AbstractA neglected facet of the legacy of D.F. Malherbe: Art – independent and dependent
During his studies in Freiburg, Germany Malherbe also had to study philosophy and its history. Since the late seventies the University of the Free State organises an annual commemorative lecture on some or other aspect of the legacy of Malherbe – mostly focused on his literary work and sometimes also on his competence as a linguistic scholar. Initially he adhered, in his view of art and the aesthetic, to the idea that the artist is “free” in the sense of not being bound to aesthetic norms or principles. However, after his retirement discussions with his son-inlaw, Herman Strauss, brought him into contact with the new reformational philosophy at the Free University of Amsterdam (Dooyeweerd and Vollenhoven). This caused a radical paradigm- shift in his theoretical understanding of reality and in his view of art and the aesthetic. In this article his view of the (in)dependence of art and the aesthetic is presented against the background of views in which the meaning of the aesthetic is distorted by making it serviceable to something non-aesthetic and of a view which elevated the aesthetic into a self-contained haven where the “soul” can experience “rest and bliss”. Malherbe provided an analysis of basic aesthetic principles as they reflect the coherence between the aesthetic and non-aesthetic aspects of reality. His broader orientation is embedded in the ideal of Christian scholarship within all the disciplines.
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