The Poets on the Classics: An Anthology of English Poets' Writings on the Classical Poets and Dramatists from Chaucer to the Present

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Routledge, 1988 - Literary Criticism - 273 pages

Ernst Cassirer occupies a unique space in Twentieth-century philosophy. A great liberal humanist, his multi-faceted work spans the history of philosophy, the philosophy of science, intellectual history, aesthetics, epistemology, the study of language and myth, and more.

The Philosophy of Symbolic Forms is Cassirer's most important work. It was first published in German in 1923, the third and final volume appearing in 1929. In it Cassirer presents a radical new philosophical worldview - at once rich, creative and controversial - of human beings as fundamentally "symbolic animals", placing signs and systems of expression between themselves and the world.

This major new translation, the first for over fifty years, brings Cassirer's magnum opus to a new generation of students and scholars.

Volume 2: Mythical Thought considers the role of myth in human thought and expression. Cassirer examines the main features of morphology of myth before tackling the relationship between myth and self-consciousness. He argues that human beings' experience of the world around them is charged with affective and emotional significance, as desirable or hateful, comforting or threatening. It is this type of meaning which underlies mythical consciousness and explains its disregard for the distinction between appearance and reality. From mythical thought religion and art develop, Cassirer argues, making the mythical view of the world the earliest form of philosophical expression.

Correcting important errors in previous English editions, this translation reflects the contributions of significant advances in Cassirer scholarship over the last twenty to thirty years. Each volume includes a new introduction and translator's notes by S. G. Lofts, a foreword by Peter Gordon, a glossary of key terms, and a thorough index.

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