|Publisher:||University of Chicago Press|
Fascinated by the relationship between culture, society, and economic life, Simmel took an interest in myriad phenomena of aesthetics and the arts. A friend of writers and artists such as Auguste Rodin, Rainer Maria Rilke, and Stefan George, he wrote dozens of pieces engaging with topics such as the work of Michelangelo, Rembrandt, and Rodin, Japanese art, naturalism and symbolism, Goethe, "art for art's sake", art exhibitions, and the aesthetics of the picture frame. This is the first collection to bring together Simmel's finest writing on art and aesthetics, and many of the items appear in English in this volume for the first time. The more than forty essays show the protean breadth of Simmel's reflections, covering landscape painting, portraiture, sculpture, poetry, theater, form, style, and representation. An extensive introduction by Austin Harrington gives an overview of Simmel's themes and elucidates the significance of his work for the many theorists who would be inspired by his ideas. Something of an outsider to the formal academic world of his day, Simmel wrote creatively with the flair of an essayist. This expansive collection of translations preserves the narrative ease of Simmel's prose and will be a vital source for readers with an interest in Simmel's trailblazing ideas in modern European philosophy, sociology, and cultural theory.