Hegel’s Aesthetic Opinions On Writing Over Music

It may or may not be well known (how the fuck would I know?) that Hegel’s views on aesthetics are markedly different from most of his and our contemporaries: that music is not the aesthetic form most suited to deliver the deepest sublime—it is writing. I for a time wondered why this would be the case, that Hegel would stray from such an immediate and impacting form as music as being so great and stand by writing. I never presumed it would be that he himself is a writer and not a musician and wanted to privilege himself, and though there may be an element of egoism in his decision, I think there is a far more well thought out justification that may be underlying it. What I think Hegel see’s in writing that is lacking in other art forms is how very mediated it is, and for something so highly mediated to reach the sublime, is a far greater accomplishment than music which it is far easier for. When something written gives you the shivers, it must really be such a beautiful thing to shine through the deflective mediums (and turn mediums of deflection into mediums of amplification) that language has as structures. Hegel loved mediation, seeing it as truly constitutive of human existence. I prefer music, and perhaps Hegel generally did too? But music doesn’t have such harsh constraints to get across the powerful emotions to you, it is born free and soars high, whereas words are born into bondage—they are heavily burdened by mediation—and only the most powerfully beautiful can truly “sublimate” their imprisonment.







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