Toril Moi

in The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy and Literature

Published in print April 2009 | ISBN: 9780195182637
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Philosophy


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This article examines the impact of idealism on the history of philosophy and literature. It considers idealism as a historically and culturally significant intersection of philosophy and literature, and as a set of ideas about art that profoundly affected both literature and the way people thought about literature in the nineteenth century. It shows the importance of idealism to nineteenth-century debates about art, literature, and culture and argues that when idealism is placed alongside realism and modernism it changes the meaning of these terms. The article also discusses the gender norms embedded in idealist aesthetics and suggests that the demise of idealism furthered the autonomization of art and literature. When idealism disappeared, ethical and religious claims on art lost their legitimacy.

Keywords: idealism; philosophy; literature; art; culture; realism; modernism; gender norms; idealist aesthetics

Article.  12909 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art

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