The Religion of Art

Theodore Ziolkowski

in Modes of Faith

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print May 2007 | ISBN: 9780226983639
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226983660 | DOI:
The Religion of Art

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Friedrich Nietzsche and Fyodor Dostoyevsky were not the first thinkers to proclaim that God was dead. In The Phenomenology of Spirit (1807), Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel built the death of God into his system as a necessary precondition for the final stage of human consciousness which he called “absolute knowing.” Of relevance here is the fact that the statement occurs in the penultimate chapter, “Revealed Religion,” which opens with the sentence: “Through the religion of art, Spirit has emerged from the form of substance into that of the subject”—at the point, in other words, when a belief accepted by the whole society was being displaced by a radical individualism. In many cases, the aestheticization of art was not accompanied by a pronounced crisis of faith. This chapter examines the religion of art, focusing on the conspicuous ritual and liturgical element in the poetry of Stefan George as well as order, attention, consciousness, and discipline in the poetry of Paul Valéry. It also looks at James Joyce and how he turned to art as an escape.

Keywords: religion of art; religion; art; Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel; faith; poetry; Stefan George; order; Paul Valéry; James Joyce

Chapter.  12982 words. 

Subjects: Literature

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