aesthetics of resistance



Excerpt, selected by the author, from the recently published book

Laurence Sterne: romance and irony

The essay “Wealth, Chaos and Form: A Dialogue on Laurence Sterne” is one of the most elaborate and complex in the book. The soul and the forms, by György Lukács. Written in 1909, as the last essay, it closed the Hungarian collection on an ironic note. It is, in my view, the most interesting closure to conclude otherwise The soul and the forms, at least reflection on epic or objective forms. In this essay, it is a question of thinking about the place of irony in modern epic forms, particularly in the novel.

To this end, Lukács emulates the traditional format of philosophical dialogue, exposing a verbal duel about Sterne between two philology students, Vincenz and Joachim. The exercise refers to the genre of philosophical dialogue, widely used in the XNUMXth century; in particular, those who confront types of character or psychology: on the one hand, the good-natured man; on the other, the serious, dogmatic man with “hard features”. It specifically belongs to the lineage of talk about poetry (1800), by Friedrich Schlegel, published in the magazine Athenaum.

First, the clash is interspersed with the narrator's observations about the circumstances of the dispute and the states of mind of the debaters, surrounding a scene within which a particular Mood. So that, in the essay on Sterne, the Mood is present in both content and form: the description of the intimacy of the room where the conversation will take place, of the furniture and paintings, of gestures and looks, of indecisions and fears makes this essay a delicate critical exercise on the contemporary possibilities of Mood. So to speak, the narrator sews the dialogue together with a tenuous “red thread”, in which subjectivity data are mixed with the objective description of the debate; seems, therefore, to refer not to the debate itself, but to life itself, that is, to the experience (experience), which manifests itself in the dispute between the boys for the girl – “of disconcerting beauty” –, who discreetly participates in the debate. Again the woman is present, again nameless and almost voiceless; however, in this essay, it is the only intrinsic requirement of the dialogue.

Second, by circumscribing a fictional field for philosophical debate, the narrator occupies the position of an impartial observer. So, ironically, he intends to be fair to all sides of the issue. The dispute clearly begins with the girl, that is, with life; however, the dialogue quickly abandons it, focusing not on empirical life, but on what deserves to be lived, with all its richness, that is, in artistic form. In this way, Lukács places the reader/spectator directly in the fissure between art and life, in which he will remain until the end, while requesting attention to a “superior” plane, that of questions about art and beauty, by inquiring whether the sentimental forms found in Laurence Sterne they can be judged beautiful. For this reason, the dialogue is immediately transformed into literary criticism or comparative literature, based on Joachim's provocation that it is impossible to love Sterne and Goethe at the same time.

The dialogue then progresses on the basis of Goethe's argument from authority,[I] who named every poet who does not know how to articulate technique and fantasy as a dilettante; although, in the sequel, Goethe leaves the scene – and remains a latent presence – and the essay focuses on Sterne and on the textual irreverence of Tristram shandy, literary matrix of romantic irony and modern art. The clash is also delayed by preliminary questions, according to ancient tradition, about truth and falsehood, contradictions, judgments and criteria of truth, indicating to the reader the serious and lofty pretensions of the interlocutors.

Bringing the aesthetic debate about the novel, at the end of the XNUMXth century, closer to the themes of formalism at the end of the XNUMXth century, Lukács recovers the theoretical discussions that culminated in the treatment of the novel as a serious and exemplary modern genre. The young philosopher correctly locates, in Sterne, the turning point in the status of the novel and, in the stylization of the material, which had become multiple and in constant alteration – the so-called richness of life –, the great modern difficulty of the novel in configuring a totality epic. So that, in the “Dialogue”, reverberate important questions asked to the genre in the eighteenth century: the form of the novel changed because it faced proliferation or variety (Mannigfaltigkeit) of objects, in Moritz's terms, being forced to give up unity and balance? Or did it change to value, as Solger wanted, the subjective dimension of the narrative, the emphasis given to interiorization? Or, still, to correspond to the infinite progression of the spirit, as Schlegel thought, whose course is always an infinite approximation, never completed, so that the fragment is its provisional and inevitable language?

Vincenz counterattacks, then, arguing that Sterne was not a dilettante and that his novels immediately linked to life would have positively influenced Goethe, insofar as “it is not a question, in Sterne, of systems, but of realities (Realities) always new, never repeated. Of realities in which what follows is not a continuation of what came before, but is something new, the kind that cannot be predicted, that has nothing to do with theory, with 'thinking it out'”.[ii]

For Vincenz, Sterne's work confirms the triumph of the novel as a modern genre, as it contains depth, color and vital richness, which is why Sterne was called Shakespeare's brother by Heine; there is no formal failure in Sterne's work, nor a radical rupture, since the treatment of the material in the novel continues to configure a unit, which is neither pure empiricism nor narrative disorganization: the author knows what he is doing, he has a method through which which traces a circle around the multiple relationships and fullness between men, without “brutalizing the facts”, without moving away from real life (part) in the name of a priori life; it confirms the superiority of poetry and the impotence of all theory in the face of the multiplicity of reality.

It is not, therefore, a matter of seeing in the Irish writer's digressions a crisis of narrative or the impossibility of form, emphasizes Vincenz, since Sterne is inscribed in the tradition of Cervantes; From this tradition he adopts a method of composition, “a conception of balance”, through which his work aims to produce a specific effect on the reader, which is that of Mood, as summarized by Vincenz: the author describes “a fact and around it a disorderly swarm of associations raised by it. A man appears, says something, makes a gesture or we simply hear his name, then disappears in a cloud of images, ideas and states of mind (Moods) generated with its appearance”.[iii]

From the point of view of narrative technique, Lukács makes the provocation, through the voice of Joachim, that Sterne would not really be so innovative, because, when trying to make the reader see this richness of the world, he would repeat an archaic technique, which prevailed in the Elizabethan theater , by which the characters were fixed, like types, so that an infinite variety of relationships oscillated between them; well, as the characters are fixed and do not interact, they would only be archaic and allegorical types, which manifest themselves through epigrams or masks. Vincenz, in fact, recognizes that the Shandy brothers do not interact, like Quixote and Sancho Panza: “they speak to each other, but not to each other”, so that the words are word games, always allusive and capable of communicating a experience only for those who experienced it. Reciprocal misunderstandings predominate in this world, as well as chance, inadequacy and relativity; for that reason, retorts Vincenz, precisely, this life is the true one.

Vincenz's argument also adds, with brilliance and conviction, that the unity created by Sterne further enhances the structure displayed in Cervantes: it stems from the poet's infinite play with things and not from the fixed character of the characters; playing, the poet dissipates the limits and frontiers between things, puts the multiplicity of life in rhythm, effecting the “rhythmization of what there is to say”. Sterne's technique thus sheds light on what constitutes the essence of the very form of the novel, both ancient and modern, that is, the infinite game that is, ultimately, the foundation of the defense of the autonomy of the novel.

The notion of play refers the “Dialogue” directly to Friedrich Schlegel and his “theory of the novel”, according to which Sterne's work is recognized as romantic, not as modern; inserted in the lineage of “romantic” poetry, history in which the category of arabesque operates, understood as “pictorial game” or “orderly confusion as art”. Therefore, the Talk Schlegel's and Lukács's "Dialogue" converge on the same point of view of the philosophy of history, as both seek to examine whether Sterne's work and similar novels signal a decline in poetry, as "colored pastiches of sick wit",[iv] or whether they were authentic works of art, the “only romantic productions of our unromantic age”[v].

If the problem for Schlegel was to know to what extent “the sentimental content presented in a form of fantasy” or the “abundance of wit, purified of all sentimental contagion” announced in Sterne the renewal of poetry, “that would generate chaos in the world of errant knights” by Cervantes, in Lukács’s “Dialogue”, the argument focuses on the internal structure of Sterne’s work to find out if, when stylizing the material, multiple and varied, the form ends up in dissonance or in a drawing whose lines they meander a harmony or lightness, denouncing some color. Even more: Lukács examines what it means to state, in Schlegel's terms, that the “novel is a romantic book”, different from the ancient epic[vi] and of modern works, not a modern epic genre.

If, on the one hand, the two interlocutors agree that Sterne's form exemplifies the arabesque, whose structuring element is the contrast of elements, combined with digressions and interruptions, Joachim, on the other hand, operating with Schlegel's categories, states that, unlike of Jean-Paul, the arabesque in Sterne fails in a “dissonance of the material”. Vincenz enthusiastically, also quoting Schlegel, maintains the opposite: if there is dissonance and non-unity between the parts, it is because the novel as a whole is just concentration (compression) in itself, “an arrangement in rhythm (Rhythmisierung), which is experienced independently”[vii]. “For the form here is not the result of an internal cohesion, as in the other works, but the blurring of its borders in the mist of distance, like the sea coast on the horizon.”[viii].

In Sterne, the work does not show limits or connections: it exposes endless adventures. This means that Sterne creates another formal unit, “a unit in the whole, but without at the same time feeling what is disintegrating in it”.[ix] The “unity” of the work results, then, from a random junction, in which things remain close in space. “Unity means staying together, and staying together (Beisammensein) is here the only criterion of truth; above its verdict no other instance exists.[X]

As can be seen, Lukács's use of romanticism is always controversial, that is, it is an interpretative appropriation that makes available the argument for new approaches, it is never a mere reiteration of ideas and procedures. For this reason, the “Dialogue” always progresses by confronting thoughts: the idea of ​​the game, for example, refers to Kant, romanticism and, specifically, the concept of romantic irony, which dominates, from then on, the center of the dialogue. Irony in Sterne is characterized as romantic, less in the sense of self-limitation, of “going beyond oneself” or of critical commentary, and more as infinite self-creation, in the sense of boundless subjectivity, in the terms of Schlegel's fragment 116, already that the “poet tolerates no law above him”; assumption presented by the critic Kerr, whose origin can also be located in the figure of the Kantian genius, which is “a talent to produce that for which no determinate rule can be given”[xi].

Now, the game as a creative force that suspends the laws of understanding is not a knowledge of the limited, but of the unlimited, which takes Lukács' essay to the heart of the theme of aesthetic disinterest, whose matrix is ​​German, first with Moritz and later with Kant, Schiller and others. He refers especially to Fichte, for whom the aesthetic impulse is “the one that does not aim at anything external to man, it does not aim at the knowledge of objects, like the practical impulse, but wants to transform things everywhere to infinity”; hence, the aesthetic sense develops, says Fichte, “once the desire for knowledge has been appeased and the drive for knowledge satisfied”.[xii]

Even more: beyond the question of the originality of genius, Lukács associates romantic irony with the sphere of nature, with the “I”, in the Fichtian sense of power to create the world, or invisible spirit that animates all art; or, even, to the pure activity that is an infinite force of self-creation, in which the I as the “sole giver of life” plays with everything, destabilizes concepts, creates images that illuminate the world, images that gain autonomy and self-sufficiency and that extend to the whole of actual reality. In such a way that irony, for Vincenz, as absolute freedom to play, exhibits an ethical dimension: it is “conception of the world (Worldview), an immediate form of revelation of life (Lebensoffenbarung) and a way of feeling and expressing the world”[xiii]. “Being able to play is true sovereignty”,[xiv] which is the most authentic image of life, since what matters here are not the qualities of dead things, but the agreement of form with our spirit. In this way, the form is the elevation of the feelings of the I to an autonomous signification, to a “mirror image” (reflection) of the world, through which she is a symbol of infinity.

Now, how does the young Lukács interpret this high ethical pretension of irony, whose roots he finds in romanticism and beyond? If the antagonists agree that only the poet's subjectivity is in fact capable of communicating vital contents, Joachim disagrees, however, that one can postulate a boundless subjectivity, or aesthetic spirit, understood in Fichtian terms, as boundless subjectivity. In this pretension would reside, then, the intrinsic contradictions to the suggestion of the Self as a mirror of the absolute, as a surface of reflections, mirroring and distortions, in the terms of Schlegel's fragment 116.

Only the soul, argues Lukács, understood as an integral subjectivity, can create a world, as it knows the limits set by the world. Lukács operates, then, with the idealist-romantic notion of ludic game, whether the game is understood as a reciprocal action between understanding and imagination in Kant, or between formal impulse and sensitive impulse in Schiller, to demonstrate the impasses of romantic irony both in the pretense of the poet to constitute himself in authentic subjectivity based on the instability of the sensitive as in the pretension of constituting a community of feelings based on the power to rise beyond all conditioning or in full infinity and indetermination. How is it possible, it is asked, that a fullness of the Self can flow from mere instability? And that fullness is the power to create objects, to later abandon or destroy them, according to your will?

Even acknowledging the complexity of Sterne's work and how it separates the order of sensations from the order of feelings, the ludic game that the work stimulates in the reader is, for Lukács, derisory, because these "insipid confessions"[xv] or “pretends”, in Schiller's severe language, do not convince, since “we play with things, but we remain ourselves, and things remain what they were”[xvi]. Preserving the aesthetic idea of ​​the game – not just any idea of ​​a game, but the Schillerian idea of ​​a ludic game as a harmony of the faculties, regarding beauty –, Lukács suggests that Sterne's work only partially mobilizes the faculties, making the possibility of the game unfeasible, since the formal capacity is, in Sterne's case, partially activated, only the sensitive impulse predominating; for this reason, quoting an image of Nietzsche, Sterne lacks tact and sensitivity for what is truly important: “Experience arises from the mere taste for experience, he observes just for the sake of observing”[xvii].

Life appears only in its disorder as chaos, in “raw form, empirically, at rest, immutable, without movement”[xviii]. All feelings are exposed, without wit, as sentimentality, in the same terms as Friedrich Schlegel's criticism[xx]. Hence, says Lukács, Sterne's works are formless, inorganic and fragmented; there are no choices in them, since it is not a question of value; hence they are unfinished, extendable to infinity. Against the spirit of the Fichtian creative genius[xx] and also against the romantic project of a progressive universal poetry, Lukács is incisive: there is no infinite form, every form is delimitation, choice, ordering of multiplicity. And without form, there is no beauty.

Wouldn't it have occurred to Lukács that Sterne would be closer to the sublime and not the beautiful? After all, this anti-romance or meta-novel, with its discontinuous verbal flow, encyclopedic curiosity and picaresque wandering, points to the formless and the immeasurable; an incompleteness that forced the novel to leave its limits and rules. Lukács knows this, and for this reason uses, repeatedly, through the voice of Vincenz, terms such as intensification and multiplicity, and speaks directly of “sublime” to define form – as when, quoting Nietzsche, he states: “Form is the intensification from fundamental feelings, lived with maximum force, to the point where they attain an autonomous meaning. There is no form that cannot be traced back to these fundamental sentiments, primitively sublime and simple.”[xxx]

Now, then, if this is not a slip or an oversight, it remains for us to realize that the sublime is consciously rejected by Lukács: he knows that the material of the novel is the sensible and that the sublime disposition is the feeling that stems from the “departure from the world”. sensitive".[xxiii] If this is so, then it can be said that Lukács intentionally distances himself from the opposition between the beautiful and the sublime, in terms of the XNUMXth century, by defending a disposition towards form that is neither an ordering of the sensible, according to a unit of knowledge, nor refusal of connection between things, in the name of moral independence, as in the sublime, but the understanding of form as a new coexistence of the sensible; that is, as the creation of a sensitive unit, which indicates a homogeneity that is a value.

It is for this reason that Lukács intensifies the criticism directed at the romantic-idealist aesthetics, when he affirms, like Nietzsche and Kierkegaard, that the subjectivity that only looks at itself is an obstacle in which its own subjectivity is lost. Thus, if the novel form is neither merely beautiful nor merely sublime, it is because the force of configuring projects something outside of the soul from the soul and which, however, reveals its most intimate will. From the two poles of criticism derives the formulation that the work of art is ethical when the form points to an ideal external to the Self; an internal creation, certainly, but one that is not very far from things, since they are not dissolved in subjective impressions, in Mood. In this case, the novel can still aim for the true epic totality, which closes as a symbol of the world (Sinnbild). Now, without the disposition for form, the game between formal and sensible impulse ends in frivolity and the genius is a “mere amateur of feelings”.[xxiii]

With that, the dialogue progresses shifting the theme of irony to the theme of form as value, which transposes the relationship between aesthetics and ethics, as thought at the heart of romanticism, to the philosophical debate of Heidelberg, contemporary to Lukács, between the two main currents at the end of the XNUMXth century: on the one hand, the philosophy of life, and on the other, neo-Kantianism and its doctrine of value. In this historical leap, the opposition of the “Dialogue” gains clarity. For Vincenz, who adopts a certain Diltheyian biologism, what has value is life itself, and in it this immediate experience of the Self, called subjectivism, predominates; hence, the novel is an opening to the world and a path to enrichment in life, so that richness is seen as infinity, freedom of the Self and, in this sense, ethics is thought of as this ability to create from the richness of life. On the other hand, all differences dissolve in it, there is no hierarchy between big and small, light and heavy, long and short, matter and quality. It is an intense affirmation of life and its moments, an ethic of moments, in which each one is lived as experience, as an experience lived by the I, in terms of Lebensphilosophie.

For Joachim, in a neo-Kantian key, “the soul can only be complete and thus rich there where chaos and conformity to law, life and abstraction, man and destiny, states of soul exist with equal intensity (Mood) and ethics”[xxv]. For this soul, the form is not reduced to the arabesque, with its “colorful pastiche, farces and confessions”[xxiv], but means the ability to produce a value: “True wealth consists only in being able to value, and true strength, only in the power of choice, in the part of the soul freed from the states of soul (Mood) episodic: in ethics. That is, in being able to determine fixed points for life. And this force sovereignly creates differences between things, creates their hierarchy [...]. Ethics or form in art is the exterior ideal of the self at every instant and every state of mind”.[xxv]

These contrasts indicate how the problem of value appears in several essays by AeF articulated with the notion of ironic play, preparing the dense speculative approach that we will examine in the second part, in the manuscripts of philosophy of art and aesthetics of Heidelberg. In any case, the essay on Sterne's novel recovers what the romantics maintained, namely that art belongs to a specific sphere of value, different from the logical, the religious, or even the ethical sphere. For Lukács, however, autonomy stems from the game understood, at the same time, as approximation and distance from the lived reality; therefore, art is a cultural good that has an “own value”, in Rickert's terms: it produces a mediated value, a transformed matter, a transcendent value.[xxviii]

Lukács, it is worth mentioning, agrees with the neo-Kantians of Heidelberg that value is something not lived, a sphere of non-reality, which does not mean, for him, that value is a beforehand abstract. Following Rickert's suggestion that art, as intuition, is the closest value to life, Lukács will seek to demonstrate how value stems from the aesthetic impulse that is of the order of lived experience, of effectiveness (Erlebniswirklichkeit), understood as a desire for unity, purification, or the expression of a quality of life; every work, he says, expresses the subject's search for an object suitable for pure experience. Its specificity as a cultural good resides in the fact that value is only placed in the work, in the process of its realization, as sensitive and in the relationship with the user: the work is the realization of value, not the representation of value. The work thus establishes something qualitatively different: it is a principle of differentiation; hence every value is unique, a novelty. In this sense, form is autonomous, engendered by matter and by the artist who, through it, orders chaos, produces meaning, creates value.

If value is neither in the creative subject nor in the receiver, but in the work, one can understand the importance, for the young Lukács, of Rickert's neo-Kantian approach, which shifted the question of value to the theme of the validity of value: the value is not; it is valid only in front of the spectator who takes a position in front of a value. As a validity in itself (geltung-an-sich), is a practical moment of evaluation, of appreciation.[xxviii] Hence the importance of the end of the dialogue, when Vincenz resumes reading and, facing the girl, recognizes Sterne's sentimentality, putting the book away.

The conclusion of the dialogue, if not aporetic, is at least ironic: after the narrator has given credit to the two interlocutors, an atmosphere of incommunicability and misunderstanding is established. Even recognizing that Sterne is not beautiful, and that perhaps in fact there is no form there, Vincenz feels that he has lost the confrontation, but in the end he stays with the girl, remaining in life. Joachim, who apparently won the duel, receives as a reward the double failure of losing the girl's love and, consequently, his life, and of having to take refuge in forms. As if Lukács sought to correct the excessive idealism of the essay on Philippe with the inconsolable sadness of Joachim.

Rereading the program of romanticism through the lens of the end of the XNUMXth century, Lukács, as a great ironist, places the problem of epic forms and, especially, of the novel in this intersection (Way of the Cross): within this bumpy path, he confronts positions, finds parallelisms, without assuming a univocal conclusion – although the essay suggests, between the lines, against Schlegel, that Sterne is modern and not romantic: Tristram shandy it does not herald the awakening of the romantic spirit, which Schlegel idealized for the program of universal poetry which would also be, dialectically, the overcoming of Sterne.

If Sterne is modern, it remains to be seen what that means and why he cannot be surpassed, nor can the program for a progressive universal poetry realized in the present as a place of barbarism. So that the impasses of form, in Sterne, state that the aesthetic problem of the modern novel cannot be understood by romantic categories such as the arabesque. It remains, then, to start from where this essay arrived, from the realization that the problem of the novel form is that of modern subjectivity, which has become an obstacle (obstacle) for itself, by losing immanence to the world, that is, in terms of A ttheory of romance.

* Arlenice Almeida da Silva is a professor of aesthetics in the philosophy department of the Federal University of São Paulo (Unifesp).


Arlenice Almeida da Silva. Aesthetics of resistance. The autonomy of art in the young Lukács. São Paulo. Boitempo, 2021, 400 pages.


[I] Ibid., p. 187; Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, “Fehler der Dilettanten: Phantasie und Technik unmittelbar verbinden zu wollen”, in maxims and reflections (Munich, CH Beck, 1999), p. 481 [ed. Eng.: “To want to articulate fantasy and technique without mediation”, in maxims and reflections, trans. Afonso Teixeira da Mota, Lisbon, Guimarães, 2001, p. 215].

[ii] Gyorgy Lukacs, The soul and the forms, cit., p. 190.

[iii] Ibidem, p. 196.

[iv] Friedrich Schlegel, Conversation about poetry and other fragments (trans. Victor-Pierre Stirnimann, São Paulo, Iluminuras, 1994), p. 61.

[v] Ibidem, p. 62.

[vi] Ibid., p. 66. It is worth highlighting that Schlegel thinks about the novel through a broader notion, which refers to a post-ancient literature, divided into three stages. The first would be named First Romanticism, in an arc that goes from Dante to Cervantes and Shakespeare. The second phase would be that of the XNUMXth century, of French and English classicism, considered a period of decline in art. And the third would be the future promise of a revival of the spirit of the first phase, with Goethe. Cf. Alain Muzelle, “Arabesque et roman dans l'oeuvre de Friedrich Schlegel”, Société et Representation, N. 10, 2000, p. 20-66. This is what can be read in the “Discourse on Mythology”: “Here I find a lot of similarity with that great spirit of romantic poetry, which is not shown in isolated glimpses but in the construction of the whole […]. For this artificially disordered confusion, this exciting symmetry of contradictions, this wonderful eternal alternating play of enthusiasm and irony, alive even in the best segments of the whole, already seems to me to be an indirect mythology. The organization is the same, and the arabesque is certainly the oldest and most original form of human fantasy.” Friedrich Schlegel, Conversation about poetry and other fragments, cit., p. 55.

[vii] Gyorgy Lukacs, The soul and the forms, cit., p. 207.

[viii] Ibidem, p. 208.

[ix] Ibidem, p. 199.

[X] Ibidem, p. 190.

[xi] Kant, 1993, §46, p. 153.

[xii] Johann Gottlieb Fichte, About the spirit and the letter in philosophy (trans. Ulisses Razzante Vaccari, São Paulo, Humanitas/Imprensa Oficial, 2014), p. 142.

[xiii] Gyorgy Lukacs, The soul and the forms, cit., p. 202.

[xiv] Ibidem, p. 199.

[xv] The term confession it follows from Schlegel who, in the “Letter on the novel”, uses it in the sense of “a spiritual vision of the object, wholeheartedly serene and joyful; for it is in serene joy that it is fitting to contemplate the important play of divine images. […] True arabesques, and accompanied by confessions, the only romantic products of nature in our time”. Friedrich Schlegel, Conversation about poetry and other fragments, cit., p. 68.

[xvi] Gyorgy Lukacs, The soul and the forms, cit., p. 199.

[xvii] Ibidem, p. 206.

[xviii] Ibidem, p. 213.

[xx] Cf. Schlegel's critique of sentimentalism: “What then is this sentimental? What pleases us, where feeling dominates, but that spiritual feeling, not what comes from the senses. The source and soul of all emotions is love, and in romantic poetry there must be hovering, almost invisible and everywhere, the spirit of love; this is what that definition should point to. […] Only fantasy can conceive the enigma of this love and present it as an enigma; the enigmatic is the source of the fantasy, in the form of all poetic representation”. Friedrich Schlegel, Conversation about poetry and other fragments, cit., p. 65-6).

[xx] Em About the spirit and the letter in philosophy, Fichte concludes the second letter thus: “The spirit leaves limits behind and in its own sphere there are no limits. The impulse to which the spirit gives itself goes to infinity”. Johann Gottlieb Fichte, About the spirit and the letter in philosophy, cit., p. 143.

[xxx] Gyorgy Lukacs, The soul and the forms, cit., p. 207.

[xxiii] Schiller, in Uber das Erhabene, clarifies the intellectual dimension of the sublime: “We feel free in the face of the sublime because the sensitive impulses have no influence on the legislation of reason, because the spirit acts here as if it were not under any laws other than its own”. Friedrich Schiller, From the sublime to the tragic (trans. Pedro Süssekind and Vladimir Vieira, Belo Horizonte, Autêntica 2011), p. 60.

[xxiii] Gyorgy Lukacs, The soul and the forms, cit., p. 210; Friedrich Schiller, From the sublime to the tragic, cit., p. 213. Cf. on the theme Kierkegaard's analysis of romantic irony. “To the extent that the ironist, with the greatest possible poetic license, creates himself and the surrounding world, insofar as he thus always lives in the hypothetical and subjunctive mode, his life loses all continuity. With that he completely submits to the state of mind (stimulation). His life is reduced to mere affective dispositions. [.].) He poetically invents that he himself evokes moods, he poetizes until he spiritually paralyzes himself and stops poetizing. The affective tonality itself therefore has no reality for the ironic, and it is rare for him to give free rein to the affective tonalities except in the form of contrast. Soren Kierkegaard, The concept of irony constantly referred to Socrates (trans. Álvaro Luiz Montenegro Valls, Bragança Paulista, Editora Universitária São Francisco, 2006), p. 245-6.

[xxv] Gyorgy Lukacs, The soul and the forms, cit., p. 213.

[xxiv] See Friedrich Schlegel, Conversation about poetry and other fragments, cit., p. 62.

[xxv] Gyorgy Lukacs, The soul and the forms, cit., p. 214.

[xxviii] For Rickert, in the article written for the magazine Logos, from 1911-1912, entitled “Values ​​of life and values ​​of culture”, the entire philosophy of life seeks to extract the values ​​of life. But life here is a mere condition and not self-worth. Now, Rickert distinguishes two values: eigenvalue (Eigenwert) and conditional value (bedingungswert). “He who lives everything, lives absurdly. Own values ​​are not life values. We must in a way kill life, to a certain degree, to get to cultural goods, which have their own value.” Heinrich Rickert, Le Système des valeurs et other articles (Paris, Vrin, 2007), p. 118.

[xxviii] Ibid., p. 123; Eric Dufour, Les Néokantiens: valeur et verité (Paris, Vrin, 2003), p. 70.

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