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Empathized with Immediacy: Improvisation, Romantic Folk Song and Goethe's Concept of the “Born Poet”

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Goethe's aesthetics of folk poetry and his concept of the so‐called “born poet” is shown in this essay to be part of his classic esthetics. His most important esthetic principles, objectivity and immediacy, Goethe locates in both folk poetry and in the poems of the “born poets.” The ideal unmediated perception and representation resumes the model of the genius; the mediality of language between word and object seems to vanish, especially because Goethe combines this esthetic of immediacy with the concept of a knowledge based improvisation. Thus immediacy and objectivity are based on a mode of representation, that brings about an emphatic and empathetic mode of reception.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10509580500211491

Publication date: July 1, 2005

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