The Aesthetics of Robert Browning

The Aesthetics of Robert Browning

The Aesthetics of Robert Browning

The Aesthetics of Robert Browning

Excerpt

The universal appreciation of the Beautiful and a quite general tendency on the part of mankind to speculate upon the nature and meaning of the things he appreciates has always resulted in considerable reflection on the character, methods, and effects of art. These reflections, whether expressed or not, exist as a haphazard or systematized aesthetics in all thinking minds. For the formulation of a systematic aesthetics one looks chiefly to the philosophers, but some of the finest contributions to aesthetic theory have come from the artists themselves in random, meditative moods when they set down their thoughts about their art. To be a great aesthetican even requires something of the artistic temperament, but at the same time such a temperament is inherently more or less at odds with all systematisations. The high task of reconciling the inherent antagonisms between free conception and schematised formulation makes it extremely difficult for a single individual to indulge both activities. The artist-philosopher is indeed a rare combination. As such one would rank Plato, Goethe, Schiller, and perhaps a half dozen others, at most, in the world's history. To justify the inclusion of Robert Browning in this group is, to some extent at least, the purpose of the present study.

We are to deal with Browning's aesthetics. Now to understand any aesthetics requires a considerable knowledge of the general philosophy of the group or individual that . . .

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