Journal Article

Artist Bound: The Enslavement of Art to the Hegelian Other

Andrew W. Hass

in Literature and Theology

Volume 25, issue 4, pages 379-392
Published in print December 2011 | ISSN: 0269-1205
Published online November 2011 | e-ISSN: 1477-4623 | DOI:
Artist Bound: The Enslavement of Art to the Hegelian Other

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The most famous passage in all of Hegel, the master and the slave of the Phenomenology of Spirit, has been read and interpreted with great variation. But it has rarely, if ever, been applied in any extended way to the context of aesthetics, or to the artist. Perhaps this is because the artist has been largely understood as the later Phenomenology and Aesthetics suggest: the artist as master. And in what sense could the artistic master relate to his or her created work, and to those who admire it, other than through a self-conscious superiority, which eventually leaves the work of art behind for something higher—in the Phenomenology, for religion, or ultimately for philosophy? And yet, what if we understood the artist not as master but as slave, as bondsman not only to the created work, but to that which stands as other in the created work? This article will argue that by seeing the creative artist as slave within the master/slave dialectic, a fuller understanding of the role of creativity and origination in all of Hegel’s thinking opens up, one that is deeply bound to negation, and one that sees the Other not as something higher but as something also bound to that negation. Rilke in his Duino Elegies will be indentured for this case.

Journal Article.  6552 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Religion and Art, Literature, and Music

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