiful are, according to
Kant : —

1. The pleasure it procures is free from interest.

2. Beauty appears to us as an object of general enjoy-
ment, without awakening in us the consciousness of an
abstract idea and of a category of reason to which we
might refer our judgment.

3. Beaut}^ ought to embrace in Itself the relation of
conformity to its end, but in such a way that this conform-
ity may be grasped without the idea of the end being
offered to our mind.

4. Though it be not accompanied bj' an abstract idea^
beauty ought be to acknowledged as the object of a neces-
sary enjoyment

A special feature of all this sj'stem is the indissoluble
unity of what is supposed to be separated in consciousness.
This distinction disappears in the beautiful, because in it
the general and the particular, the en<i and the means, the
idea and the object, mentally penetrate each other com-
pletely. The particular in itself, whether it be opposed
to itself or to what is general, is something accidental.
But here what may be considered as an accidental form
is so intimatel}' connected with the general that it is con-
founded and identified with it. By this means the beauti-
ful in art presents thought to us as incarnate. On the
other hand, matter, nature, the sensuous as themselves
possessing measure, end, and harmony, are raised to the
dignity of spirit and share in its general character.
Thought not only abandons its hostility against nature,
but smiles in her. Sensation and enjoyment are justified
and sanctified, so that nature and liberty, sense and ideas,
find their justification and their sanctification in this
union. Nevertheless this reconciliation, though seem-
ingly perfect, is stricken with the character of subjective-
ness. It cannot constitute the absolutely true and real.

Such is an outline of the principal results of Kant's
criticism, nnd Hegel passes high praise on the profoundly
philosophic mind of Schiller, who demanded the union

Digitized by



and reconciliation of the two principles, and who tried to
give a scientific explanation of it before the problem had
been solved b}- philosophy. In his ^' Letters on .Esthetic
Education," Schiller admits that man carries in himself
the germ of the ideal man which is realized and repre-
sented by the state. There are two ways for the individual
man to approach the ideal man ; first, when th e state,,
considered as morality jjustice^L and general reasoij, absorbs
tte individualitiesJaiits un\ty ; secondly', when the indi-
vidual rises to the icleal g»f his species by the perfecting
of himself. Reason demands unity, conformity to the
species ; nature, on the other hand, demands plurality
and individuaUty ; and man is at once solicited by two
contrary laws. In this conflict, aesthetic education must
come in to effect the i*econciliation of the two principles ;
for, according to Schiller, it has as its end to fashion and
polish the inclinations and passions so that they may
become reasonable, and that, on the other hand, reason
and freedom may issue from their abstract character, may
unite with nature, may spiritualize it, become incarnate,
and take a body in it. Beauty is thus given as the simul-
taneous 4ievelopmenl-Qf the rational and of the sensuous,
fused together, and interpenetrated one by the other, an
union that constitutes in fact true reahty.

This unit}' of the general and of the particular, of liberty-
and necessity of the spiritual and material, which Schiller
understood scientifically as the spirit of art, and which he
tried to make appear in real life by aesthetic art and edu-
cation, was afterwards put forward under the name of
idea as the principle of all knowledge and existence. In
this way, through the agency of Schelling, science raised
itself to an absolute point of view. It was thus that art
began to claim its proper nature and dignity. From that
time its proper place was finally marked out for it in
science, though the mode of viewing it still labored under
certain defects. Its high and true distinction were at
length understood.

In viewing the higher position to which recent philo-
sophical systems have raised the theory of art in Germany,
we must not overlook the nd vantages contributed by the
study of the ideal of the ancients by such men as Winckel-

Digitized by



mann, who, by a kind of inspiration, raised art criticism
from a carping about pettj^ details to seek the true spirit
of great works of art, and their true ideas, by a study of
the spirit of the originals.

It has appeared expedient to conclude this introduction
with a summary of the latest and highest theory of art
and aesthetics issuing from Kant and Schiller, and devel-
oped in the later philosophy of Hegel.

Our space only allows us to give a glance, first, at the
metaphysics of the beautiful as developed by Hegel in
the first part of his ' Aesthetik,' and then at the later
development of the same system in recent writers issuing
from his school.

Hegel considers, fir§t, the abstract idea ^f tt>p h ^fl^if jfii] ;
secondly, beauty in nature i third l}', beauty in art or th e
ideal; ani TEe winds up w^ith anexaminatiQtuof^^^^ gnfllitipa
(TTtFe artisB^ "

His preliminary remarks are directed to show the rela-
tions of art to religion and philosophy, and he shows that
man's destination is an infinite development. In real life
he only satisfies his longing partially and imperfectly by
limited enjoyments. In science he finds a nobler pleasure,
and civil life opens a career for his activity ; but he only
finds an imperfect pleasure in these pursuits. He cannot
then find the ideal after which he sighs. Then he rises to
a higher sphere, where all contradictions are eflTaced and
the ideas of good and happiness are realized in perfect
accord and in constant harmon}'. This deep want of the
soul is satisfied in three ways: in art, in religion, and in

Art is intended to make us contemplate the true and
the infinite in forms of sense. Yet even art does not fully
satisfy the deepest need of the soul. The soul wants to
contemplate truth in its inmost consciousness. Religion
is placed above the dominion of art.

First, as to idea of the beautiful, Hegel begins by

Online LibraryFriedrich SchillerAesthetical & philosophical essays. Tr. from the German.. → online text (page 1 of 42)