Time in Rousseau and Kant

Time in Rousseau and Kant

Time in Rousseau and Kant

Time in Rousseau and Kant

Excerpt

Entraînés par la nature et par les hommes dans des routes contraires, forcés de nous partager entre ces diverses impulsions, nous en suivons une composée qui ne nous méne ni á l'un ni á l'autre but. Ainsi combattus et flottants durant tout le cours de notre vie, nous la terminons sans avoir pu nous accorder avec nous et sans avoir été bons ni pour nous, ni pour les autres (Emile).

The obscure beginnings of the romantic movement should be of interest to any student of this great revolution. Yet scholars have tended to shy away from the problem of its affective origin, since changes of such magnitude often seem obscure and even inexplicable. Hence they have preferred either to concern themselves with the rewarding masterpieces of romanticism or to restrict themselves to bibliographical and sociological research on the age of sensibility envisaged as an entity in itself. To be sure, there are important exceptions such as Ernst Cassirer unequaled The Philosophy of Enlightenment, the incisive works by Professor Lovejoy, the erudite accounts by Paul Hazard and the subtle reflections of André Monglond and Pierre Trahard. But aside from these works, most treatises and essays deal with French pre-romanticism as an integral part of the eighteenth century and do not attempt to trace its many filiations with the romantic age. Daniel Mornet Le romantisme en France au XVIIIe siécle is a case in point. This now classical analysis fixes 1789 as the logical and chronological end of its investigation and defines Rousseau as the artist who both expressed and guided the emotional evolution of his contemporaries: "Le romantisme au XVIIIe, siécle fut avant tout le goût profond de la nature; on revient á la nature avant Rousseau; on dépasse son æuvre quand on découvre la haute montagne ou la mer.

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