Representing the visual : A study of Aesthetics in Rainer Maria Rilke’s selected works

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The study of aesthetics incorporates art and beauty as major concepts. It is seen that the history of aesthetics has undergone several changes through the centuries. Art as a key concept of aesthetics came in the Eighteenth century. The scope of aesthetics was expanded after the publication of Alexander Gottlieb Baumgarten’s Aesthetica in 1750, which eventually helped to draw the attention of writers, philosophers, and the common men in this field. Aesthetics has played a pivotal role in modern literature. A shift in general aesthetic theory took place where a cross cultural trait between aesthetic theory and various forms of art, including the literary arts and the visual arts occurred. In the later part of the nineteenth century the Modernist movement started in Europe which brought a wide-spread and far-reaching transformation especially in art and literature. In the years around 1900 an interest in visual art became immensely popular amongst the writers especially in Germany. German writer Rainer Maria Rilke was one of those who constantly worked to integrate the arts into life. Rilke’s connection with artists, poets and art critics played a significant role in his life. The present study is an attempt to explore Rilke’s creative process with the argument that his artistic oeuvre was largely moulded through his understanding of visual arts. A particular attempt is made to bring out the aesthetic relation between the visual image and literary representation in Rilke.
Supervisor: Krishna Barua