Monday, 18 October 2010


Herder's Ideen zur Philosophie der Geschichte der Menschheit ('Outlines of a Philosophy of the History of Man' 1841) asserts that 'Immer verjüngt in neuen Gestalten, blüht der Genius der Humanität': The genius of humanity blooms in continually renovated Gestalt. Gestalt, the dictionary tells me, is: 'form, shape, figure, character, person, frame, build.' But of those seven items, only one ('frame') really fits Herder's apothegm; and that's not really the one he meant.

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