By Hans-Georg Gadamer
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Additional info for Literature and Philosophy in Dialogue: Essays in German Literary Theory (S U N Y Series in Contemporary Continental Philosophy)
So Kant is speaking the trutheven about Goethe. The decisive question, however, is whether Schiller is right on this point. Is Goethe's philosophical stance one of instinct? Is his philosophy really nothing more than unconscious Idealism? Goethe himself seems to give an affirmative answer. Even if at the beginningin his answer to Schiller's first important letterhe discovers in himself "a kind of darkness and hesitation" that resists a self-clarification offered to him in the garb of philosophy, yet there is no doubt that gradually he is ready to see himself through the eyes of Schiller as expressed in Kantian terms.
Nevertheless, this disagreement had led to the formation of a common bond; and in this way a union of the two great men was established, as Goethe himself depicted it, on the basis of a competition between object and subject, a disagreement that could never perhaps be entirely settled. In their correspondence we have before us the part of this competition they shared together. This correspondence opens with a splendid attempt by Schiller to define his own, as well as philosophy's, relation to the spirit of Goethe.
All three deal with the way in which human culture develops: the mythological drama of the prehistorical world of the titans and how they were conquered; the fairy-tale opera on the struggle of elemental and spiritual forces involved in human development. The elemental and the spiritual, their opposition and their mutual belongingness, govern the spiritual course of mankind in general, the path to culture as well as to the development of the individual. This is what particularly interested Goethe: to show that the constant hidden presence of the titanic element, the continual threat to man's spirit by the darkness of elemental forces belongs to the very essence of human destiny.
Literature and Philosophy in Dialogue: Essays in German Literary Theory (S U N Y Series in Contemporary Continental Philosophy) by Hans-Georg Gadamer