Edgar Wind on Symbols and Memory: Pragmatist Traces on a Warburgian Path

Tullio Viola*

*Corresponding author for this work

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The article examines the work of philosopher and art historian Edgar Wind, a close collaborator of Aby Warburg, in the years immediately following the latter's death (1929). I examine, in particular, two texts in which Wind advanced an ambitious reconstruction of Warburg's approach to art history and the cultural sciences. In the interpretation suggested here, Wind read Warburg through the lenses of pragmatism, a philosophical movement with which he had become acquainted during his first stay in the United States, in the mid-1920s. The interaction of pragmatism with the Warburgian research programme allowed Wind to deal originally with the nature of symbols, the dynamics of cultural transmission, and the relationship between memory and agency.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-118
Number of pages20
JournalVisual History: Rivista internazionale di storia e critica dell'immagine
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020


  • Aby Warburg
  • Edgar Wind
  • Kulturwissenschaft
  • Memory
  • Pragmatism

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