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 XI
ENVIRONMENT IN RELATION TO STYLE

Dialectic absolutism involves the assumption that the primary rules of form are autonomous. Their environment, or their "empirical" conditions, being considered as part of "Sinnlichkelt," or the world of "sense," furnish merely the stage and external occasions for the spontaneous operations and occurrences, but no primary genetic conditions for the origins, of those rules or "laws." Dialectic absolutism can derive the particular types of form only by deduction from more general types, inherent ultimately in an absolute, so-called "aesthetic" faculty. This faculty is as we have seen, assumed somehow as a compartment of the "reason." It is charged exclusively with the production, by a process not amenable to any particular criteria, of absolute, primary, universal and "necessary," prescriptive "laws" of "pure forms," or "beauty."

We shall now subject dialectic-absolutistic principles of shape-form to the organic-genetic tests of historical environment. We shall retain as our example the antithesis of the "classic" and the "baroque" which the dominant academic theorists, following Wölfflin, have chosen for theirs.

The environmental relations of the baroque are embodied in the external trade technic and in the total integral unity of characteristic meaning and form which constitutes a style.

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