Friedrich Theodor Vischer

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Friedrich Theodor Vischer

Friedrich Theodor Vischer (German: [ˈfɪʃɐ] ; 30 June 1807 14 September 1887) was a German novelist, poet, playwright, and writer on the philosophy of art. Today, he is mainly remembered as the author of the novel Auch Einer , in which he developed the concept of Die Tücke des Objekts (the spite of objects), a comic theory that inanimate objects conspire against humans.

Aesthetics Branch of philosophy dealing with the nature of art, beauty, and taste

Aesthetics is a branch of philosophy that deals with the nature of art, beauty and taste and with the creation or appreciation of beauty.



Born at Ludwigsburg as the son of a clergyman, Vischer was educated at Tübinger Stift, and began life in his father's profession. He became Privatdozent in aesthetics and German literature at his old university in 1835, was advanced to extraordinary professor two years later, and was appointed to full professor in 1844. Due to his outspoken inaugural address he was suspended for two years by the Württemberg government. In this enforced leisure he wrote the first two volumes of his Aesthetik, oder Wissenschaft des Schönen (1846), the fourth and last volume of which did not appear till 1857. [1]

Ludwigsburg Place in Baden-Württemberg, Germany

Ludwigsburg is a city in Baden-Württemberg, Germany, about 12 kilometres (7.5 mi) north of Stuttgart city centre, near the river Neckar. It is the largest and primary city of the Ludwigsburg district with about 88,000 inhabitants. It is situated within the Stuttgart Region, and the district is part of the administrative region (Regierungsbezirk) of Stuttgart.

Tübinger Stift seminary

The Tübinger Stift is a hall of residence and teaching; it is owned and supported by the Evangelical-Lutheran Church in Württemberg, and located in the university city of Tübingen, in South West Germany. The Stift was founded as an Augustinian monastery in the Middle Ages. After the Reformation, in 1536, Duke Ulrich turned the Stift into a seminary which served to prepare Protestant pastors for Württemberg. To this day the scholarship is still given to students in preparation for the ministry or teaching in Württemberg. Students receive a scholarship which consists of boarding, lodging and further academic support.

Privatdozent or Privatdozentin, abbreviated PD, P.D. or Priv.-Doz., is an academic title similar to Adjunct professor in North America conferred at some European universities, especially in German-speaking countries, to someone who holds certain formal qualifications that denote an ability to teach a designated subject at university level. In its current usage, the title indicates that the holder has permission to teach and examine independently without having a chair. The title is not necessarily connected to a salaried position, but may entail a nominal obligation to teach.

Vischer threw himself heartily into the great German political movement of 1848-49, and shared the disappointment of patriotic democrats at its failure. In 1855 he became professor at Zürich. In 1866, his fame being now established, he was invited back to Germany with a professorship at Tübingen combined with a post at the Polytechnikum of Stuttgart. He died at Gmunden on 14 September 1887. [1]

Democracy system of government in which citizens vote directly in or elect representatives to form a governing body, sometimes called "rule of the majority"

Democracy is a system of government where the citizens exercise power by voting. In a direct democracy, the citizens as a whole form a governing body and vote directly on each issue. In a representative democracy the citizens elect representatives from among themselves. These representatives meet to form a governing body, such as a legislature. In a constitutional democracy the powers of the majority are exercised within the framework of a representative democracy, but the constitution limits the majority and protects the minority, usually through the enjoyment by all of certain individual rights, e.g. freedom of speech, or freedom of association. "Rule of the majority" is sometimes referred to as democracy. Democracy is a system of processing conflicts in which outcomes depend on what participants do, but no single force controls what occurs and its outcomes.

Zürich Place in Switzerland

Zürich or Zurich is the largest city in Switzerland and the capital of the canton of Zürich. It is located in north-central Switzerland at the northwestern tip of Lake Zürich. The municipality has approximately 409,000 inhabitants, the urban agglomeration 1.315 million and the Zürich metropolitan area 1.83 million. Zürich is a hub for railways, roads, and air traffic. Both Zürich Airport and railway station are the largest and busiest in the country.

University of Tübingen public research university located in the city of Tübingen, Baden-Württemberg, Germany

The University of Tübingen, officially the Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen, is a public research university located in the city of Tübingen, Baden-Württemberg, Germany.

Critical legacy

Vischer was not an original thinker, and his monumental Aesthetik, in spite of industry and learning, has not the higher qualities of success. He attempts the hopeless task of explaining art by the Hegelian dialectic. Starting with the definition of beauty as "the idea in the form of limited appearance," he goes on to develop the various elements of art (the beautiful, sublime and comic), and the various forms of art (plastic art, music and poetry) by means of the Hegelian antitheses—form and content, objective and subjective, inner conflict and reconciliation. The shape of the work also is Hegelian, consisting of short highly technical paragraphs containing the main argument, followed by detailed explanations printed in different type. [1]

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel German philosopher who influenced German idealism

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel was a German philosopher and an important figure of German idealism. He achieved wide recognition in his day and—while primarily influential within the continental tradition of philosophy—has become increasingly influential in the analytic tradition as well. Although Hegel remains a divisive figure, his canonical stature within Western philosophy is universally recognized.

Still, Vischer had a thorough knowledge of every branch of art, except music. Much valuable material is buried in his volumes. [1]

In later life Vischer moved considerably away from Hegelianism, and adopted the conceptions of sensuous completeness and cosmic harmony as criteria of beauty; but he never found time to rewrite his great book. His own work as a literary artist is not always of high quality, although at times vigorous and imaginative and without academic technicality. [1] He would not abstain from grossly unfair remarks, e. g. in vol. 2 of Auch Einer: "In der lächerlichsten aller Kultursprachen hat Shakespeare geschrieben" about English (Shakespeare wrote in the most ridiculous of all civilized languages), or "Übrigens war der Taugenichts Beyle ein Narr" on Stendhal (Besides, the good-for-nothing Beyle was a fool).[ citation needed ]

Selected works

A complete list of Vischer's works is available on the German Wikipedia.

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