The Philosophy of Art

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Cornell University Press, 1972 - Art - 292 pages
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Translators Preface
The Humanity of Art

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About the author (1972)

Born in Castelvetrano, Sicily, Giovanni Gentile was one of the major figures in the rise of idealism in Italy during the early twentieth century. Gentile was a professor of philosophy for more than 40 years at various Italian universities, including Naples (1898--1906); Palermo (1906--14); and Pisa (1914--17), where he was Chair of the philosophy department. His longest tenure was at the University of Rome, where he was a professor from 1917 until his death during World War II. Gentile formulated a neo-Hegelian philosophy, referred to as actual idealism, in which the present act of thinking was the foundation of all behavior. His idealism was therefore absolutely subjective, although he preferred to regard it as an actualism. In 1922, Gentile was appointed minister of education in Benito Mussolini's cabinet and in 1924 the first president of the National Fascist Institute of Culture. He also was the Minister of Public Instruction in Italy from 1922 until 1924. He remained a loyal Fascist to the end, serving as the ideological spokesman for Mussolini. When Mussolini fell, Gentile retired briefly, but then actively supported the Fascist Social Republic that the Germans had established. He was killed in Florence on April 15, 1944, by Italian Communist partisans. Perhaps Gentile's most significant accomplishment was planning the Encyclopedia Italiana from 1929 to 1936. It consisted of 35 volumes and became the showpiece of Mussolini's regime.

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