The special subject of the greater part of the letters and essays of Schiller contained in this volume is Aesthetics; and before passing to any remarks on his treatment of the subject it will be... More > useful to offer a few observations on the nature of this topic, and on its treatment by the philosophical spirit of different ages.
First, then, aesthetics has for its object the vast realm of the beautiful, and it may be most adequately defined as the philosophy of art or of the fine arts. To some the definition may seem arbitrary, as excluding the beautiful in nature; but it will cease to appear so if it is remarked that the beauty which is the work of art is higher than natural beauty, because it is the offspring of the mind. Moreover, if, in conformity with a certain school of modern philosophy, the mind be viewed as the true being, including all in itself, it must be admitted that beauty is only truly beautiful when it shares in the nature of mind, and is mind's offspring.< Less
The History of the Thirty Years War is a five volume work, which followed his very successful History of the Revolt of the Netherlands. Written for a wider audience than Revolt, it is a vivid... More > history, colored by Schiller’s own interest in the question of human freedom and his rationalist optimism.< Less
Schiller's great historical account of the Revolt of the Netherlands was first published at the end of October 1788, in Leipzig. Schiller undertook this historical study as background to writing his... More > dramatic poem Don Carlos, Infante of Spain (written between 1785 and 1787), a fictional account of the political intrigues surrounding the history of the Revolt of the Netherlands and its relation to the Spanish Court. This Introduction stands by itself as one of Schiller's finest explications of the principles of republican statecraft.< Less