Oswald Spengler. The Decline of the West. An abridged edition by Helmut Werner. English abridged edition prepared by Arthur Helps from the translation by Charles Francis Atkinson. New York: oxford University Press c199 [1926, 1928, 1932]. xxxx,415, xvix

VI Music and Plastic: The Arts of Form [115]

The clearest type of symbolic expression that the world-feeling of higher mankind has found for itself is (if we except the mathematical-scientific domain of presentation and the symbolism of its basic ideas) that of the arts of form...And with these arts we count music....

If an art has boundaries at all--boundaries of its soul-become- form--they are historical and not technical orphysiological boundaries.

...The choice of art-genus itself is seen to be a means of expression. What the creation of a masterpiece means for an individual arts--the "Night Watch" for Rembrandt or the Meistersinger for Wagner--the creation of a species of art, comprehended as such, means for the life-history of a Culture. it is epochal. Apart from the merest externals, each art is an individual organism without predecessr or successor. Its theory, technique and convention all belong to its character, and contain nothing of eternal or universal validity. When one of these arts is born, when it is spent, whether it dies or is transmuted into another, why this or that art is dominant in or absent from a particular Culture--all these are questions of Form in the highest sense, just as is that other question of why individual painters and musicians unconsciously avoid certian shades and harmonies or, on the contrary, show preferences so marked that authorship-attributions can be based on them.

The importance of these groups of questions has not yet been recognized by theory... A futile up-and-down course was stolidly traced out. Static times were described as "natural pauses," it was called "decline" when some great art in reality died, and "renaissance" where an eye really free form prepossessions would have seen another art being born in another landscape to express another humanity.

And yet it is precisely in this problem of the end, the impressively sudden end, of a great art--the end of the Attic drama in Euripides, of Florentine sculpture with Michaelangelo, of instrumental music n Liszt, Wagner, and Bruckner--that the organic character of these arts is most evident. ...

Sections from Spengler, The Decline of the West:
Introduction: Civilization
Introduction: Imperialism
Architecture and Divinities
Imitation and Ornament
The History of Style as an Organism
Arts as Symbol of the Higher Order
Popular and Esoteric
Will to Power
Morale of Dawning Civilizations
The History of Style as an Organism
Pergamum and Bayreuth: the End of Art
Classical Behaviour Drama and Faustian Character Drama
Every Culture Possesses its own Ethic
Every Science is Dependent upon Religion
Origin and Landscape: the Group of the Higher Cultures
Second Religiousness
The State

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