Three Lectures on Aesthetic

Three Lectures on Aesthetic

Three Lectures on Aesthetic

Three Lectures on Aesthetic

Excerpt

Bernard Bosanquet spent many years of a very full life thinking about aesthetic. He translated the Introduction to Hegel Philosophy of Fine Art, wrote two articles on Croce Aesthetic, and published his own monumental A History of Aesthetic. When Bosanquet died, the London Times said he had been the central figure in British philosophy for a generation. Yet, as A. C. Bradley wrote, "It is strange that, at the time of his death, little or no reference was made to this work [A History of Aesthetic] in the obituary notices of the press. For, it is safe to say, he is the only British philosopher of the first rank who had dealt at all fully with this part of philosophy. . . ." That is not quite true now--one thinks of Alexander and Collingwood--but Bosanquet still did what they did not; he treated the philosophers of art systematically, and he wrote about them not merely as a historian, but as a philosopher with his own point of view.

That point of view is implicit in the criticism and explicit only in the occasional commentary of the History. It was finally stated, in more mature form, twenty-two years later, when he gave the following lectures at University College, London, and in a set of three subsequent lectures. But World War I had started, and Bosanquet was reluctant to have the second set of lectures published until it was over. Unhappily, the manuscript was lost.

So this wise and lovely little book is almost all that remains of Bosanquet's own aesthetic. For all its simplicity, it is not easy to grasp. As A. C. Bradley said of all Bosanquet's printed lectures, "In them his thought is sometimes difficult to follow . . .

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