Notizen über Herders Wirkung in Italien: nur ein ›Anreger‹?
This contribution provides an overview of scholarly reception of Johann Gottfried Herder’s works in Italy, from its beginning during the twentieth century with a focus on most recent developments in the latest decades. In comparison with the fortunes of Herder’s German contemporaries (e.g. Kant), a fecund interest in Herder’s thought appears quite late in Italy. This is surprising given his name was well known in Italy as one of the ‘German classists’, especially in the field of pedagogy and literature. Between the 1940s and the 1970s, however, significant studies on Herder began to appear together with Italian translations of some of his most important works (Treatise on the Origin of Language, Outlines of a Philosophy of the History of Man). In this phase, scholars focused primarily on two lines of research: Herder’s philosophical thought (his philosophies of history and of language), and understanding his place in the history of German philosophy between the eighteenth and the nineteenth century. Starting in the 1980s, new investigations into Herder’s work opened a multiplicity of research perspectives (in aesthetics, anthropology, cultural studies, history of science), thus recognizing in Herder not only an ‘instigator’, whose importance for the Romantic tradition as well as his role as a ‘precursor’ of historicism (according to Meinecke’s interpretation) are well-known, but establishing him also as an author of complex and far-reaching ideas. Most recently, studies and translations clearly attest to an increasing interest in Italy.