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Herder is a figure of considerable importance in the history of philosophy and the history of ideas. His far-reaching influence encompasses philosophy--Hegel, Schleiermacher, Nietzsche, literature--Goethe, Schiller and linguistics--von Humboldt. This volume presents a comprehensive selection of his writings in a new translation, with an introduction that sets them in their philosophical and historical context.
This volume combines Rousseau's essay on the origin of diverse languages with Herder's essay on the genesis of the faculty of speech. Rousseau's essay is important to semiotics and critical theory, as it plays a central role in Jacques Derrida's book Of Grammatology, and both essays are valuable historical and philosophical documents.
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 Wälder (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.
Without Johann Gottfried Herder (1744-1803), we simply would not understand Shakespeare in the way we do. In fact, much literature and art besides Shakespeare would neither look the same nor be the same without the influence of Herder's "Shakespeare" (1773). One of the most important and original works in the history of literary criticism, this passionate essay pioneered a new, historicist approach to cultural artifacts by arguing that they should be judged not by their conformity to a set of conventions imported from another time and place, but by the effectiveness of their response to their own historical and cultural context. Rejecting the authority of a dominant and stifling French neoclassicism that judged eighteenth-century plays by the criteria of Aristotle, Herder's "Shakespeare" signaled a break with the Enlightenment, the approach of Romanticism, and the arrival of a distinctly modern form of aesthetic appreciation. With a vivid new translation and a fascinating introduction by Gregory Moore, this edition of Herder's classic will speak to today's readers with undiminished power and persuasiveness.
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