The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Volume 07 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 600 pages of information about The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Volume 07.

The second art in which the romantic form finds realization, on still a higher level than in painting, is music.  Its material, though still sensuous, advances to a deeper subjectivity and greater specification.  The idealization of the sensuous, music brings about by negating space.  In music the indifferent extension of space whose appearance painting admits and consciously imitates is concentrated and idealized into a single point.  But in the form of a motion and tremor of the material body within itself, this single point becomes a concrete and active process within the idealization of matter.  Such an incipient ideality of matter which no longer appears under the spatial form, but as temporal ideality, is sound the sensuous acknowledged as ideal, whose abstract visibility is transformed into audibility.  Sound, as it were, exempts the ideal from its absorption in matter.

This earliest animation and inspiration of matter furnishes the medium for the inner and intimate life of the spirit, as yet on an indefinite level; it is through the tones of music that the heart pours out its whole scale of feelings and passions.  Thus as sculpture constitutes the central point between architecture and the arts of romantic subjectivity, so music forms the centre of the romantic arts, and represents the point of transition between abstract spatial sensuousness, which belongs to painting, and the abstract spirituality of poetry.  Within itself music has, like architecture, an abstract quantitative relation, as a contrast to its inward and emotional quality; it also has as its basis a permanent law to which the tones with their combinations and successions must conform.


For the third and most spiritual expression of the romantic form of art, we must look to poetry.  Its characteristic peculiarity lies in the power with which it subjugates to the mind and to its ideas the sensuous element from which music and painting began to set art free.  For sound, the one external medium of which poetry avails itself, is in it no longer a feeling of the tone itself, but is a sign which is, by itself, meaningless.  This sign, moreover, is a sign of an idea which has become concrete, and not merely of indefinite feeling and of its nuances and grades.  By this means the tone becomes the word, an articulate voice, whose function it is to indicate thoughts and ideas.  The negative point to which music had advanced now reveals itself in poetry as the completely concrete point, as the spirit or the self-consciousness of the individual, which spontaneously unites the infinite space of its ideas with the time-element of sound.  But this sensuous element which, in music, was still in immediate union with inner feelings and moods, is, in poetry, divorced from the content of consciousness, for in poetry the mind determines this content on its own account and for the sake of its ideas, and while it

Project Gutenberg
The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Volume 07 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
Follow Us on Facebook