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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter 2017

What Makes Brahms Kellerian?

From the book Aesthetics Today
Joachim Schulte


In the context of a published Lecture on Aesthetics recorded by Rush Rhees the editor quotes a lengthy passage from Smythies’ Notes of Wittgenstein’s Lectures on Description (1940). Here,Wittgenstein is reported as observing: “Take Brahms and Keller - I often found that certain themes of Brahms were extremely Kellerian.” In my paper, I try to spell out what Wittgenstein may have had in mind in making this observation. As Wittgenstein himself remarks, his words have an historical dimension that needs to be taken into account if one wants to arrive at a fruitful reading of his observation. At the same time, the suggestion that Brahms is a “Kellerian” composer can be seen as relying on insights developed by Wittgenstein in the course of his later reflections on aspect-seeing and other topics in the philosophy of psychology as well as his ideas on the immediacy of certain connections between linguistic meaning and the expression of feelings.

© 2017 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Munich/Boston