Hegel is known as the father of art history, yet recent scholarship has overlooked his contributions. This is the first comprehensive interpretation of Hegel's philosophy of art in English in thirty years. In a new analysis of Hegel's notorious end of art thesis, Hegel's Aesthetics shows the indispensability of Hegel's aesthetics for understanding his philosophical idealism and introduces a new claim about his account of aesthetic experience. In a departure from previous interpretations, Lydia Moland argues for considering Hegel's discussion of individual arts-architecture, sculpture, painting, music, and poetry-on their own terms, unlocking new insights about his theories of perception, feeling, selfhood, and freedom. This new approach allows Hegel's philosophy to engage with modern aesthetic theories and opens new possibilities for applying Hegel's aesthetics to contemporary art. Moland further elucidates his controversial analysis of symbolic, classical, and romantic art through clarifying Hegel's examples of each. By incorporating newly available sources from Hegel's lectures on art, this book widely expands our understanding of the particular artworks Hegel discusses as well as the theories he rejects. Hegel's Aesthetics further situates his arguments in the intense philosophizing about art among his contemporaries, including Kant, Lessing, Herder, Schelling, and the Schlegel brothers. Ultimately, the book offers a rich vision of the foundation of his ideas about art and the range of their application, confirming Hegel as one of the most important theorists of art in the history of philosophy.
Lydia Moland's new book will be the go-to commentary on Hegel's Aesthetics. She combines a comprehensive and systematic treatment of the book as a whole with a sharp sense of contemporary issues about art, its value, and our experience of it. Her reading establishes Hegel's Aesthetics as the single most important book in the history of the philosophy of art - the one that is such that grappling with it enables one to engage more productively with a wider range of topics and problems about art than any other single book. This is a major achievement * Richard Eldridge, Charles and Harriett Cox McDowell Professor of Philosophy, Swarthmore College * Lydia Moland's book is a significant achievement. It is the first comprehensive interpretation in English of Hegel's aesthetics, and in its philosophical sophistication and historical erudition far surpasses its predecessors. Moland is fearless and tenacious in facing the many problems that arise in understanding Hegel's aesthetics, and she offers solutions to them that scholars will need to consider. * Frederick Beiser, Professor of Philosophy, Syracuse University *