Hegel gave lecture series on aesthetics or the philosophy of art in various university terms, but never published a book of his own on this topic. His student, H. G. Hotho, compiled auditors’ transcripts from these separate lecture series and produced from them the three volumes on aesthetics in the standard edition of Hegel’s collected works.
Annemarie Gethmann-Siefert has published one of these transcripts, the Hotho transcript of the 1823 lecture series, and accompanied it with a very extensive introductory essay treating many issues pertinent to a proper understanding of Hegel’s views on art. She persuasively argues that the evidence shows Hegel never finalized his views on the philosophy of art, but modified them in significant ways from one lecture series to the next.
In addition, she makes the case that Hotho’s compilation not only concealed this circumstance, by the harmony he created out of diverse source materials, but also imposed some of his own views on aesthetics, views that differ from Hegel’s and that the ongoing interpretation of the aesthetics part of Hegel’s philosophy has unfortunately taken to be Hegel’s own.
This translation of the German volume, which contains the first publication of the Hotho transcript and Gethmann-Siefert’s essay, makes these important materials accessible to the English reader, materials that should put the English-speaking world’s future understanding and interpretation of Hegel’s philosophy of art on a sounder footing.
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