Academic Illusions in the Field of Letters and the Arts: A Survey, a Criticism, a New Approach, and a Comprehensive Plan for Reorganizing the Study of Letters and Arts

By Martin Schütze | Go to book overview

CHAPTER IX
FORM

"Inner" form.

The dominant doctrine of form combines the traditional rationalistic-classicalistic, the romantic and neo- romantic, and Wölfflin's modifications of the classicalistic, theories.

The classicalistic view, which has always called itself the "classic," assumes one only species of form-type. This type is, in Boileau's expression, "absolute, necessary, and universal." It is separate from content and autonomous. Whatever the content, form follows its own rules or "laws." Since Boileau, and again, since Winckelmann, this absolute and eternal form-type has been supposed to be fixed by the art and theory of the Greek and Graeco-Roman antiquity and the Italian High-Renaissance. This theory became historically identified with speculative rationalism and received its fundamental modern metaphysical formulation in the system of Kant and his successors.

The neo-romantic, "irrationalistic" movement added to this classicalistic-rationalistic (miscalled "rational") form-type its dialectic opposite, which it costumed in the five characters attributed by Wölfflin to the baroque style, especially in the third, or "open," character. Neo- romanticism operates thus chiefly with the "closed" and the "open," which it identifies with the classicalistic- pseudoclassic-rationalistic-pseudorational, and the "ir-

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