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The Practices of the EnlightenmentAesthetics, By (author)ship, and the Public$
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Dorothea von Mücke

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780231172462

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231172462.001.0001

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“Where Nature Gives the Rule to Art”

“Where Nature Gives the Rule to Art”

Chapter:
(p.53) 5 “Where Nature Gives the Rule to Art”
Source:
The Practices of the Enlightenment
Author(s):

Dorothea E. von Mücke

Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:10.7312/columbia/9780231172462.003.0005

This chapter examines three influential models of the genius as radical innovator, each with a different approach to the tension between the natural gift of genius, which is opposed to the teachable arts that generally define human culture, on the one hand, and historical progress and the individual artist's relationship to contemporaneous cultural norms, on the other hand, differently. The first model is associated with Edward Young's essay on original genius from 1759, which is still committed to a model of cumulative progress. The second model, which is related to Johann Gottfried von Herder's essay on William Shakespeare from 1773, works with a radically historicist approach to change. Also, is Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's essay on Johann Joachim Winckelmann from 1805. In contrast to both the cumulative and the historicist paradigm, the third example of the genius as radical innovator makes being out of sync with one's times the condition of genuine innovation.

Keywords:   genius, culture, historical progress, Edward Young, cumulative progress, Johann Gottfried von Herder, William Shakespeare, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Johann Joachim Winckelmann, innovation

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