Adam Bede’s Dutch Realism and the Novelist’s Point of View

Philosophy and Literature 36 (2):404-423 (2012)
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Hegel was ambivalent about Dutch genre painting’s uncanny ability to find beauty in daily life. The philosopher regarded the Dutch painterly aesthetic as Romanticism avant la lettre, and classifies it as such in his Lectures on Aesthetics, under the section entitled “Die romantischen Künste [The Romantic arts].”1 Dutch art, in Hegel’s reading, is marred by many shortcomings. The most prominent among these are the “subjective stubbornness [subjective Beschlossenheit]” that prevents this art from attaining to the “free and ideal forms of expression” that marked the productions of Italian artists such as Raphael. In contradistinction to their Italian counterparts, Dutch artists in Hegel’s view are apt to.

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Rebecca Ruth Gould
School of Oriental and African Studies


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