The first English scholarly edition of Schiller’s pivotal essay, accompanied by the first comprehensive commentary on it. Friedrich Schiller is not only one of the leading poets and dramatists of German Classicism but also an inspiring philosopher. His essay „Über Anmut und Würde“ (On Grace and Dignity) marks a radical break with Enlightenment thinking and its morally prescriptive agenda. Here Schiller does not pursue the prevalent interest in the individual artist as genius or in the creative act; instead, he establishes a harmony of mind and body in the aesthetic realm, putting down his thoughts on aesthetics in a systematic way for the first time, building on his own earlier forays into the field and on an intensive study of Kant. The popular essay form allowed Schiller to combine condensed thought with clear and rhetorically effective presentation, but his innovation here is his insistence on a freedom for art that affirms the moral freedom of reason, reuniting the human faculties radically separated by Enlightenment thought. Schiller sees aesthetic autonomy as the way forward for civilization. This is the first English scholarly edition of this pivotal essay, accompanied by the first comprehensive commentary on it. The essays focus on various facets of Schiller’s essay and its socio-historical and philosophical context. Schiller’s analysis is examined in the light of the thematic context of his plays as well as its surviving influence into the twentieth century.
„This book combines insightful interpretations of ‚Über Anmut und Würde‘ with a much-needed, new translation by Jane V. Curran. The editors also take note of four questions that are prominent in traditional commentaries on the essay, namely, questions of the essay’s consistency as an argument, its rhetorical and its political dimensions, and the influence of Kant and other philosophers.“ (German Quarterly)
„The new translation by Jane V. Curran is superb and easily surpasses the other three [extant translations].“ (German Studies Review)
„Curran’s new translation is a model of both accuracy and idiomatic fluency. The introduction and the series of 5 accompanying essays … provide fascinating and challenging perspectives.“ (Modern Language Review)
„This new, accessible translation of Schiller’s less well-known and somewhat opaque essay is accompanied by an introduction and five diverse critical articles. Schiller’s essay is given a thorough, modern airing.“ (Forum for Modern Language Studies)