Schiller’s On Grace and Dignity in Its Cultural Context

The first English scholarly edition of Schiller’s pivotal essay, accompanied by the first comprehensive commentary on it.

Friedrich Schiller is not only one of the leading poets and dramatists of German Classicism but also an inspiring philosopher. His essay „Über Anmut und Würde“ (On Grace and Dignity) marks a radical break with Enlightenment thinking and its morally prescriptive agenda. Here Schiller does not pursue the prevalent interest in the individual artist as genius or in the creative act; instead, he establishes a harmony of mind and body in the aesthetic realm, putting down his thoughts on aesthetics in a systematic way for the first time, building on his own earlier forays into the field and on an intensive study of Kant.

The popular essay form allowed Schiller to combine condensed thought with clear and rhetorically effective presentation, but his innovation here is his insistence on a freedom for art that affirms the moral freedom of reason, reuniting the human faculties radically separated by Enlightenment thought. Schiller sees aesthetic autonomy as the way forward for civilization.

„Fascinating and challenging.“

Modern Language Review

„The best way to celebrate the bicentenary of Schiller’s death in 2005.“

German Studies Review

„Schiller’s essay is given a thorough, modern airing.“

Forum for Modern Language Studies

„Fricker adds to the riches of the volume by elaborating the influence of the ‚twin concepts‘ on Stefan George.“

German Quarterly

This is the first English scholarly edition of this pivotal essay, accompanied by the first comprehensive commentary on it. The essays focus on various facets of Schiller’s essay and its socio-historical and philosophical context. Schiller’s analysis is examined in the light of the thematic context of his plays as well as its surviving influence into the twentieth century.

Schiller’s „On Grace and Dignity“ in Its Cultural Context

Essays and a New Translation

Edited by Jane V. Curran and Christophe Fricker
Rochester, NY: Camden House, 2005

239 pp.
ISBN: 9781571133052