Hegel and India: The Aesthetics of Eurocentrism

  • M. A. R. Habib


This chapter discusses Hegel’s account, in his aesthetics, of India and of the Sanskrit epic, the Mahābhārata. Previous chapters have shown that Hegel is one of the creators and enablers of the discourse of modern Eurocentrism, articulating it at its highest level, not only in his politics and the philosophy of history but also in his thinking about art and literature, which is closely tied to his overall historical scheme. This chapter extends the book’s argument into the important domain of Hegel’s aesthetics, and indicates the kind of reception, use, and opposition they have evoked in postcolonial theory. In order to do this, it outlines Hegel’s vision of the evolution of art through its symbolic, classical, and Romantic forms, and then focuses on one exemplary portion of his aesthetics, namely his treatment of Indian poetry.


Discourse of Eurocentrism Hegel’s aesthetics Hegel on India 


  1. Brown, Robert F., ed. 2006. Lectures on the History of Philosophy 1825–6: Vol. II: Greek Philosophy. Trans. R.F. Brown, J.M. Stewart, and H.S. Harris, 341–342. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  2. Eagleton, Terry. 1990. The Ideology of the Aesthetic, 142, 144, 150. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  3. Hegel, G.W.F. 1975a. Aesthetics: Lectures on Fine Art: Volume I, vol. I, 9–10. Trans. T.M. Knox. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  4. ———. 1975b. Aesthetics: Lectures on Fine Art, Volume II. Trans. T.M. Knox, 973. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  5. ———. 2013. Hegel’s Aesthetics and their Influence. In The Cambridge History of Literary Criticism: Vol. VI: The Nineteenth Century c. 1830–1914, ed. M.A.R. Habib, 251–273. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Paolucci, Henry, introd. and trans. 2001. Hegel: On the Arts, x–xi. Smyrna, DE: Griffon House.Google Scholar
  7. Rapp, Carl. 2000. Hegel’s Concept of the Dissolution of Art. In Hegel and Aesthetics, 15–21. Albany: State University of New York Press.Google Scholar
  8. Rathore, Aakash Singh, and Rimina Mohapatra. 2017. Hegel’s India: A Reinterpretation, with Texts, 79–81. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Surber, Jere. 2000. Art as a Mode of Thought: Hegel’s Aesthetics and the Origins of Modernism. In Hegel and Aesthetics, 46. Albany: State University of New York Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. A. R. Habib
    • 1
  1. 1.Rutgers UniversityCamdenUSA

Personalised recommendations