A seminal figure in the philosophy of history, culture, and language, Johann Gottfried Herder (1744-1803) also produced some of the most important and original works in the history of aesthetic theory. A student of Kant, he spent much of his life striving to reconcile the opposing poles of Enlightenment thought represented by his early mentors. His ideas influenced Hegel, Schleiermacher, Nietzsche, Dilthey, J. S. Mill, and Goethe.
This book presents most of Herder's important writings on aesthetics, including the main sections of one of his major untranslated works, "Kritische Walder" (Critical Forests). These notes, essays, and treatises, the majority of which appear here in English for the first time, show this idiosyncratic thinker both deeply rooted in the controversies of his day and pointing the way to future developments in aesthetics. Chosen to reflect the extent and diversity of Herder's concerns, the texts cover such topics as the psychology and physiology of aesthetic perception, the classification of the arts, taste, Shakespeare, the classical tradition, and the relationship between art and morality.
Few thinkers have reflected so sensitively and productively on the cultural, historical, anthropological, ethical, and theological dimensions of art and the creative process. With this book, the importance of aesthetics to the evolution and texture of Herder's own thought, as well as his profound contribution to that discipline, comes fully into view.
"Herder, a major figure in 18th-Century Germany's burgeoning studies in aesthetics, is here given ample scope on which to base critical judgment. Moore's Johann Gottfried Herder presents excerpts from some of Herder's most important writings, much of it translated into English for the first time. An important contribution to our knowledge of the history and origins of aesthetics."--Art Times "These excellent translations make some of Herder's most original and important contributions to aesthetics available to English readers for the first time."--Choice "To read [Herder] in this superb compilation is to encounter a vivid presence, one whose fingertips still seem fresh from the touch of truth."--Eric Ormsby New York Sun "I would strongly recommend scholars and librarians to acquire this important volume. It will be particularly useful in courses on eighteenth-century aesthetics for students without a command of German. Its readers will have the opportunity to discover an aesthetic thinker of the stature and originality of Lessing and Diderot."--K. F. Hilliard, Modern Language Association