Aesthetic as Science of Expression and General Linguistic

By Benedetto Croce; Douglas Ainslie | Go to book overview

XIII
MINOR GERMAN ÆSTHETICIANS

. WHEN we turn from the pages of methodical and serious thinkers such as Schleiermacher, Humboldt and Steinthal, we are filled with distaste by the books written in enormous quantities during the first half of the nineteenth century by disciples of Schelling and Hegel. We are fatigued and almost disgusted as we pass from this illuminating and scientific study to something which oscillates between vapid fancies and charlatanism; between the vanity of empty formulae and the attempt, not always free from dishonesty, to employ them in order to amaze and over- whelm the reader or student.


Minor æstheticians in the metaphysical school

. Why should we encumber a general History of Æsthetic (which ought, certainly, to take account of aberrations from the truth, but only in so far as they indicate the general trend of contemporary thought) with the theories of such men as Krause, Trahndorff, Weisse, Deutinger, Oersted, Zeising, Eckardt and the crowd of manipulators of manuals and systems? The only one who obtained a hearing outside his native Germany was Krause, who was imported into Spain; we are justified, therefore, in leaving them to the memory or forgetfulness of their compatriots. For Krause,1 the humanitarian, the free- thinker, the theosophist, everything is organism, everything is beauty; beauty is organism, and organism is beauty: Essence, that is to say God, is one, free and entire; one, free and entire is Beauty. There is but


Krause, Trahndorff, Weisse and others

____________________
1
Abriss der Ästhetik, post. 1837; Vorlesung üb. Ästh. ( 1828- 1829), post. 1882.

-334-

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