Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Another Schelling Reference: Flaubert

Bouvard and Pécuchet decide to become writers, but inevitably they run into trouble and hit the books:
They labored to relate these vague concepts to things provided by memory, removed, added. Pécuchet was interested in feelings and ideas, Bouvard in images and colors. And they began to argue, each on amazed at how obtuse the other could be.
Perhaps the science called aesthetics could help them through their differences. A friend of Dumouchel, a philosophy professor, sent them a list of works on the subject. They worked separately, communicating their reflections to each other.
First of all, what is beauty?
For Schelling, it is the infinite expressed by the finite; for Reid, an occult quality; for Jouffroy, an integral fact; for de Maistre, something that pleases virtue; for Father André, what suits reason....
Given that I've suggested before that Schelling's contemporaries, near and far, understood his philosophy of art to be, as he once said, the "keystone" to the system, it's always pleasing to find references to his work along these lines.

(I am reading the Dalkey Archive's translation, which can be found here.)

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