Hermann Lotze. Outlines of Aesthetics. Translated by G. T. Ladd. 3.4 (January, 1887): 165-166.




[Harvard Monthly 3.4 (January, 1887), 165]

LOTZE’S OUTLINES OF ÆSTHETICS. Translated by Mr. G. T. Ladd. Boston: Ginn & Co.


This is a most serviceable book, containing an outline of the philosophy underlying all art, dictated by the renowned Lotze. The introductory chapters which deal with the theory and conception of beauty, and of the working of what the translator is pleased to call “the fancy” are the least satisfying, of course. If we understand Lotze, he seems to be struggling to impress us with the importance of distinguishing between our individual impressions-ability and accepted canons of criticism. Beauty he would define as the flowering of a life of its own in a certain object, beyond the mere demands made upon that object by its conditions. Not a bad definition, if that be his meaning.


Of the remaining chapters the one on Architecture is most satisfactory. It indicates the underlying principles of the different orders with considerable clearness, and treats their evolution from these principles. The chapter on Music touches, in its discussion of the functions and limitations of that art, many interesting points. It does well to accentuate the fact that music is an event. The chapters on Sculpture and Painting are neither so clear nor so interesting as the others. The one on poetry we should like to stop over, if space permitted. But the book is, above all things, suggestive. [166] Open it anywhere, and what you read will oblige you to think. The very opposition it rouses in us is a profitable thing. No serious art student can help profiting by this little book.