Debates over the ‘end of art’ have tended to obscure Hegel’s work on the arts themselves. Benjamin Rutter opens this study with a defence of art’s indispensability to Hegel’s conception of modernity; he then seeks to reorient discussion toward the distinctive values of painting, poetry, and the novel. Working carefully through Hegel’s four lecture series on aesthetics, he identifies the expressive possibilities particular to each medium. Thus, Dutch genre scenes animate the everyday with an appearance of vitality; metaphor frees language from prose; and Goethe’s lyrics revive the banal routines of love with imagination and wit. Rutter’s important study reconstructs Hegel’s view not only of modern art but of modern life and will appeal to philosophers, literary theorists, and art historians alike.
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