Simon Malpas
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Touching art
Aesthetics, fragmentation and community

This chapter aims to open a space for the investigation of the place of the aesthetic in the contemporary world. It takes as its object the notion of the artistic fragment that emerges within modernity, and considers the ways in which modern art functions as a fragmentary form. By tracing a genealogy of the fragmentation in the writings of Friedrich Schlegel and the critique launched against it by G. W. F. Hegel, the chapter identifies a fragmentary Romantic residue in contemporary aesthetics. The chapter argues that the issues that are at stake in the disagreement between these two key thinkers have not passed away into history but continue to provoke the most profound questions about the value and role that art holds. It explores the Schlegelian/Hegelian conflict in order to think art's relation to community.

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