In Aesthesis and Perceptronium, Alexander Wilson presents a theory of materialist and posthumanist aesthetics founded on an original speculative ontology that addresses the interconnections of experience, cognition, organism, and matter. Entering the active fields of contemporary thought known as the new materialisms and realisms, Wilson argues for a rigorous redefining of the criteria that allow us to discriminate between those materials and objects where aesthesis (perception, cognition) takes place and those where it doesn’t.
Aesthesis and Perceptronium negotiates between indiscriminately pluralist views that attribute mentation to all things and eliminative views that deny the existence of mentation even in humans. By recasting aesthetic questions within the framework of “epistemaesthetics,” which considers cognition and aesthetics as belonging to a single category that can neither be fully disentangled nor fully reduced to either of its terms, Wilson forges a theory of nonhuman experience that avoids this untenable dilemma.
Through a novel consideration of the evolutionary origins of cognition and its extension in technological developments, the investigation culminates in a rigorous reevaluation of the status of matter, information, computation, causality, and time in terms of their logical and causal engagement with the activities of human and nonhuman agents.
During the past twenty years, the world’s most renowned critical theorist—the scholar who defined the field of postcolonial studies—has experienced a radical reorientation in her thinking. Finding the neat polarities of tradition and modernity, colonial and postcolonial, no longer sufficient for interpreting the globalized present, she turns elsewhere to make her central argument: that aesthetic education is the last available instrument for implementing global justice and democracy.
Spivak’s unwillingness to sacrifice the ethical in the name of the aesthetic, or to sacrifice the aesthetic in grappling with the political, makes her task formidable. As she wrestles with these fraught relationships, she rewrites Friedrich Schiller’s concept of play as double bind, reading Gregory Bateson with Gramsci as she negotiates Immanuel Kant, while in dialogue with her teacher Paul de Man. Among the concerns Spivak addresses is this: Are we ready to forfeit the wealth of the world’s languages in the name of global communication? “Even a good globalization (the failed dream of socialism) requires the uniformity which the diversity of mother-tongues must challenge,” Spivak writes. “The tower of Babel is our refuge.”
In essays on theory, translation, Marxism, gender, and world literature, and on writers such as Assia Djebar, J. M. Coetzee, and Rabindranath Tagore, Spivak argues for the social urgency of the humanities and renews the case for literary studies, imprisoned in the corporate university. “Perhaps,” she writes, “the literary can still do something.”
This collection examines key aesthetic avant-garde art movements of the twentieth century and their relationships with revolutionary politics. The contributors distinguish aesthetic avant-gardes —whose artists aim to transform society and the ways of sensing the world through political means—from the artistic avant-gardes, which focus on transforming representation. Following the work of philosophers such as Friedrich Schiller and Jacques Rancière, the contributors argue that the aesthetic is inherently political and that aesthetic avant-garde art is essential for political revolution. In addition to analyzing Russian constructivsm, surrealism, and Situationist International, the contributors examine Italian futurism's model of integrating art with politics and life, the murals of revolutionary Mexico and Nicaragua, 1960s American art, and the Slovenian art collective NSK's construction of a fictional political state in the 1990s. Aesthetic Revolutions and Twentieth-Century Avant-Garde Movements traces the common foundations and goals shared by these disparate arts communities and shows how their art worked towards effecting political and social change.
Contributors. John E. Bowlt, Sascha Bru, David Craven, Aleš Erjavec, Tyrus Miller, Raymond Spiteri, Miško Šuvakovic
The scientists affiliated with the early Royal Society of London have long been regarded as forerunners of modern empiricism, rejecting the symbolic and moral goals of Renaissance natural history in favor of plainly representing the world as it really was. In Aesthetic Science, Alexander Wragge-Morley challenges this interpretation by arguing that key figures such as John Ray, Robert Boyle, Nehemiah Grew, Robert Hooke, and Thomas Willis saw the study of nature as an aesthetic project.
To show how early modern naturalists conceived of the interplay between sensory experience and the production of knowledge, Aesthetic Science explores natural-historical and anatomical works of the Royal Society through the lens of the aesthetic. By underscoring the importance of subjective experience to the communication of knowledge about nature, Wragge-Morley offers a groundbreaking reconsideration of scientific representation in the early modern period and brings to light the hitherto overlooked role of aesthetic experience in the history of the empirical sciences.
Films provide valuable spaces for aesthetic experimentation and analysis, for cinema's openness to other media has always allowed it to expand its own. In Aesthetic Spaces, Brigitte Peucker shows that when painterly or theatrical conventions are appropriated by the medium of film, the dissonant effects produced open it up to intermedial reflection and tell us a great deal about cinema itself.
The films studied in these chapters include those by Abbas Kiarostami, Alfred Hitchcock, Michelangelo Antonioni, Jean-Luc Godard, Carl Th. Dreyer, Peter Greenaway, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Ingmar Bergman, Jacques Rivette, Fritz Lang, F. W. Murnau, Lars von Trier, Spike Jonze, Éric Rohmer, Lech Majewski, and others. Where two media are in evidence in these films, there is usually a third, and often theater mediates between film and painting. Aesthetic Spaces interrogates issues of cinematic space and mise-en-scène from different but interconnected theoretical perspectives, organizing its chapters around some of the formal principles—space, spectator, frame, color and lighting, props, décor, and actor—that shape films.
Drawing on the older arts to renew cinema, the films examined deploy paintings as material: Poussin and Bruegel, Rembrandt, Hals and Klimt, and medieval illustrations and modernist abstractions are used to expand our notions of cinematic space. Peucker shows that when different media come together in film, they create effects of dissonance out of which new modes of looking may arise.
Pamela R. Matthews University of Minnesota Press, 2003 Library of Congress BH19.A465 2003 | Dewey Decimal 111.85
Edited by Dieter Mersch, Sandro Zanetti, and Sylvia Sasse Diaphanes, 2019 Library of Congress BH39.A78413 2019
Theodor Adorno’s famous aesthetic theory was not merely a theory of the aesthetic; it also made a wider claim about the aesthetic implications of all theory. At the same time we have to deal with aesthetic objects and events in which an aesthetic theory is inherent, which show themselves as art. From both sides—theory and aesthetics—a link can be made to the etymological meaning of theōria, which understands the theoretical as a seeing or perspective. Featuring lucid essays by major thinkers, the book examines this link, focusing equally on the aesthetic implications of theory and the theoretical implications of aesthetic events.
For most of the twentieth century, the writings of aestheticians of the French Enlightenment were neglected by philosophers and students of the fine arts. Coleman has applied philosophical analysis to the writings of Diderot, Montesquieu, Dubos, Batteux, André, and Crousaz, among others, to reflect on the fine arts of the first two-thirds of the eighteenth century.
AESTHETICS AND ARTS EDUCATION
Edited by Ralph A. Smith and Alan Simpson University of Illinois Press, 1991 Library of Congress NX294.A38 1991 | Dewey Decimal 700.7
As art educators consider the relevance of a wide range of disciplines to the teaching of art, Aesthetics and Arts Education (a successor to the 1971 volume Aesthetics and the Problems of Education) offers an international look at the role aesthetics can play in teaching all the arts. Thirty-two articles by American and English scholars address the philosophical and educational theories underlying aesthetics, aesthetics as a field of study, curriculum design and evaluation, and the problems and purposes of aesthetic education.
Although Chinese Marxism—primarily represented by Maoism—is generally seen by Western intellectuals as monolithic, Liu Kang argues that its practices and projects are as diverse as those in Western Marxism, particularly in the area of aesthetics. In this comparative study of European and Chinese Marxist traditions, Liu reveals the extent to which Chinese Marxists incorporate ideas about aesthetics and culture in their theories and practices. In doing so, he constructs a wholly new understanding of Chinese Marxism. Far from being secondary considerations in Chinese Marxism, aesthetics and culture are in fact principal concerns. In this respect, such Marxists are similar to their Western counterparts, although Europeans have had little understanding of the Chinese experience. Liu traces the genealogy of aesthetic discourse in both modern China and the West since the era of classical German thought, showing where conceptual modifications and divergences have occurred in the two traditions. He examines the work of Mao Zedong, Lu Xun, Li Zehou, Qu Qiubai, and others in China, and from the West he discusses Kant, Schiller, Schopenhauer, and Marxist theorists including Horkheimer, Adorno, Benjamin, and Marcuse. While stressing the diversity of Marxist positions within China as well as in the West, Liu explains how ideas of culture and aesthetics have offered a constructive vision for a postrevolutionary society and have affected a wide field of issues involving the problems of modernity. Forcefully argued and theoretically sophisticated, this book will appeal to students and scholars of contemporary Marxism, cultural studies, aesthetics, and modern Chinese culture, politics, and ideology.
The distinction in North Atlantic cultures between aesthetics and politics, argues Greg Dawes, is artificially constructed because it does not take into account the socially based origins of these spheres. Although it is true that intellectuals and artists often function as politicians or diplomats in Latin America and that they are relegated to an autonomous realm in North America, the fact remains that aesthetics in both regions is embedded in sociohistorical events.
In Aesthetics and Revolution, Dawes demonstrates that there is an objective grounding for cultural studies found in the aesthetic means of production. By analyzing the relations and forces of production in this realm we inevitably cross over into the economic means of production as well as the struggle for political representation. Ultimately, aesthetics is at the intersection of class and gender interests and their struggle for hegemony.
In Aesthetics and Revolution, Dawes has chosen a group of writers of different theoretical sympathies, class, gender, and social positions to reveal the conflictual interests of the social classes and genders as a whole. Through close readings of their work, Dawes examines the thematic nodes that are expressed in positions as diverse as Ernesto Cardenal’s liberation theology, Pablo Antonio Cuadra’s populism, the campesino’s oral tradition, and Gioconda Belli’s erotic verses in relation to the changes taking place in revolutionary Nicaragua.
The UNESCO headquarters in Paris. The Pirelli skyscraper in Milan. The Palazzetto dello Sport in Rome. The "soaring beauty" of Pier Luigi Nervi's visionary designs and buildings changed cityscapes in the twentieth century. His uncanny ingenuity with reinforced concrete, combined with a gift for practical problem solving, revolutionized the use of open internal space in structures like arenas and concert halls.
Aesthetics and Technology in Building: The Twenty-First-Century Edition introduces Nervi's ideas about architecture and engineering to a new generation of students and admirers. More than 200 photographs, details, drawings, and plans show how Nervi put his ideas into practice. Expanding on the seminal 1961 Norton Lectures at Harvard, Nervi analyzes various functional and construction problems. He also explains how precast and cast-in-place concrete can answer demands for economy, technical and functional soundness, and aesthetic perfection. Throughout, he uses his major projects to show how these now-iconic buildings emerged from structural truths and far-sighted construction processes.
This new edition features dozens of added images, a new introduction, and essays by Joseph Abram, Roberto Einaudi, Alberto Bologna, Gabriele Neri, and Hans-Christian Schink on Nervi's life, work, and legacy.
Reclaiming the aesthetic, emphasizing the "literary" in literary studies, conceptualizing a new formalism: such recent appeals represent the latest turn in ongoing debates about art and aesthetic ideology. Intervening in these debates—often characterized by predictable oppositions that set art against social action, structure against cultural practice, and the so-called imaginaries of affect against the putative reality of politics—this special issue of American Literature asks, what's new about the "new aesthetics," and what implications does this shifting ideology have for social and cultural thinking?
"These sixteen essays by Arnold Isenberg "bring wide-ranging connoiseurship, intricate analysis, and epigrammatic literacy to bear on a number of glib and fuzzy oppositions between form and content, description and interpretation, perception and meaning, technique and substance, and belief and expression, articulating provocative strategies for illuminating the canon of the arts and the organ of criticism. . . . Any thoughtful lover of the arts could read this book with profit and inspiration."—Choice
Immanuel Kant’s Critique of Judgment, Thierry de Duve argues in the first volume of Aesthetics at Large, is as relevant to the appreciation of art today as it was to the enjoyment of beautiful nature in 1790. Going against the grain of all aesthetic theories situated in the Hegelian tradition, this provocative thesis, which already guided de Duve’s groundbreaking book Kant After Duchamp (1996), is here pursued in order to demonstrate that far from confining aesthetics to a stifling formalism isolated from all worldly concerns, Kant’s guidance urgently opens the understanding of art onto ethics and politics.
Central to de Duve’s re-reading of the Critique of Judgment is Kant’s idea of sensus communis, ultimately interpreted as the mere yet necessary idea that human beings are capable of living in peace with one another. De Duve pushes Kant’s skepticism to its limits by submitting the idea of sensus communis to various tests leading to questions such as: Do artists speak on behalf of all of us? Is art the transcendental ground of democracy? Or, Was Adorno right when he claimed that no poetry could be written after Auschwitz?
Loaded with de Duve’s trademark blend of wit and erudition and written without jargon, these essays radically renew current approaches to some of the most burning issues raised by modern and contemporary art. They are indispensable reading for anyone with a deep interest in art, art history, or philosophical aesthetics.
Seeks to bring present-day philosophy principles into the history of aesthetics
Before the publication of Aesthetics from Classical Greece to the Present there were three histories of aesthetics in English—Bosanquet's pioneering work, the second part of Croce's Aesthetic in the Ainsle translation, and the comprehensive volume by Gilbert and Kuhn. While each of these is interesting in its own ways, and together they cover a good deal of ground, none of them is very new. Thus none could take advantage of recent work on many important philosophers and periods and bring into a consideration of the past the best concepts and principles that have been developed by present-day philosophy.
In Aesthetics from Classical Greece to the Present the author seeks to bring these principles to the forefront in exploring the history of aesthetics.
On January 5, 1845, the Prussian cultural minister received a request by a group of six young men to form a new Physical Society in Berlin. In fields from thermodynamics, mechanics, and electromagnetism to animal electricity, ophthalmology, and psychophysics, members of this small but growing group—which soon included Emil Du Bois-Reymond, Ernst Brücke, Werner Siemens, and Hermann von Helmholtz—established leading positions in what only thirty years later had become a new landscape of natural science. How was this possible? How could a bunch of twenty-somethings succeed in seizing the future?
In Aesthetics, Industry, and Science M. Norton Wise answers these questions not simply from a technical perspective of theories and practices but with a broader cultural view of what was happening in Berlin at the time. He emphasizes in particular how rapid industrial development, military modernization, and the neoclassical aesthetics of contemporary art informed the ways in which these young men thought. Wise argues that aesthetic sensibility and material aspiration in this period were intimately linked, and he uses these two themes for a final reappraisal of Helmholtz’s early work. Anyone interested in modern German cultural history, or the history of nineteenth-century German science, will be drawn to this landmark book.
This provocative work takes issue with the idea that Socialist Realism was mainly the creation of party leaders and was imposed from above on the literati who lived and worked under the Soviet regime. Evgeny Dobrenko, a leading expert on Soviet literature, argues instead--and offers persuasive evidence--that the aesthetic theories underpinning Socialist Realism arose among the writers themselves, born of their proponents' desire for power in the realm of literary policymaking. Accordingly, Dobrenko closely considers the evolution of these theories, deciphering the power relations and social conditions that helped to shape them.
In chapters on Proletkult, RAPP, LEF, and Pereval, Dobrenko reexamines the theories generated by these major Marxist literary groupings of the early Soviet Union. He shows how each approached the problems of literature's response to the presumed social mandate of the young communist society, and how Socialist Realism emerged as a conglomerate of these earlier, revolutionary theories. With extensive and detailed reference to supporting testimony and documents, Dobrenko clearly demonstrates how Socialist Realism was created from within the revolutionary culture, and how this culture and its disciples fully participated in this creative process. His work represents a major breakthrough in our current understanding of the complex sources that contributed to early Soviet culture.
Through a series of provocative conversations, Frederick Luis Aldama and Herbert Lindenberger, who have written widely on literature, film, music, and art, locate a place for the discomforting and the often painfully unpleasant within aesthetics. The conversational format allows them to travel informally across many centuries and many art forms. They have much to tell one another about the arts since the advent of modernism soon after 1900—the nontonal music, for example, of the Second Vienna School, the chance-directed music and dance of John Cage and Merce Cunningham, the in-your-faceness of such diverse visual artists as Francis Bacon, Pablo Picasso, Willem de Kooning, Egon Schiele, Otto Dix, and Damien Hirst. They demonstrate as well a long tradition of discomforting art stretching back many centuries, for example, in the Last Judgments of innumerable Renaissance painters, in Goya’s so-called “black” paintings, in Wagner’s Tristan chord, and in the subtexts of Shakespearean works such as King Lear and Othello. This book is addressed at once to scholars of literature, art history, musicology, and cinema. Although its conversational format eschews the standard conventions of scholarly argument, it provides original insights both into particular art forms and into individual works within these forms. Among other matters, it demonstrates how recent work in neuroscience may provide insights in the ways that consumers process difficult and discomforting works of art. The book also contributes to current aesthetic theory by charting the dialogue that goes on—especially in aesthetically challenging works—between creator, artifact, and consumer.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, more than half of the world's population will have a depressive disorder at some point in their lifetimes. In The Aesthetics of Disengagement Christine Ross shows how contemporary art is a powerful yet largely unacknowledged player in the articulation of depression in Western culture, both adopting and challenging scientific definitions of the condition. Ross explores the ways in which contemporary art performs the detached aesthetics of depression, exposing the viewer's loss of connection and ultimately redefining the function of the image. Ross examines the works of Ugo Rondinone, Rosemarie Trockel, Ken Lum, John Pilson, Liza May Post, Vanessa Beecroft, and Douglas Gordon, articulating how their art conveys depression's subjectivity and addresses a depressed spectator whose memory and perceptual faculties are impaired. Drawing from the fields of psychoanalysis as well as psychiatry, Ross demonstrates the ways in which a body of art appropriates a symptomatic language of depression to enact disengagement - marked by withdrawl, radical protection of the self from the other, distancing signals, isolation, communication ruptures, and perceptual insufficiency. Most important, Ross reveals the ways in which art transforms disengagement into a visual strategy of disclosure, a means of reaching the viewer, and how in this way contemporary art puts forth a new understanding of depression.
The wild innovations of the early twentieth-century avant-garde have been widely celebrated for their influence on the course of experimental drama but rarely examined closely and systematically. Through an exploration of the plays from Germany, France, and England, The Aesthetics of Disturbance discusses modernism and the avant-garde, the relationship of drama to art movements such as expressionism, dada, and surrealism, and the interactions of visual, literary, and performance art.
Beginning with a survey of the history and theory of avant- garde art, David Graver critically juxtaposes important competing interpretations of the avant-garde, establishes basic distinctions between forms of avant-garde art, compares the aesthetic interests of the avant- garde to those of modernism, and discusses the relationship between the avant-garde and drama. Then, through close readings of the works of five preeminent avant-garde playwrights and visual artists- Oskar Kokoschka, Gottfried Benn, Raymond Roussel, Roger Vitrac, and Wyndham Lewis- he examines the innovations in dramatic literature carried out by these visionaries and finally relates them to the innovations in theater articulated by Brecht and Artaud. Graver argues that anti-art principles, most noticeable in the confrontational tactics of dada performance, can also be found within literary dramatic texts, where they create an "aesthetics of disturbance" that destabilizes the integrity of the work without allowing it to self-destruct.
"A corrective to the oft-repeated, over-simple idea that anti-art consists of the same destructive gesture repeated in different forms. This is a useful book that fills a gap, both conceptually and in terms of the figures discussed." --Philip Auslander, Georgia Institute of Technology
"Original, important, well- done."--Anthony Kubiak, Harvard University
David Graver is Assistant Professor of English and Comparative Literature, Columbia University.
"Not since Thoreau has an American author displayed such a profound appreciation for the aesthetics of nature; but, unlike Thoreau, Berleant has designed a program for allowing others to join in on that appreciation."
--E. F. Kaelin, Professor of Philosophy, Florida State University
Environmental aesthetics is an emerging discipline that explores the meaning and influence of environmental perception and experience on human life. Arguing for the idea that environment is not merely a setting for people but fully integrated and continuous with us, Arnold Berleant explores the aesthetic dimensions of the human-environment continuum in both theoretical terms and concrete situations. Insisting on the need to reconceptualize environment and recognize its aesthetic implications, he pursues a variety of topics and approaches to environmental aesthetics.
Aesthetic experience, maintains Berleant, is always contextual. Recognizing that humans, along with all other things, inhabit a single intraconnected realm, he names the quality of engagement as the foremost characteristic of environmental perception. Berleant moves from natural to nonnatural environments, suggesting that the aesthetic aspect of any human habitat is an essential part of its desirability. From outer space to the museum, from architecture to landscape, from city to wilderness, this book discovers in the aesthetic perception of environment the reciprocity that constitutes both person and place.
"Arnold Berleant's Aesthetics of Environment poses an important path for philosophy to walk down--instead of environmental ethics, where what is right and wrong in nature is discussed, he goes after the difficult destination of deciding how to articulate what is beautiful in the nature we want, not the nature we see."
--Human Ecology Review
"Berleant's new environmental aesthetics is a challenge not only to the philosophers but also to the practitioners of environment-making. With rich illustrations and freedom from technical jargon, Berleant applies his new aesthetics to analyzing and solving the practical problems concerning various environmental designs of today."
--Canadian Philosophical Review
"A pioneering contribution to this discipline. It raises a large number of challenging questions and suggests new dirrections in the analysis of the environment as an aesthetic category."
--Michael H. Mutias, Professor of Philosophy, Millsaps College
Architecture is often thought to be a diary of a society, filled with symbolic representations of specific cultural moments. However, as Craig L. Wilkins observes, that diary includes far too few narratives of the diverse cultures in U.S. society. Wilkins states that the discipline of architecture has a resistance to African Americans at every level, from the startlingly small number of architecture students to the paltry number of registered architects in the United States today.
Working to understand how ideologies are formed, transmitted, and embedded in the built environment, Wilkins deconstructs how the marginalization of African Americans is authorized within the field of architecture. He then outlines how activist forms of expression shape and sustain communities, fashioning an architectural theory around the site of environmental conflict constructed by hip-hop culture.
Wilkins places his concerns in a historical context, and also offers practical solutions to address them. In doing so, he reveals new possibilities for an architecture that acknowledges its current shortcomings and replies to the needs of multicultural constituencies.
Craig L. Wilkins, a registered architect, teaches architecture and urban planning at the University of Michigan.
Heavy makeup, gaudy jewelry, dramatic hairstyles, and clothes that are considered cheap, fake, too short, too tight, or too masculine: working-class Black and Latina girls and women are often framed as embodying "excessive" styles that are presumed to indicate sexual deviance. In Aesthetics of Excess Jillian Hernandez examines how middle-class discourses of aesthetic value racialize the bodies of women and girls of color. At the same time, their style can be a source of cultural capital when appropriated by the contemporary art scene. Drawing on her community arts work with Black and Latina girls in Miami, Hernandez analyzes the art and self-image of these girls alongside works produced by contemporary artists and pop musicians such as Wangechi Mutu, Kara Walker, and Nicki Minaj. Through these relational readings, Hernandez shows how notions of high and low culture are complicated when women and girls of color engage in cultural production and how they challenge the policing of their bodies and sexualities through artistic authorship.
Gentrification is reshaping cities worldwide, resulting in seductive spaces and exclusive communities that aspire to innovation, creativity, sustainability, and technological sophistication. Gentrification is also contributing to growing social-spatial division and urban inequality and precarity. In a time of escalating housing crisis, unaffordable cities, and racial tension, scholars speak of eco-gentrification, techno-gentrification, super-gentrification, and planetary-gentrification to describe the different forms and scales of involuntary displacement occurring in vulnerable communities in response to current patterns of development and the hype-driven discourses of the creative city, smart city, millennial city, and sustainable city.
In this context, how do contemporary creative practices in art, architecture, and related fields help to produce or resist gentrification? What does gentrification look and feel like in specific sites and communities around the globe, and how is that appearance or feeling implicated in promoting stylized renewal to a privileged public? In what ways do the aesthetics of gentrification express contested conditions of migration and mobility? Addressing these questions, this book examines the relationship between aesthetics and gentrification in contemporary cities from multiple, comparative, global, and transnational perspectives.
Protestors across the world use aesthetics in order to communicate their ideas and ensure their voices are heard. This book looks at protest aesthetics, which we consider to be the visual and performative elements of protest, such as images, symbols, graffiti, art, as well as the choreography of protest actions in public spaces. Through the use of social media, protestors have been able to create an alternative space for people to engage with politics that is more inclusive and participatory than traditional politics. This volume focuses on the role of visual culture in a highly mediated environment and draws on case studies from Europe, Thailand, South Africa, USA, Argentina, and the Middle East in order to demonstrate how protestors use aesthetics to communicate their demands and ideas. It examines how digital media is harnessed by protestors and argues that all protest aesthetics are performative and communicative.
An Aesthetics of Injury exposes wounding as a foundational principle of modernism in literature and film. Theorizing the genre of the narrative wound—texts that aim not only to depict but also to inflict injury—Ian Fleishman reveals harm as an essential aesthetic strategy in ten exemplary authors and filmmakers: Charles Baudelaire, Franz Kafka, Georges Bataille, Jean Genet, Hélène Cixous, Ingeborg Bachmann, Elfriede Jelinek, Werner Schroeter, Michael Haneke, and Quentin Tarantino.
Violence in the modernist mode, an ostensible intrusion of raw bodily harm into the artwork, aspires to transcend its own textuality, and yet, as An Aesthetics of Injury establishes, the wound paradoxically remains the essence of inscription. Fleishman thus shows how the wound, once the modernist emblem par excellence of an immediate aesthetic experience, comes to be implicated in a postmodern understanding of reality reduced to ceaseless mediation. In so doing, he demonstrates how what we think of as the most real object, the human body, becomes indistinguishable from its “nonreal” function as text. At stake in this tautological textual model is the heritage of narrative thought: both the narratological workings of these texts (how they tell stories) and the underlying epistemology exposed (whether these narrativists still believe in narrative at all).
With fresh and revealing readings of canonical authors and filmmakers seldom treated alongside one another, An Aesthetics of Injury is important reading for scholars working on literary or cinematic modernism and the postmodern, philosophy, narratology, body culture studies, queer and gender studies, trauma studies, and cultural theory.
The Aesthetics of Kinship intervenes critically into rigidified discourses about the emergence of the nuclear family and the corresponding interior subject in the eighteenth century. By focusing on kinship constellations instead of “family plots” in seminal literary works of the period, this book presents an alternative view of the eighteenth-century literary social world and its concomitant ideologies. Whereas Enlightenment and post-Enlightenment philosophy and political theory posit the nuclear family as a microcosm for the ideal modern nation-state, literature of the period offers a far more heterogeneous image of kinship structures, one that includes members of various classes and is not defined by blood. Through a radical re-reading of the multifarious kinship structures represented in literature of the long eighteenth century, The Aesthetics of Kinship questions the inevitability of the dialectic of the Enlightenment and invokes alternative futures for conceptions of social and political life.
All too often, we think of our minds and bodies separately. The reality couldn’t be more different: the fundamental fact about our mind is that it is embodied. We have a deep visceral, emotional, and qualitative relationship to the world—and any scientifically and philosophically satisfactory view of the mind must take into account the ways that cognition, meaning, language, action, and values are grounded in and shaped by that embodiment.
This book gathers the best of philosopher Mark Johnson’s essays addressing questions of our embodiment as they deal with aesthetics—which, he argues, we need to rethink so that it takes into account the central role of body-based meaning. Viewed that way, the arts can give us profound insights into the processes of meaning making that underlie our conceptual systems and cultural practices. Johnson shows how our embodiment shapes our philosophy, science, morality, and art; what emerges is a view of humans as aesthetic, meaning-making creatures who draw on their deepest physical processes to make sense of the world around them.
The contemporary moment has been described in terms of both a “narrative” and a “performative turn,” but the overlap between these two has largely escaped attention. This curious gap is explained by the ways in which scholars across the humanities have defined narrative and performance as opposite forces, emphasizing their respective affiliations with time vs. space and identity constitution vs. its undoing. Although the opposition has been acknowledged as false by many in this simple form, its shifting instantiations continue to shape the ways we make sense of the arts as well as society. Instead, An Aesthetics of Narrative Performance: Transnational Theater, Literature, and Film in Contemporary Germany by Claudia Breger maps the complexities of imaginative worldmaking in contemporary culture through an aesthetics of narrative performance: an ensemble of techniques exploring the interplay of rupture and recontextualization in the process of configuration. Interlacing diverging definitions of both narrative and performance, the study outlines two clusters of such techniques—scenic narration and narrative “presencing” in performance vs. forms of narrative theatricalization—and analyzes the cultural work they do in individual works in three different media: literature, film, and theater. These readings focus on the rich configurations of contemporary worldmaking “at location Germany.” In the discussed representations of German unification, contemporary cultures of migration, and the transnational War on Terror, the aesthetics of narrative performance finds its identity as a multifaceted imaginative response to the post/modern crisis of narrative authority.
Martin Buber’s embrace of Hasidism at the start of the twentieth century was instrumental to the revival of this popular form of Jewish mysticism. Hoping to instigate a Jewish cultural and spiritual renaissance, he published a series of anthologies of Hasidic teachings written in German to introduce the tradition to a wide audience. In Aesthetics of Renewal, Martina Urban closely analyzes Buber’s writings and sources to explore his interpretation of Hasidic spirituality as a form of cultural criticism.
For Buber, Hasidic legends and teachings were not a static, canonical body of knowledge, but were dynamic and open to continuous reinterpretation. Urban argues that this representation of Hasidism was essential to the Zionist effort to restore a sense of unity across the Jewish diaspora as purely religious traditions weakened—and that Buber’s anthologies in turn played a vital part in the broad movement to use cultural memory as a means to reconstruct a collective identity for Jews. As Urban unravels the rich layers of Buber’s vision of Hasidism in this insightful book, he emerges as one of the preeminent thinkers on the place of religion in modern culture.
A major literary event, the publication of this masterly translation makes one of the towering works of twentieth-century German literature available to English-speaking readers for the first time. The three-volume novel The Aesthetics of Resistance is the crowning achievement of Peter Weiss, the internationally renowned dramatist best known for his play Marat/Sade. The first volume, presented here, was initially published in Germany in 1975; the third and final volume appeared in 1981, just six months before Weiss’s death.
Spanning the period from the late 1930s to World War II, this historical novel dramatizes antifascist resistance and the rise and fall of proletarian political parties in Europe. Living in Berlin in 1937, the unnamed narrator and his peers—sixteen- and seventeen-year-old working-class students—seek ways to express their hatred for the Nazi regime. They meet in museums and galleries, and in their discussions they explore the affinity between political resistance and art, the connection at the heart of Weiss’s novel. Weiss suggests that meaning lies in embracing resistance, no matter how intense the oppression, and that we must look to art for new models of political action and social understanding. The novel includes extended meditations on paintings, sculpture, and literature. Moving from the Berlin underground to the front lines of the Spanish Civil War and on to other parts of Europe, the story teems with characters, almost all of whom are based on historical figures. The Aesthetics of Resistance is one of the truly great works of postwar German literature and an essential resource for understanding twentieth-century German history.
A major literary event, the publication of the second volume of Peter Weiss's three-volume novel The Aesthetics of Resistance makes one of the towering works of twentieth-century German literature available to English-speaking readers for the first time. The crowning achievement of Peter Weiss, the internationally renowned writer best known for his play Marat/Sade, The Aesthetics of Resistance spans the period from the late 1930s to World War II, dramatizing antifascist resistance and the rise and fall of proletarian political parties in Europe.
Volume II, initially published in 1978, opens with the unnamed narrator in Paris after having retreated from the front lines of the Spanish Civil War. From there, he moves on to Stockholm, where he works in a factory, becomes involved with the Communist Party, and meets Bertolt Brecht. Featuring the narrator's extended meditations on paintings, sculpture, and literature, the novel teems with characters, almost all of whom are based on historical figures. Throughout, the narrator explores the affinity between political resistance and art—the connection at the heart of Weiss's novel. Weiss suggests that meaning lies in embracing resistance, no matter how intense the oppression, and that we must look to art for new models of political action and social understanding. The Aesthetics of Resistance is one of the truly great works of postwar German literature and an essential resource for understanding twentieth-century German history.
In The Aesthetics of Service in Early Modern England, Elizabeth Rivlin explores the ways in which servant-master relationships reshaped literature. The early modern servant is enjoined to obey his or her master out of dutiful love, but the servant's duty actually amounts to standing in for the master, a move that opens the possibility of becoming master. Rivlin shows that service is fundamentally a representational practice, in which the servant who acts for a master merges with the servant who acts as a master.
Rivlin argues that in the early modern period, servants found new positions as subjects and authors found new forms of literature. Representations of servants and masters became a site of contact between pressing material concerns and evolving aesthetic ones. Offering readings of dramas by Shakespeare, Jonson, and Thomas Dekker and prose fictions by Thomas Deloney and Thomas Nashe, Rivlin suggests that these authors discovered their own exciting and unstable projects in the servants they created.
In this revealing study, Daisuke Miyao explores "the aesthetics of shadow" in Japanese cinema in the first half of the twentieth century. This term, coined by the production designer Yoshino Nobutaka, refers to the perception that shadows add depth and mystery. Miyao analyzes how this notion became naturalized as the representation of beauty in Japanese films, situating Japanese cinema within transnational film history. He examines the significant roles lighting played in distinguishing the styles of Japanese film from American and European film and the ways that lighting facilitated the formulation of a coherent new Japanese cultural tradition. Miyao discusses the influences of Hollywood and German cinema alongside Japanese Kabuki theater lighting traditions and the emergence of neon commercial lighting during this period. He argues that lighting technology in cinema had been structured by the conflicts of modernity in Japan, including capitalist transitions in the film industry, the articulation of Japanese cultural and national identity, and increased subjectivity for individuals. By focusing on the understudied element of film lighting and treating cinematographers and lighting designers as essential collaborators in moviemaking, Miyao offers a rereading of Japanese film history.
A revised paperback edition of composer George Rochberg's landmark essays
"Rochberg presents the rare spectacle of a composer who has made his peace with tradition while maintaining a strikingly individual profile. . . . [H]e succeeds in transforming the sublime concepts of traditional music into contemporary language."
"An indispensable book for anyone who wishes to understand the sad and curious fate of music in the twentieth century."
"The writings of George Rochberg stand as a pinnacle from which our past and future can be viewed."
---Kansas City Star
As a composer, George Rochberg has played a leading role in bringing about a transformation of contemporary music through a reassessment of its relation to tonality, melody, and harmony. In The Aesthetics of Survival, the author addresses the legacy of modernism in music and its related effect on the cultural milieu, particularly its overemphasis on the abstract, rationalist thinking embraced by contemporary science, technology, and philosophy. Rochberg argues for the renewal of holistic values in order to ensure the survival of music as a humanly expressive art.
A renowned composer, thinker, and teacher, George Rochberg has been honored with innumerable awards, including, most recently, an Alfred I. du Pont Award for Outstanding Conductors and Composers, and an André and Clara Mertens Contemporary Composer Award. He lives in Pennsylvania.
What do a feminist server, an art space located in a public park in North London, a so-called pirate library of high cultural value yet dubious legal status, and an art school that emphasizes collectivity have in common? They all demonstrate that art plays an important role in imagining and producing a real quite different from what is currently hegemonic, and that art has the possibility to not only envision or proclaim ideas in theory, but also to realize them materially.
Aesthetics of the Commons examines a series of artistic and cultural projects—drawn from what can loosely be called the (post)digital—that take up this challenge in different ways. What unites them, however, is that they all have a double character. They are art in the sense that they place themselves in relation to (Western) cultural and art systems, developing discursive and aesthetic positions, but, at the same time, they are operational in that they create recursive environments and freely available resources whose uses exceed these systems. The first aspect raises questions about the kind of aesthetics that are being embodied, the second creates a relation to the larger concept of the commons. In Aesthetics of the Commons, the commons are understood not as a fixed set of principles that need to be adhered to in order to fit a definition, but instead as a thinking tool—in other words, the book’s interest lies in what can be made visible by applying the framework of the commons as a heuristic device.
How “beauty” in nature is understood and appreciated
Aesthetic experience is one of the fundamental ways that we develop a relationship to our natural surroundings. Emily Brady provides a comprehensive study of this type of experience and the central philosophical issues related to it, developing her own original theory of aesthetic appreciation of nature. She provides useful background to the current debate and an up-to-date critical appraisal of contemporary theories.
The context of the contemporary debate is laid out through a discussion of aesthetic experience and aesthetic qualities; early theories of aesthetic appreciation of nature, including the beautiful, the sublime, and the picturesque; and differences between artistic and environmental appreciation and interpretation. Brady situates her own approach in relation to a set of noncognitive accounts of appreciation. Her "integrated aesthetic" brings together various features of appreciation, including the senses, emotion, and imagination, with a reappraisal of the concept of disinterestedness. These ideas are further developed within the more practical domains of aesthetic judgment and education of the environment and through an examination of the role of aesthetic value in environmental conservation.
Arnold Berleant of Long Island University, a pioneer in this area of research, has declared Brady’s work, “admirably comprehensive coverage of the subject.” Julie C. Van Camp of California State University, Long Beach, has said, “The bibliography is priceless. . . . The discussions of such philosophers as Kant and Dewey seem plausible and understandable to an audience of students and the educated public.” This book will be valuable to readers interested in such wide-ranging subjects as philosophy, aesthetics, ethics, ecology, conservation, environmental policy-making, geography, and landscape architecture.
In this, the only full-length study of the visual poetry of the early twentieth century, Willard Bohn expertly illuminates the works of Apollinaire, Josep-Maria Junow, Guillermo de Torre, and others. His fascinating aesthetic insights bring to life this elusive and often misunderstood genre.
"An important contribution. Highly sophisticated, the study tends to raise its reader's impression of visual poetry in the twentieth century from trivial pastime to serious preoccupation."—Eric Sellin, Journal of Modern Literature
"With his definitive analyses full of quotable observations and sharp critical insights, Bohn has provided a model, pioneering study, one from which current and future studies of visual poetry will most certainly benefit."—Gerald J. Janacek, Romance Quarterly
"Bohn substantiates his thesis with thoughtful and often ingenious explications of texts both well known and hard to find. . . . Aesthetics of Visual Poetry is a thoroughly researched, beautifully written and fascinating introduction to an infinitely intriguing genre."—Mechthild Cranston, French Review
Signaling such recent activist and aesthetic concepts in the work of Kara Walker, Childish Gambino, BLM, Janelle Monáe, and Kendrick Lamar, and marking the exit of the Obama Administration and the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, this anthology explores the role of African American arts in shaping the future, and further informing new directions we might take in honoring and protecting the success of African Americans in the U.S. The essays in African American Arts: Activism, Aesthetics, and Futurity engage readers in critical conversations by activists, scholars, and artists reflecting on national and transnational legacies of African American activism as an element of artistic practice, particularly as they concern artistic expression and race relations, and the intersections of creative processes with economic, sociological, and psychological inequalities. Scholars from the fields of communication, theater, queer studies, media studies, performance studies, dance, visual arts, and fashion design, to name a few, collectively ask: What are the connections between African American arts, the work of social justice, and creative processes? If we conceive the arts as critical to the legacy of Black activism in the United States, how can we use that construct to inform our understanding of the complicated intersections of African American activism and aesthetics? How might we as scholars and creative thinkers further employ the arts to envision and shape a verdant society?
Contributors: Carrie Mae Weems, Carmen Gillespie, Rikki Byrd, Amber Lauren Johnson, Doria E. Charlson, Florencia V. Cornet, Daniel McNeil, Lucy Caplan, Genevieve Hyacinthe, Sammantha McCalla, Nettrice R. Gaskins, Abby Dobson, J. Michael Kinsey, Shondrika Moss-Bouldin, Julie B. Johnson, Sharrell D. Luckett, Jasmine Eileen Coles, Tawnya Pettiford-Wates, Rickerby Hinds.
Published by Bucknell University Press. Distributed worldwide by Rutgers University Press.
African Diasporic Cinema: Aesthetics of Reconstruction analyzes the aesthetic strategies adopted by contemporary African diasporic filmmakers to express the reconstruction of identity. Having left the continent, these filmmakers see Africa as a site of representation and cultural circulation. The diasporic experience displaces the center and forges new syncretic identities. Through migratory movement, people become foreigners, Others—and in this instance, black. The African diasporic condition in the Western world is characterized by the intersection of various factors: being African and bearing the historical memory of the continent; belonging to a black minority in majority-white societies; and finally, having historically been the object of negative, stereotyped representation. As a result, quests for the self and self-reconstruction are frequent themes in the films of the African diaspora, and yet the filmmakers refuse to remain trapped in the confines of an assigned, rigid identity. Reflecting these complex circumstances, this book analyzes the contemporary diaspora through the prism of cultural hybridization and the processes of recomposing fragmented identities, out of which new identities emerge.
Moving far beyond predominant views of Africa as a place to be “saved,” and even more recent celebratory formulations of it as “rising,” African Luxury: Aesthetics and Politics highlights and critically interrogates the visual and material cultures of lavish and luxurious consumption already present on the continent. Methodologically, conceptually, and analytically, this collection dismantles taken-for-granted ideas that the West is the source and focus of high-end and hyper-desirable material cultures. It explores what the culture of consumption means in Africa in both historical and contemporary contexts, studying diverse luxury phenomena including fashion advertising, reality television, retail, gendered consumption, and gardening to re-center the discussion on existing contemporary luxury cultures across the continent.
After Testimony: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Holocaust Narrative for the Future collects sixteen essays written with the awareness that we are on the verge of a historical shift in our relation to the Third Reich’s programmatic genocide. Soon there will be no living survivors of the Holocaust, and therefore people not directly connected to the event must assume the full responsibility for representing it. The contributors believe that this shift has broad consequences for narratives of the Holocaust. By virtue of being “after” the accounts of survivors, storytellers must find their own ways of coming to terms with the historical reality that those testimonies have tried to communicate. The ethical and aesthetic dimensions of these stories will be especially crucial to their effectiveness. Guided by these principles and employing the tools of contemporary narrative theory, the contributors analyze a wide range of Holocaust narratives—fictional and nonfictional, literary and filmic—for the dual purpose of offering fresh insights and identifying issues and strategies likely to be significant in the future. In addition to the editors, the contributors are Daphna Erdinast-Vulcan, Sidra DeKoven Ezrahi, Anniken Greve, Jeremy Hawthorn, Marianne Hirsch, Irene Kacandes, Phillipe Mesnard, J. Hillis Miller, Michael Rothberg, Beatrice Sandberg, Anette H. Storeide, Anne Thelle, and Janet Walker.
In his Berlin lectures on fine art, Hegel argued that art involves a unique form of aesthetic intelligibility—the expression of a distinct collective self-understanding that develops through historical time. Hegel’s approach to art has been influential in a number of different contexts, but in a twist of historical irony Hegel would die just before the most radical artistic revolution in history: modernism. In After the Beautiful, Robert B. Pippin, looking at modernist paintings by artists such as Édouard Manet and Paul Cézanne through Hegel’s lens, does what Hegel never had the chance to do.
While Hegel could never engage modernist painting, he did have an understanding of modernity, and in it, art—he famously asserted—was “a thing of the past,” no longer an important vehicle of self-understanding and no longer an indispensable expression of human meaning. Pippin offers a sophisticated exploration of Hegel’s position and its implications. He also shows that had Hegel known how the social institutions of his day would ultimately fail to achieve his own version of genuine equality, a mutuality of recognition, he would have had to explore a different, new role for art in modernity. After laying this groundwork, Pippin goes on to illuminate the dimensions of Hegel’s aesthetic approach in the path-breaking works of Manet, the “grandfather of modernism,” drawing on art historians T. J. Clark and Michael Fried to do so. He concludes with a look at Cézanne, the “father of modernism,” this time as his works illuminate the relationship between Hegel and the philosopher who would challenge Hegel’s account of both modernity and art—Martin Heidegger.
Elegantly inter-weaving philosophy and art history, After the Beautiful is a stunning reassessment of the modernist project. It gets at the core of the significance of modernism itself and what it means in general for art to have a history. Ultimately, it is a testament, via Hegel, to the distinctive philosophical achievements of modernist art in the unsettled, tumultuous era we have inherited.
Reconsiders exceptionalism between aesthetics and politics
Here, Arne De Boever proposes the notion of aesthetic exceptionalism to describe the widespread belief that art and artists are exceptional. Against Aesthetic Exceptionalism challenges that belief by focusing on the sovereign artist as genius, as well as the original artwork as the foundation of the art market. Engaging with sculpture, conceptual artwork, and painting by emerging and established artists, De Boever proposes a worldly, democratic notion of unexceptional art as an antidote to the problems of aesthetic exceptionalism.
Forerunners: Ideas First
Short books of thought-in-process scholarship, where intense analysis, questioning, and speculation take the lead
One of the country's most enduringly successful composers, Aaron Copland created a distinctively American style and aesthetic in works for a diversity of genres and mediums, including ballet, opera, and film. Also active as a critic, mentor, advocate, and concert organizer, he played a decisive role in the growth of serious music in the Americas in the twentieth century.
In The American Stravinsky, Gayle Murchison closely analyzes selected works to discern the specific compositional techniques Copland used, and to understand the degree to which they derived from European models, particularly the influence of Igor Stravinsky. Murchison examines how Copland both Americanized these models and made them his own, thereby finding his own compositional voice. Murchison also discusses Copland's aesthetics of music and his ideas about its purpose and social function.
Our image of the Roman world is shaped by the writings of upper-class intellectuals. Yet most of the material evidence we have—art, architecture, household artifacts—belonged to artisans, merchants, and professionals. Roman culture as we have seen it with our own eyes is distinctly middle-class and requires a radically new framework of analysis.
In Another Aesthetics Is Possible Jennifer Ponce de León examines the roles that art can play in the collective labor of creating and defending another social reality. Focusing on artists and art collectives in Argentina, Mexico, and the United States, Ponce de León shows how experimental practices in the visual, literary, and performing arts have been influenced by and articulated with leftist movements and popular uprisings that have repudiated neoliberal capitalism and its violence. Whether enacting solidarity with Zapatista communities through an alternate reality game or using surrealist street theater to amplify the more radical strands of Argentina's human rights movement, these artists fuse their praxis with forms of political mobilization from direct-action tactics to economic resistance. Advancing an innovative transnational and transdisciplinary framework of analysis, Ponce de León proposes a materialist understanding of art and politics that brings to the fore the power of aesthetics to both compose and make visible a world beyond capitalism.
‘Race’ was essentially a construction of the 18th century, a means by which the Enlightenment could impose rational order on human variety. In this book, the art historian David Bindman argues that ideas of beauty were from the beginning inseparable from race, as Europeans judged the civility and aesthetic capacity of other races by their appearance. These judgements were combined with a conflict between those who wished to order humanity into separate races, and those who believed in a common humanity whose differences were due to climatic and geographical variations. Central to this debate was the work of Linnaeus and Buffon, but it was also driven by the writings of the German art historian J. J. Winckelmann, who argued for the supremacy of the ancient Greeks, the Swiss physiognomist J. C. Lavater, who believed that moral character could be deduced from the study of a person’s face, and by two scientists – the father and son Reinhold and Georg Forster – who had been on Captain Cook’s second voyage to the South Seas in 1772–5.During this time the philosopher Immanuel Kant attempted the first modern definition of race, a definition which was challenged by Georg Forster and the philosopher J. G. von Herder, sparking a lively but astonishingly little-known controversy that went on through the next decade and beyond. The 1770s also saw the beginnings of a more scientific yet also profoundly aesthetic approach to race in the work of Johann Friedrich Blumenbach and Pieter Camper, whose notorious classification of skulls was, despite their own liberalism, to become the basis of 19th-century ‘racial science’.Ape to Apollo provides a refreshing and original view of a highly contentious subject. It will be essential reading for anyone seeking the origins of today’s controversies over race and ideas of beauty.
Architecture, Means and Ends
Vittorio Gregotti University of Chicago Press, 2010 Library of Congress NA2543.T43G72513 2010 | Dewey Decimal 720.105
Vittorio Gregotti—the architect of Barcelona’s Olympic Stadium, Milan’s Arcimboldi Opera Theater, and Lisbon’s Centro Cultural de Belém, among many other noted constructions—is not only a designer of international repute but an acclaimed theorist and critic. Architecture, Means and Ends is his practical and imaginative reflection on the role of the technical aspects of architectural design, both as part of the larger process of innovation and in relation to the mythic opposition between vision and construction.
Interweaving the seemingly irreconcilable concerns of aesthetics, meaning, and construction, Architecture, Means and Ends reflects Gregotti’s overarching claim that buildings always have a symbolic, cultural content. In this book, he argues that by making symbolic expression a primary objective in the design of a project, the designer will produce a practical aesthetic as well as an ethical solution. Architecture, Means and Ends embraces that philosophy and will appeal to those, like Gregotti, working at the intersections of the history of design, art criticism, and architectural theory.
Ariel Dorfman: An Aesthetics of Hope is a critical introduction to the life and work of the internationally renowned writer, activist, and intellectual Ariel Dorfman. It is the first book about the author in English and the first in any language to address the full range of his writing to date. Consistently challenging assumptions and refusing preconceived categories, Dorfman has published in every major literary genre (novel, short story, poetry, drama); adopted literary forms including the picaresque, epic, noir, and theater of the absurd; and produced a vast amount of cultural criticism. His works are read as part of the Latin American literary canon, as examples of human rights literature, as meditations on exile and displacement, and within the tradition of bilingual, cross-cultural, and ethnic writing. Yet, as Sophia A. McClennen shows, when Dorfman’s extensive writings are considered as an integrated whole, a cohesive aesthetic emerges, an “aesthetics of hope” that foregrounds the arts as vital to our understanding of the world and our struggles to change it.
To illuminate Dorfman’s thematic concerns, McClennen chronicles the writer’s life, including his experiences working with Salvador Allende and his exile from Chile during the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet, and she provides a careful account of his literary and cultural influences. Tracing his literary career chronologically, McClennen interprets Dorfman’s less-known texts alongside his most well-known works, which include How to Read Donald Duck, the pioneering critique of Western ideology and media culture co-authored with Armand Mattelart, and the award-winning play Death and the Maiden. In addition, McClennen provides two valuable appendices: a chronology documenting important dates and events in Dorfman’s life, and a full bibliography of his work in English and in Spanish.
Aristotle On Poetics
Seth Benardete St. Augustine's Press, 2002 Library of Congress PN1040.A513 2002 | Dewey Decimal 808.2
Aristotle's much-translated On Poetics is the earliest and arguably the best treatment that we possess of tragedy as a literary form. Seth Benardete and Michael Davis have translated it anew with a view to rendering Aristotle’s text into English as precisely as possible. A literal translation has long been needed, for in order to excavate the argument of On Poetics one has to attend not simply to what is said on the surface but also to the various puzzles, questions, and peculiarities that emerge only on the level of how Aristotle says what he says and thereby leads one to revise and deepen one’s initial understanding of the intent of the argument. As On Poetics is about how tragedy ought to be composed, it should not be surprising that it turns out to be a rather artful piece of literature in its own right.
Benardete and Davis supplement their edition of On Poetics with extensive notes and appendices. They explain nuances of the original that elude translation, and they provide translations of passages found elsewhere in Aristotle’s works as well as in those of other ancient authors that prove useful in thinking through the argument of On Poetics both in terms of its treatment of tragedy and in terms of its broader concerns. By following the connections Aristotle plots between On Poetics and his other works, readers will be in a position to appreciate the centrality of this little book for his thought on the whole.
In an introduction that sketches the overall interpretation of On Poetics presented in his The Poetry of Philosophy (St. Augustine’s Press, 1999), Davis argues that, while On Poetics is certainly about tragedy, it has a further concern extending beyond poetry to the very structure of the human soul in its relation to what is, and that Aristotle reveals in the form of his argument the true character of human action.
Art And Engagement
Arnold Berleant Temple University Press, 1993 Library of Congress BH39.B3945 1991 | Dewey Decimal 111.85
In this book Arnold Berleant develops a bold alternative to the eighteenth-century aesthetic of disinterestedness. Centering on the notion of participatory engagement in the appreciation of art, he explores its appearance in art and in aesthetic perception, especially during the past century. Aesthetic engagement becomes a key, both on historical and theoretical grounds, to making intelligible our experiences with both contemporary and classical arts. In place of the traditional aesthetic that enjoins the appreciator to adopt a contemplative attitude, distancing the art object in order to ensure its removal from practical uses, Art and Engagement examines the ways in which art entices us into intimate participation in its workings.
Beginning with the historical and theoretical underpinnings of the idea of engagement, Berleant focuses on how engagement works as a force in different arts. Successive chapters pursue its influence in landscape painting, architecture and environmental design, literature, music, dance, and film.
Art and Engagement argues forcefully for the originality and power of aesthetic perception. Demolishing the conceptual barriers erected by the Western world’s limiting tradition, the book discloses the condition of engagement that has always been present when our aesthetic encounters have been most effective and suggests a new direction for aesthetic inquiry.
Art and Freedom
E. E. Sleinis University of Illinois Press, 2002 Library of Congress BH39.S5518 2003 | Dewey Decimal 701.17
What does a life with art offer that a life without art does not? Art and Freedom asserts that the fundamental point of the enterprise of art is the creation and delivery of values that are not singularly available in the nonart world.
E. E. Sleinis discusses visual art, literature, music, theater, and other art forms, arguing that as art both liberates and provides new points of focus and awareness, the art enterprise depends on a positive freeing from the nonart world, rather than on mere addition to it. Art and Freedom introduces a novel classificatory system for representation, expression, and formalist theories of art. Sleinis argues that a characteristic defect of contemporary theories of art is their neglect of the issue of value. Challenging these reductive, formalist notions of art, he emphasizes the potential, and the need, for art to evolve and make progress in ways comparable to the sciences, albeit on a very different model.
A smart blend of incisive commentary and illuminating philosophy, Art and Freedom provides a useful context for transforming a sometimes baffling medium into a means of fostering personal growth and creating and sharing values.
Art and Truth after Plato
Tom Rockmore University of Chicago Press, 2013 Library of Congress N72.7.R63 2013 | Dewey Decimal 701.17
Despite its foundational role in the history of philosophy, Plato’s famous argument that art does not have access to truth or knowledge is now rarely examined, in part because recent philosophers have assumed that Plato’s challenge was resolved long ago. In Art and Truth after Plato, Tom Rockmore argues that Plato has in fact never been satisfactorily answered—and to demonstrate that, he offers a comprehensive account of Plato’s influence through nearly the whole history of Western aesthetics.
Rockmore offers a cogent reading of the post-Platonic aesthetic tradition as a series of responses to Plato’s position, examining a stunning diversity of thinkers and ideas. He visits Aristotle’s Poetics, the medieval Christians, Kant’s Critique of Judgment, Hegel’s phenomenology, Marxism, social realism, Heidegger, and many other works and thinkers, ending with a powerful synthesis that lands on four central aesthetic arguments that philosophers have debated. More than a mere history of aesthetics, Art and Truth after Plato presents a fresh look at an ancient question, bringing it into contemporary relief.
When is an artistic work finished? When the copyeditor makes the final correction to a manuscript, when the composer writes the last note of a symphony, or when the painter puts the last brushstroke on the canvas? Perhaps it's even later, when someone reads the work, when an ensemble performs, or when the painting is hung on a gallery wall for viewing?
Art from Start to Finish gathers a unique group of contributors from the worlds of sociology, musicology, literature, and communications—many of them practicing artists in their own right—to discuss how artists from jazz musicians to painters work: how they coordinate their efforts, how they think, how they start, and, of course, how they finish their productions.
Specialists in the arts have much to say about the works themselves, which are often neglected by scholarsi n other fields. Art from Start to Finish takes a different tack by exploring the creative process itself and its social component. Any reader who makes art or has an interest in it will value this book.
The various lenses—ethical, political, sexual, religious, and so forth—through which we may view art are often instrumental in giving us an appreciation of the work. In Art in Context: Understanding Aesthetic Value, philosopher David Fenner presents a straightforward, accessible overview of the arguments about the importance of considering the relevant context in determining the true merit of a work of art.
Art in Context is a systematic, historically situated, and historically evidenced attempt to demonstrate the importance of considering contexts that will, in the vast majority of cases, increase the aesthetic experience. While focusing on distance, detachment, aestheticism, art for art’s sake, and formalism can at times be instructive and interesting, such approaches risk missing the larger and often central issue of the piece.
Based on the findings of philosophers and critics, and on artwork throughout
history, Art in Context provides a solid foundation for understanding and valuing a work of art in perspective as well as within the particular world in which it exists.
Art in Progress
Maarten Doorman Amsterdam University Press, 2004 Library of Congress BH39.D654 2003 | Dewey Decimal 100
In this challenging essay, Maarten Doorman argues that in art, belief in progress is still relevant, if not essential. The radical freedoms of postmodernism, he claims, have had a crippling effect on art, leaving it in danger of becoming meaningless. Art can only acquire meaning through context; the concept of progress, then, is ideal as the primary criterion for establishing that context. The history of art, in fact, can be seen as a process of constant accumulation, works of art commenting on one another and enriching one another's meanings. It is these complex interrelationships and the progress they create in both art and its observers that Doorman, in a display of great philosophical erudition, defends.
The critical literary world has spent a wealth of thought and words on the question of Hawthorne himself: Where does he stand in his works? In history? In literary tradition? In this major new study, G. R. Thompson recasts the "Hawthorne question" to show how authorial presence in the writer's works is as much a matter of art as the writing itself. The Hawthorne who emerges from this masterful analysis is not, as has been supposed, identical to the provincial narrator of his early tales; instead he is revealed to be the skillful manipulator of that narrative voice, an author at an ironic distance from the tales he tells. By focusing on the provincial tales as they were originally conceived--as a narrative cycle--Thompson is able to recover intertextual references that reveal Hawthorne's preoccupation with framing strategies and variations on authorial presence. The author shows how Hawthorne deliberately constructs sentimental narratives, only to deconstruct them. Thompson's analysis provides a new aesthetic context for understanding the whole shape of Hawthorne's career as well as the narrative, ethical, and historical issues within individual works. Revisionary in its view of one of America's greatest authors, The Art of Authorial Presence also offers invaluable insight into the problems of narratology and historiography, ethics and psychology, romanticism and idealism, and the cultural myths of America.
In this account of how the novel reorients philosophy toward the meaning of existence, Yi-Ping Ong shows that the existentialists discovered a radical way of thinking about the relation between the form of the novel and the nature of self-knowledge, freedom, and the world. At stake are the conditions under which knowledge of existence is possible.
The Art of Mechanical Reproduction presents a striking new approach to how traditional art mediums—painting, sculpture, and drawing—changed in the twentieth century in response to photography, film, and other technologies. Countering the modernist view that the medium provides advanced art with “resistance” against technological pressures, Tamara Trodd argues that we should view art and its practices as imaginatively responding to the potential that artists glimpsed in mechanical reproduction, putting art into dialogue with the commercial cultures of its time.
The Art of Mechanical Reproduction weaves a rich history of the experimental networks in which artists as diverse as Paul Klee, Hans Bellmer, Ellsworth Kelly, Robert Smithson, Gerhard Richter, Chris Marker, and Tacita Dean have worked, and it shows for the first time how extensively technological innovations of the moment have affected their work. Original and broad-ranging, The Art of Mechanical Reproduction challenges some of the most respected and entrenched criticism of the past several decades—and allows us to think about these artists anew.
People all over the world make art and take pleasure in it, and they have done so for millennia. But acknowledging that art is a universal part of human experience leads us to some big questions: Why does it exist? Why do we enjoy it? And how do the world’s different art traditions relate to art and to each other?
Art Without Borders is an extraordinary exploration of those questions, a profound and personal meditation on the human hunger for art and a dazzling synthesis of the whole range of inquiry into its significance. Esteemed thinker Ben-Ami Scharfstein’s encyclopedic erudition is here brought to bear on the full breadth of the world of art. He draws on neuroscience and psychology to understand the way we both perceive and conceive of art, including its resistance to verbal exposition. Through examples of work by Indian, Chinese, European, African, and Australianartists, Art Without Borders probes the distinction between accepting a tradition and defying it through innovation, which leads to a consideration of the notion of artistic genius. Continuing in this comparative vein, Scharfstein examines the mutual influence of European and non-European artists. Then, through a comprehensive evaluation of the world’s major art cultures, he shows how all of these individual traditions are gradually, but haltingly, conjoining into a single current of universal art. Finally, he concludes by looking at the ways empathy and intuition can allow members of one culture to appreciate the art of another.
Lucid, learned, and incomparably rich in thought and detail, Art Without Borders is a monumental accomplishment, on par with the artistic achievements Scharfstein writes about so lovingly in its pages.
Offers a philosophical perspective on the nature and value of writing a memoir.
Artful Truths offers a concise guide to the fundamental philosophical questions that arise when writing a literary work about your own life. Bringing a philosopher’s perspective to a general audience, Helena de Bres addresses what a memoir is, how the genre relates to fiction, memoirists’ responsibilities to their readers and subjects, and the question of why to write a memoir at all. Along the way, she delves into a wide range of philosophical issues, including the nature of the self, the limits of knowledge, the idea of truth, the obligations of friendship, the relationship between morality and art, and the question of what makes a life meaningful.
Written in a clear and conversational style, it offers a resource for those who write, teach, and study memoirs, as well as those who love to read them. With a combination of literary and philosophical knowledge, de Bres takes the many challenges directed at memoirists seriously, while ultimately standing in defense of a genre that, for all its perplexities—and maybe partly because of them—continually proves to be both beloved and valuable.
Artificial Mythologies was first published in 1997. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
Cultural critics teach us that myths are artificial. Cultural innovators use the artificial to make something new. In this exhilarating guide, Craig J. Saper takes us on an eye-opening tour of the process of cultural invention-willfully entertaining foolish, absurd, even fake, solutions as a way of reaching new perspectives on cultural problems. Saper deploys this method to reveal unsuspected connections among major cultural issues, such as urban decay, the dangers of television's power, family values, and conservative criticism of higher education.
The model Saper uses builds on the later works of the revered French cultural critic Roland Barthes. These works, Saper argues, suggest poignant, playful, and productive ways of engaging dominant methodologies and mythologies. Artificial Mythologies shows us how, by allowing the artificial-our received ideas, common responses, and cultural mythologies-full play, we can arrive at provocative new solutions. The book demonstrates that the very conceptions of media and sociocultural issues that stymie innovation can be made to serve the cause of invention.
Craig J. Saper is assistant professor in the Department of English at the University of Pennsylvania.
“The fate of our times is characterized by rationalization and intellectualization and, above all, by ‘the disenchantment of the world.’” Max Weber’s statement remains a dominant interpretation of the modern condition: the increasing capabilities of knowledge and science have banished mysteries, leaving a world that can be mastered technically and intellectually. And though this idea seems empowering, many people have become disenchanted with modern disenchantment. Using intimate encounters with works of art to explore disenchantment and the possibilities of re-enchantment, Arts of Wonder addresses questions about the nature of humanity, the world, and God in the wake of Weber’s diagnosis of modernity.
Jeffrey L. Kosky focuses on a handful of artists—Walter De Maria, Diller + Scofidio, James Turrell, and Andy Goldsworthy—to show how they introduce spaces hospitable to mystery and wonder, redemption and revelation, and transcendence and creation. What might be thought of as religious longings, he argues, are crucial aspects of enchanting secularity when developed through encounters with these works of art. Developing a model of religion that might be significant to secular culture, Kosky shows how this model can be employed to deepen interpretation of the art we usually view as representing secular modernity. A thoughtful dialogue between philosophy and art, Arts of Wonder will catch the eye of readers of art and religion, philosophy of religion, and art criticism.
In this bold interdisciplinary work, Geoffrey Galt Harpham argues that asceticism has played a major role in shaping Western ideas of the body, writing, ethics, and aesthetics. He suggests that we consider the ascetic as "the 'cultural' element in culture," and presents a close analysis of works by Athanasius, Augustine, Matthias, Grünewald, Nietzsche, Foucault, and other thinkers as proof of the extent of asceticism's resources. Harpham demonstrates the usefulness of his findings by deriving from asceticism a "discourse of resistance," a code of interpretation ultimately more generous and humane than those currently available to us.
In Autonomy Nicholas Brown theorizes the historical and theoretical argument for art's autonomy from its acknowledged character as a commodity. Refusing the position that the distinction between art and the commodity has collapsed, Brown demonstrates how art can, in confronting its material determinations, suspend the logic of capital by demanding interpretive attention. He applies his readings of Marx, Hegel, Adorno, and Jameson to a range of literature, photography, music, television, and sculpture, from Cindy Sherman's photography and the novels of Ben Lerner and Jennifer Egan to The Wire and the music of the White Stripes. He demonstrates that through their attention and commitment to form, such artists turn aside the determination posed by the demand of the market, thereby defeating the foreclosure of meaning entailed in commodification. In so doing, he offers a new theory of art that prompts a rethinking of the relationship between art, critical theory, and capitalism.