Dialectic of Romanticism by Peter Murphy

By Peter Murphy

Dialectic of Romanticism provides an intensive new evaluation of the cultured and philosophical historical past and way forward for modernity. An exploration of the critique of modernism treats romanticism as critical to the improvement of eu modernism along the enlightenment and equally topic to its personal dead-ends and fatalities. The publication additionally recovers options of civilization and civic aesthetics that are at the same time smooth and classically encouraged - and gives a counter either to romantic historicism and enlightened types of growth. eventually, a retrospective critique of modernism analyses what occurs to modernism's romantic-archaic and technological-futurist visions once they are translated from Europe to the United States. Dialectic of Romanticism argues that out of the eu dialectic of romanticism and enlightenment a brand new dialectic of modernity is rising within the New international - one that issues past modernism and postmodernism.

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It is this inherent contradiction which drives the romantic protest against 'enlightened' modernity backwards in search of the instituting powers of myth and forward into the ever more radical diagnosis of the nihilism of modernity. Origin and goal form the eschatological horizon of the new mythology, its organic politics, and its quest for the aesthetic state. The idea of the aesthetic state defines the programme of the new mythology at the same time as it reproduces its contradiction. Germany's task is that of an original imitation 33 34 • DIALECTIC OF ROMANTICISM of the Greeks.

Marquard relates the dialectic of romantic nature to an aesthetic outbidding of reality in the quest for the realization of the poetic. 9 If our harmony with the world is symbolized by the beautiful, the sublime by contrast manifests the loss of this harmony and leads to an aesthetics of tragic Dionysian disharmony. This tragic vision springs from the recognition of history not as Apollonian healing and rescuing nature, but as Dionysian nature, destructive but also seductive at the same time. 10 Just as the fascination with dreams, death and madness constitutes the 'night side' of genius, so the disturbing, sublime experience of history as nature points to the shadow cast by onto-poetics.

Beautiful nature contains (in both senses of the word) the sublime, the latent possibility of the reversal into the irrational other of reason and history. Marquard traces this reversal - the disenchantment of romantic nature - through to Freud's reduction of history to biology, the eternal struggle of the life and death drives. The dialectic runs from Schelling to Schopenhauer, Nietzsche to Freud, from romantic nature to drive nature. It involves the collapse of the romantic-idealist idea of Naturgeschichte into Schopenhauer's 'natural' concept of nature as the Will and the reduction of history to nothing but 'natural history'.

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