The aim of the analysis is to show how Thoreau anticipated modern, 20
century notions of world and art. Following a summary of Baumgarten’s, Leibniz’, Descartes’ and Kant’s aesthetic theories five basic aesthetic questions are formulated. A close reading of
Walden and the
Journal answers these questions in regard to Thoreau’s artistic approach. The close reading documents his life-long struggle for an adequate perception of the phenomena that «made his world». To Thoreau even the most trivial thing expressed its divine character through its specific beauty. The last two chapters of the analysis reveal the connections that exist between Thoreau’s aesthetics of the trivial and 20
century aesthetics, between his notion of nature as expression and recent biosemiotic theory.
Frankfurt am Main, Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2006. X, 189 pp.
Contents: «Aesthetics» - An Ambivalent Term – A Definition of «Aesthetics»: Five Fundamental Questions – Thoreau’s
Aesthetics - A Textual Analysis – Thoreau’s Aesthetic Position: Trying to Answer Five Fundamental Questions – Modern Implications
of Thoreau’s Aesthetic Position.