On the Aesthetic Education of Man
'The artist is certainly the child of his age, but all the worse for him if he is at the same time its pupil, even worse its minion.'
On the Aesthetic Education of Man is one of the most profound works of German philosophy, in which Friedrich Schiller analyses politics, revolution and the history of ideas to define the relationship between beauty and art. Resulting from Schiller's deep disillusionment with the course of the French Revolution and expressed as a series of letters to a patron, On the Aesthetic Education of Man is an impassioned attempt to drag mankind upwards from failure to greatness through placing ideas of aesthetic education at the heart of the human experience: 'Our era has actually taken both wrong turnings, and has fallen prey to coarseness on the one path, lethargy and perversity on the other. Having strayed along both paths, it is beauty that can lead [us] back.' Schiller's arguments are as arresting, challenging and inspiring today as when they were first written - it is above all one of the great political statements from a time of revolutionary change.
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