A parallel reading of Franz Grillparzer's “The Poor Musician” and Immanuel Kant's Critique of Judgment occasions reflections on the possibility of defining community in aesthetic terms. While aesthetic judgment remains subjective for Kant, even as it formulates a universal claim, Grillparzer shows how a faulty interpretation of universality can disfigure a work of art and deprive unwary readers of their freedom to interpret by charming them with a simulacrum of community. Grillparzer does not merely deplore this, but also sets in the text points of resistance against such invasive interpretations, thus forcing the readers to reflect on both the work and their own judgment. Moreover, the novella's focus on music asks for a reappraisal of Kant's classification of the fine arts, which is based on a quasi-linguistic criterion of communicability and thus restricts their postulated universality.
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