Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Exemplarity and MediocrityThe Art of the Average from Bourgeois Tragedy to Realism$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Paul Fleming

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780804758901

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804758901.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM STANFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.stanford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Stanford University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in SSO for personal use.date: 04 July 2022



(p.163) Conclusion
Exemplarity and Mediocrity
Stanford University Press

The dilemma of exemplarity and mediocrity does not end in the nineteenth century, but assumes a different form in the twentieth century for a variety of reasons. One reason is that the distinction between high and low culture slowly began to be questioned and blurred from within high art only after Heinrich Heine's celebration of the “end of the Goethean artistic period” (as the end of idealizing art). The relation between exemplarity and mediocrity was also influenced by the development of the humanities in the second half of the nineteenth century. Another reason is that Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel rightly declared that prosaic reality affects all aspects of modern life from economics to politics, from morality to society. Alexis de Tocqueville and John Stuart Mill addressed the dilemma of mediocrity in power in their respective books Democracy in America (1835/1840) and On Liberty (1859). In Beyond Good and Evil, Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche recognizes that mediocrity in power necessarily turns into something beyond mediocre.

Keywords:   exemplarity, mediocrity, Heinrich Heine, Hegel, prosaic reality, Alexis de Tocqueville, John Stuart Mill, Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche, Democracy in America, On Liberty

Stanford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.