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Goethe as the Founder of a New Science of Aesthetics

Rudolf Steiner Archive & e.Lib Document

Sketch of Rudolf Steiner lecturing at the East-West Conference in Vienna.

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Goethe as the Founder of a New Science of Aesthetics

On-line since: 23rd May, 2012


THIS lecture, now appearing in a second edition, was given by me more than twenty years ago at the Goethe Society in Vienna. On the occasion of this new edition of one of my earlier works, the following may perhaps be said. It has happened that changes in my views have been discovered in the course of my literary career, notwithstanding the fact that this work of mine, of more than twenty years' standing, can be published to-day without the alteration of a single sentence. If this alleged alteration in my views was connected especially with my spiritual scientific (anthroposophical) activity, my answer is, that on reading through this lecture, the ideas developed in it appear to me to be a healthy foundation for Anthroposophy, and the anthroposophical way of thinking, in particular, to be most suitable for the understanding of these ideas. The most important part of what is said will scarcely be taken in, really and consciously, by those whose ideas are set in another direction. What stood, twenty years ago, behind my world of ideas, I have worked out since that time in many and various directions. This fact does not imply a change in my views.

The few notes added at the end, for the sake of elucidation, might equally well have been written twenty years ago. The question might be asked, if what was said in this lecture still holds good to-day with regard to Æsthetics? For in this field, also, a good deal of work has certainly been accomplished during the last two decades. It really seems to me that it holds good at the present time still more than it did twenty years ago. With regard to the development of Æsthetics, a grotesque statement may be risked: that the thoughts expressed in this lecture have become still more true since they first appeared, although they have in no way altered.


Bâle, 15th September, 1919.

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