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Book

Formalismes esthétiques et héritage herbartien: Vienne– Prague–Moscou

Hildesheim: Olms, 2009.
Under the general editorship: C. Maigné, C. Trautmann-Waller.

Zimmermann (1824–1898) contributes an important Ästhetik to the history of aesthetic formalism and he is a major representative of Vienna Herbartianism. In my analysis I show, on the one hand, that he aims at delivering a systematic work, based on the insights which Herbart had already provided, without treating them exhaustively. On the other hand―I argue―it is not unproblematic to reconcile Zimmermann’s views with Herbart’s ideas, especially when crucial notions such as ‘form’ and ‘relationship’ are considered. Paradoxically, the distance between the two thinkers ultimately emerges from the essay in which Zimmermann examines the analogy Herbart himself had drawn between music theory and practical philosophy. My conclusion thus is: where Zimmermann broadens Herbart’s theories, pursuing their explanation and systematic completion, he betrays the main issues of Herbartian formalism and philosophy; Herbart’s most profitable theories―concrete formalism and functionalism―are abandoned in favour of abstract, void constructions.

Chapters
Formalismes esthétiques et héritage herbartien: Vienne– Prague–Moscou