Schiller, Hegel, and Marx looked back to ancient Greek culture, viewing it as the historical embodiment of certain ideals central to aesthetic theory. This volume investigates their viewpoints and how they use Greek culture as an ideal model for remaking the modern world, for overcoming alienation and estrangement.
All three believed that the modern world could be remade according to this model, though none succeeded in his endeavor. At times Schiller seemed to recognize the failure of the model; in his mature writing Hegel dropped the model; and Marx, as he grew older, fundamentally modified the model.
Nevertheless, focusing upon their attempts and failures allows an explanation of certain aspects of one of the fundamental concerns of current Marx studies: Marx’s humanism and the relationship between his earlier and later thought. Using this approach, Kain shows that Marx’s development cannot be divided into two neat periods – an early humanistic or philosophical period and a later scientific period – as some scholars argue, nor can one argue for an essential unity to his thought as other scholars do. Instead Kain finds Marx continually shifting his views in his attempt to come to grips with the issues that concern him. But Kain also finds a deep-seated humanism in Marx’s later writings which grows out of, but differs from, the humanism of his early work.