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Title: Carl Sternheim's aesthetics in theory and practice
Author: Williams, Rhys W.
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 1974
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A brief introduction raises some of the methodological difficulties involved in a study of the relationship between a writer's literary theory and his practice. The use of the term "aesthetics" is justified, and some of the deficiencies in previous critical accounts of Sternheim's theory are noted. The ambiguity in Sternheim's theoretical statements, it is argued, corresponds closely to the conflict inherent in his creative work between criticism and affirmation. The first chapter is devoted to a discussion of aspects of Sternheim's aesthetics up to 1906, his ideas being placed in a wider intellectual context. When Sternheim treats a conventional conflict between art and life in his early plays, his artist-hero does not come into serious conflict with society, it is the conflict between the artist's private life and the demands of his vocation which is central. Sternheim's treatment of the theme reflects the ambiguity inherent in the aesthetic itself. Secondly, neo-Romantic elements in his early work are isolated and it is shown that these continue to form one pole of his theory even after he has abandoned his early view of art as the expression of powerful feelings. Finally, his early efforts to evolve formal categories around 1904-1906 are recorded. These insights derived from his acquaintance with the work of Heinrich Wölfflin and applied largely to the visual arts fail to answer Sternheim's needs, but serve as a prelude to his encounter with Heinrich Rickert's philosophy.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available