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ROUSSEAU AND AESTHETIC MODERNITY: MUSIC’S POWER OF REDEMPTION
Despite Rousseau’s condemnation of the ‘progress’ of civilization and his suspicions concerning the arts, he none the less articulates a redemptive role for aesthetic experience within modern life. In choosing music as his privileged aesthetic object, he suggests the possibility of an eighteenth-century aesthetic based on experience that anticipates later developments in romanticism and modernism. And by locating the possibility of redemption within aesthetic experience couched in terms of musical performance, he articulates a modern role for the work of art that looks forward to nineteenth- and twentieth-century aesthetic theory from the German Romantics to the Frankfurt School.