“Many a work of art whose coherence is never questioned is, as the artist knows quite well himself,…”

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“Many a work of art whose coherence is never questioned is, as the artist knows quite well himself, not a complete work but a fragment, or one or more fragments, a mass, a plan. But so powerful is the instinct for unity in mankind that the author himself will often bring something to a kind of completion at least directly with the form which simply can’t be made a whole or a unit; often quite imaginatively and yet completely unnaturally. The worst thing about it is that whatever is draped about the solid, really existent fragments in the attempt to mug up a semblance of unity consists largely of dyed rags. And if these are touched up cleverly and deceptively, and tastefully displayed, then that’s all the worse. For then he deceives even the exceptional reader at first…”

Friedrich Schlegel, Critical Fragments

Originally appeared on Philosophy Bits Read More

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