<i>The Allegorical Structure of</i> Phenomenology of Spirit

Brenda Machosky

in Structures of Appearing

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780823242849
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780823242887 | DOI:
The Allegorical Structure of Phenomenology of Spirit

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In this chapter, the author interprets and judges philosophy in artistic terms, countering the centuries’ old practice of philosophy's evaluation of art. Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit shares a goal similar to that of Prudentius’ Psychomachia: how to make the infinite appear in the finite, how to make Spirit appear when it cannot simply be identified or represented. Hegel himself remarks the limits of language and regularly notes a dependence on images, in fact the Phenomenology culminates in what Hegel calls a “gallery of images,” a series of mediated experiences that ultimately yield an experience of the immediate. A comparison of Hegel's early poem Eleusis to the philosophical work helps to reveal the literary structure underlying the treatise. The modern philosophical poem that is Phenomenology of Spirit offers a process of mediation, in language, that ultimately gives us an immediate experience of the Absolute Subject, the infinite aspect of our own being. The Phenomenology needs to be an allegory because Spirit cannot appear in any other way. This foundational work of Hegel's philosophy and modern thought demonstrates how the literary experience (and its allegorical structure) lies at the heart of philosophy.

Keywords: Absolute Subject; Hegel; image; immediate; mediated; philosophy; Spirit; allegorical; structure

Chapter.  11731 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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