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Genealogy of the TragicGreek Tragedy and German Philosophy$
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Joshua Billings

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780691159232

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691159232.001.0001

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Greek and Modern Tragedy

Greek and Modern Tragedy

(p.105) Chapter 4 Greek and Modern Tragedy
Genealogy of the Tragic

Joshua Billings

Princeton University Press

This chapter looks at idealist thought on the difference of antiquity and modernity. The starkest statement of the opposition of antiquity and modernity comes in Friedrich Schlegel's On the Study of Greek Poetry. The essay, published in 1797, though complete by the end of 1795, has often been overshadowed by Friedrich Schiller's concurrent and independently conceived On Naive and Sentimental Poetry (1795–96). While there are surprising similarities between the two essays, their juxtaposition very often obscures a fundamental difference in intent: where Schlegel's essay is concerned with ancient poetry as a concrete historical phenomenon, Schiller's understands much ancient poetry as an example of the “naive,” a category that transcends history. Schlegel aims to outline a program for a creative relation to antiquity, while Schiller seeks to grasp the philosophical significance of differing relations to nature.

Keywords:   idealist thought, antiquity, modernity, Friedrich Schlegel, Greek poetry, Friedrich Schiller, ancient poetry, naive, sentimental poetry

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