Jonathan Blower                                                               Independent Scholar


Volume 5, October 2023

This contribution introduces, reproduces and translates Edgar Wind’s Grundbegriffe der Geschichts- und
Kulturphilosophie (Basic Concepts in the Philosophy of History and Culture), the last lecture course Wind
was able to deliver at the University of Hamburg before his permission to teach was revoked by the
National Socialists in 1933. The lecture notes themselves are sketchy, terse and often ambiguous.
They cover a wide intellectual terrain, establishing links between the humanities and the natural
sciences, rejecting the certainties of classical causality and the ‘linear conception of time’ in favour
of chance, uncertainty and the ‘configural conception of time’ – modern ideas first fully elaborated
in Wind’s 1929 Habilitation thesis, a critique of Kant that was later published as Das Experiment und
die Metaphysik (Experiment and Metaphysics). The introductory note to the translation sets the lectures
in their historical context and identifies Aby Warburg as a decisive influence on the young Wind’s
thinking. It also discusses certain issues of interpretation arising from the text of the lecture course,
which is preserved in two different versions, neither of which was produced by Wind himself.

Edgar Wind; Grundbegriffe; Hamburg; lectures; translation


Edgar Wind’s Grundbegriffe


Branca, Bernardino, ‘Edgar Wind in Hamburg, 1930–33,’ Edgar Wind Journal 4 (2023), 32–64.

Freyberg, Sascha, ‘The Logic of Time: Edgar Wind’s Basic Concepts’, paper presented at the conference Edgar Wind: Art and Embodiment, London, 28–29 October 2021.

Gombrich, Ernst, Aby Warburg: An Intellectual Biography (London: The Warburg Institute, 1970).

Lloyd-Jones, Hugh, ‘A Biographical Memoir’ in Edgar Wind, The Eloquence of Symbols: Studies in Humanist Art, ed. by Jaynie Anderson (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1983).

Meier, Hans, Newald, Richard and Wind, Edgar (eds), A Bibliography on the Survival of the Classics, First Volume, The Publications of 1931 (London: Cassel & Co. and The Warburg Institute, 1934).

Meier, Hans, Newald, Richard and Wind, Edgar (eds), Kulturwissenschafltiche Bibliographie zum Nachleben der Antike, Erster Band. Die Erscheinungen des Jahres 1931 (Leipzig and Berlin: B. G. Teubner and Bibliothek Warburg, 1934).

Sears, Elizabeth, ‘The Life and Work of William S. Heckscher: Some Petites Perceptions’, Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte, 53 (1990).

Targia, Giovanni, ‘Edgar Wind’s Self-Translations: Philosophical Genealogies and Political Implications of a Cultural-Theoretical Tradition’ in Migrating Histories of Art: Self-Translations of a Discipline, ed. by Maria Teresa Costa and Hans Christian Hönes (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2018), 77–90.

Thomas, Ben, ‘Edgar Wind: A Short Biography’, Stan Rzeczy 1.8 (2015).

Wind, Edgar, Experiment and Metaphysics: Towards a Resolution of the Cosmological Antinomies, trans. Cyril Edwards with an introduction by Matthew Rampley (Oxford: Legenda, 2001).

———, Das Experiment und die Metaphysik: Zur Auflösung der kosmologischen Antinomien, vol. 3 in the series Beiträge zur Philosophie und ihrer Geschichte (Tübingen: J. C. B. Mohr, 1934)

———, ‘Humanitätsidee und heroisiertes Porträt in der englischen Kultur des 18. Jahrhunderts’, Vorträge der Bibliothek Warburg (1932), 156–229.

———, Hume and the Heroic Portrait: Studies in Eighteenth-Century Imagery, ed. by Jaynie Anderson (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1986).

———, ‘Some Points of Contact between History and the Natural Sciences’ in Philosophy and History: Essays Presented to Ernst Cassirer, ed. by Raymond Klibansky and H. J. Paton (Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1936), 255–64.

———, ‘Theios Phobos: Untersuchungen über die Platonische Kunstphilosophie’, Zeitschrift für Ästhetik und allgemeine Kunstwissenschaft, 26 (1932), 349–73.

———, ‘Warburg’s Concept of Kulturwissenschaft and its Meaning for Aesthetics’ in idem, The Eloquence of Symbols: Studies in Humanist Art, ed. by Jaynie Anderson (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1983), 21–35.

———, ‘Warburgs Begriff der Kulturwissenschaft und seine Bedeutung für die Ästhetik’, Vierter Kongress für Ästhetik und allgemeine Kunstwissenschaft, Zeitschrift für Ästhetik und allgemeine Kunstwissenschaft, 25 (1931), 163–79.

Wölfflin, Heinrich, Kunstgeschichtliche Grundbegriffe: Das Problem der Stilentwickelung in der neueren Kunst (Munich: F. Bruckmann, 1915).

———, Principles of Art History: The Problem of the Development of Style in Early Modern Art, ed. by Evonne Levy and Tristan Weddigen, trans. Jonathan Blower (Santa Monica: Getty Research Institute, 2015).

The Edgar Wind Journal 5: 71-104, 2023
DOI: 10.53245/EWJ-000027
Copyright: © 2023 J. Blower. This is an open access, peer-reviewed article published by Bernardino Branca