Tagged: fop

Of human nature

In human nature, praiseworthy qualities never are found without concurrent variations that must run through endless shadings to the utmost imperfection. The quality of the terrifying sublime, if it is quite unnatural, is adventurous. Unnatural things, so far as the sublime is supposed in them, although little or none at all may actually be found, are grotesque. Whoever loves and believes the fantastic is a visionary; the inclination toward whims makes the crank. On the other side, if the noble is completely lacking the feeling of the beautiful degenerates, and one calls it trifling. A male person of this quality, if he is young, is named a fop; if he is of middle age, he is a dandy. Since the sublime is most necessary to the elderly, an old dandy is the most contemptible creature in nature, just as a young crank is the most offensive and intolerable. Jests and liveliness pertain to the feeling of the beautiful. Nevertheless, much understanding can fittingly shine through, and to that extent they can be more or less related to the sublime. He in whose sprightliness this admixture is not detectable chatters. He who perpetually chatters is silly. One easily notices that even clever persons occasionally chatter, and that not a little intellect is needed to call the understanding away from its post for a short time without anything going wrong thereby. He whose words or deeds neither entertain nor move one is boring. The bore, if he is nevertheless zealous to do both, is insipid. The insipid one, if he is conceited, is a fool.

Immanuel Kant, Observations on the Feeling of the Beautiful and Sublime (1763)