Hegel’s aesthetics and their influence

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‘Whether we know it, or like it, or not, most of us are Hegelians…Few thinkers have so many disciples who never read a word of their master's writings.’ These are the words of Paul de Man regarding Hegel's aesthetics and their influence on our thinking about literature. Hegel's philosophy in general stands at the centre of modern Western thought. Conservative and left-wing critics alike have long acknowledged that Hegel's system integrates major intellectual developments, such as the various streams of Enlightenment and Romanticism, into its own formidable synthesis. Moreover, many of the modern European systems of thought arose as modifications of, or reactions against, Hegel's dialectic: Marxism, Absolute Idealism, existentialism, positivism and analytic philosophy, not to mention the more heterologous streams running from Schopenhauer through Nietzsche to Derrida and beyond. In brief, Hegel has enabled our worlds of thought on many levels, philosophical, logical, political, historiographical, theological and aesthetic. G. W. F. Hegel (1770-1831) was born in Stuttgart, capital of the duchy of Württemberg, to a father who was a minor civil servant. He studied theology at the famous seminary in Tübingen, where he became acquainted with the poet Friedrich Hölderlin and the philosopher Friedrich Schelling. He worked as a private tutor in Switzerland and then began teaching at the University of Jena in 1801. In 1816 he became Professor of Philosophy at the University of Heidelberg; and in 1818 he was invited to assume the Chair of Philosophy at the University of Berlin, where his reputation reached its height. Hegel's first major publication was The Phenomenology of Spirit (1807), followed by his three-volume Science of Logic, published between 1812 and 1816. His subsequent Encyclopedia of the Philosophical Sciences was a recapitulation of his philosophy as a whole; and his final work published in his lifetime was Philosophy of Right (1821). After his death, his students and disciples edited and published his lectures on diverse subjects, including Lectures on the Philosophy of History, Lectures on Aesthetics, Lectures on the Philosophy of Religion and Lectures on the History of Philosophy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Cambridge History of Literary Criticism
Subtitle of host publicationThe Nineteenth Century, c. 1830-1914
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic)9781139018456
ISBN (Print)9780521300117
StatePublished - Jan 1 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Arts and Humanities


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