The essays in this collection are concerned with the philosophical problems that arise in connection with the understanding and evaluation of literature - such problems as the relationship between the work and the author (authorial intention), between the work and the world (reference and truth), the definition of a literary work, and the nature of literary theory itself. Professor Olsen attacks many of the orthodoxies of modern literary theory, in particular the enterprise to build a comprehensive systematic literary theory. His (...) own work is informed by a consistent perspective: the assumption that literature is a social institution governed by conventions, and that answers to problems of interpretation and appreciation can be found only through an analysis of these conventions. This is an important book for scholars and students of literary theory and philosophy, especially for those who see an ever-increasing cross-fertilization between the two disciplines. (shrink)
In this pioneering book, noted international scholars explore the limits and definitions of knowing, thinking, and communicating meaning as we move into the 21st century. Coming from disciplines as diverse as anthropology, philosophy, literature, aesthetics, and art practice, together they work towards reconceiving the boundaries between entrenched domains of knowledge to great effect.
From Plato to Goodman, many philosophers have addressed problems in aesthetics and the philosophy of art. Nevertheless the central issues here have remained ill-defined. In this book, A. L. Cothey overcomes this difficulty by giving a systematic account of the leading philosophical ideas about art and aesthetics from ancient times to the present day. In The Nature of Art , Cothey concludes that the best-known philosophical theories of art fail to satisfy either the pragmatic or the aesthetic criteria required to (...) explain our experience of art. Introducing topics from areas of philosophy such as semantics, theories of cognition and the ethical nature of pleasure and enjoyment, Cothey develops a new theory explaining aesthetic satisfaction, artistic ability and why aesthetic experiences escape articulation. The Nature of Art will force readers to re-examine their views on art, and prove a significant contribution to the new debate onaesthetics. (shrink)
This book is about aesthetic processes and play from the perspectives of psychologists, philosophers, and semiologists. They explore the underlying processes from many viewpoints, including the prehistoric roots of language and art; the historical evolution of artistic, literary, and musical styles; the structure of artworks from both gestalt and semiotic perspectives; the biological and psychological processes underlying production and appreciation; the appeal of sentimental art; emotional responses to art and other aesthetic forms; personality in relation to artistic style; the testing (...) and measurement of art-related skills; the relations between social life and literary understanding; literature in relation to media; as well as neurobiological, developmental and individual growth perspectives on play activity. (shrink)
Explanation and Value in the Arts offers penetrating studies by art historians, literary theorists, and philosophers, of issues central to explaining works of literature and painting. The first chapters look at the sources of interest in the fine arts and point to the intimate relation between aesthetic and other values. The next contributions develop the interaction between value and explanation in the study of the arts, including considerations of the nature of creativity and the principles for the explanations of works. (...) A final section takes up questions of the role of ideology and the determining role of power. (shrink)
Musical Perceptions is a much-needed text that introduces students of both music and psychology to the study of music perception and cognition. Because the book aims to foster a closer interaction between research in the science and the art of music, both psychologists and musicians contribute chapters on a wide range of topics, including the philosophy of music; research in musical performance; perception of melody, tonality, and rhythm; pedagogical issues; language and music; and neural networks. With their unique ability to (...) introduce musical and psychological concepts to first-time students in the area, Rita Aiello and John Sloboda have edited a volume that will be popular with undergraduate and graduate students taking courses in the perception, psychology, and aesthetics of music. They have prefaced each chapter with an introduction to the chapter's research. This book will also be useful to cognitive and physiological psychologists and music theorists interested in music perception. (shrink)
Sleepy Hollow : fearful pleasures and the nightmare of history -- Lacan and the beyond of language : from art to ethics -- Brown's Wieland and the ethical circumscription of death -- Heideggerian ethics : the voice of art and the call to being -- Levinas: art and the transcendence of solitude -- Endings : ethics, enigma, and address in The marble faun -- Riven : Badiou's ethical subject and the event of art as trauma.
A characteristic feature of Wagnerian and post-Wagnerian opera is the tendency to link scenes with numerous and often surprisingly lengthy orchestral interludes, frequently performed with the curtain closed. Often taken for granted or treated as a filler by audiences and critics, these interludes can take on very prominent roles, representing dream sequences, journeys and sexual encounters, and in some cases becoming a highlight of the opera. Christopher Morris investigates the implications of these important but strangely overlooked passages. Combining close readings (...) of individual musical texts with an investigation of the critical discourse surrounding the operas, Morris shows how the interludes shed light not only on the representational and narrative capacities of the orchestra, but also on the supposed 'absolute' realm of instrumental music, a concept to which many critics appealed when they associated the interludes with 'purely musical' and 'symphonic' qualities. (shrink)
Why do Americans, and so often, American writers, profess moral sentiments and yet write so little in the traditionally "moralistic" genres of maxim and fable? What is the relation between "moral" concerns and literary theory? Can any sort of morality survive the supposed nihilism of deconstruction? Jefferson Humphries undertakes a discussion of questions like these through a comparative reading of the ways in which moral issues surface in French and American literature. Humphries takes issue with the "amoral" view of deconstruction (...) espoused by many of its detractors, arguing that the debate between the theory's advocates and opponents comes down to two opposing literary and moral traditions. While the American tradition views morality as a rigid system capable of being enforced by injunctions along the lines of "Thou shalt" and "Thou shalt not," the French tradition conceives of morality as a function of a relentless and unsentimental pursuit of truth, and finally, an admission that "truth" is not a static thing, but rather an ongoing process of rigorous thought. (shrink)
The eight essays and three responses collected in Rethinking Borders were commissioned from an exciting range of leading younger writers, artists and intellectuals whose work has raised significant questions about the border cultures in ...
Most "art and science" books focus on the science of perspective or the psychology of perception. Hidden Harmony does not. Instead, the book addresses the surprising common ground between physics and art from a novel and personal perspective. Viewing the two disciplines as creative processes, J. R. Leibowitz supplements existing and original research with illustrations to demonstrate that physics and art share guiding aesthetics and compositional demands and to show how each speaks meaningfully to the other. Leibowitz widens our experience (...) and understanding of both domains by exploring how concepts such as balance and re-balance, coherence and unity, and symmetry and "broken" symmetry affect and are affected by artistic vision and scientific principle. He reveals shared themes and understandings in each field and adroitly illustrates the parallels between the dabs of color and layers of images in a work of art and the particles of matter and packets of energy that compose the observable, physical world. Featuring examples of art images and complementary examples of physics concepts, this contemplative work helps us see art and physics as artists and physicists do. (shrink)
Art has the power to affect our thinking, changing not only the way we view and interact with the world but also how we create it. In Art in Mind , Ernst van Alphen probes this idea of art as a commanding force with the capacity to shape our intellect and intervene in our lives. Rather than interpreting art as merely a reflection of our social experience or a product of history, van Alphen here argues that art is a historical (...) agent, or a cultural creator, that propels thought and experience forward. Examining a broad range of works, van Alphen—a renowned art historian and cultural theorist—demonstrates how art serves a socially constructive function by actually experimenting with the parameters of thought. Employing work from artists as diverse as Picasso, Watteau, Francis Bacon, Marlene Dumas, and Matthew Barney, he shows how art confronts its viewers with the "pain points" of cultural experience-genocide, sexuality, diaspora, and transcultural identity-and thereby transforms the ways in which human existence is conceived. Van Alphen analyzes how art visually "thinks" about these difficult cultural issues, tapping into an understudied interpretation of art as the realm where ideas and values are actively created, given form, and mobilized. In this way, van Alphen's book is a work of art in itself as it educates us in a new mode of thought that will forge equally new approaches and responses to the world. (shrink)
Since the beginning of the eighteenth century the philosophy of art has been engaged on the project of trying to find out what the fine arts have in common and, thus, how they might be defined. Peter Kivy's purpose in this accessible and lucid book is to trace the history of that enterprise and argue that the definitional project has been unsuccessful. He offers a fruitful change of strategy: instead of engaging in an obsessive quest for sameness, let us explore (...) the differences between the arts. He presents five case studies, three from literature, two from music. With its combination of historical and analytic approaches this is a book for a wide range of readers in philosophy, literary studies, music, and non-academic readers with interests in the arts. (shrink)
Can we ever claim to understand a work of art or be objective about it? Why have cultures thought it important to separate out a group of objects and call them art? What does aesthetics contribute to our understanding of the natural landscape? Are the concepts of art and the aesthetic elitist? Addressing these and other issues in aesthetics, this important new Oxford Reader includes articles by authors ranging from Aristotle and Xie-He to Jun'ichiro Tanizaki, Michael Baxandall, and Susan Sontag. (...) It focuses on why art and a variety of aesthetics matter to us, and on how perceivers participate in and contribute to the experience of appreciating a work of art. With its multicultural and multidisciplinary scope, this volume shows how anthropology, art history, Chinese theories of painting, and other perspectives both enrich and provide alternatives to classic philosophical accounts of art and the aesthetic. (shrink)
Musing in Florence in June of 1858, Nathaniel Hawthorne said of himself, "I am sensible that a process is going on--and has been, ever since I came to Italy--that puts me in a state to see pictures with less toil, and more pleasure, and makes me more fastidious, yet more sensible of beauty where I saw none before." This is a book devoted to the reflective analysis of the enterprise in which many of us, like Hawthorne, find ourselves engaged: the (...) cultivation of our taste. Charles Wegener writes for and from the standpoint of thoughtful amateurs, those who, loving the beautiful and the sublime, wish to become more fully the sort of person to whom these goods reliably disclose themselves. Here traditional aesthetic analysis is redirected to a search for the norms that tell us how we use our intelligence, our imagination, and our senses in becoming "more fastidious, yet more sensible," exploring such concepts as disinterestedness, catholicity, communicability, austerity, objectivity, and authority. Finally, Wegener discusses questions about the relation of our aesthetic lives to other activities, norms, and human goods, arguing that taste, far from being a mere grace or luxury, is a necessary expression of that freedom which is at once the fruit and the condition of all culture. "This book should be required reading for anyone concerned with aesthetic education, for this is exactly what it is about, and I have come across no more searching investigation of the topic."--Hugo Meynell, Journal of Aesthetic Education "Using the analysis of aesthetic experience found in Kant's Critique of Judgment as a point of departure, Wegener has written a remarkably intelligent book which presents meaningful encounter with art as the "discipline of taste and feeling. The book reads not simply as an exposition but as a conversation in which the author thoughtfully and meticulously explores with the reader those norms that structure and define aesthetic experience. . . . The book occupies an important place in contemporary aesthetic discussion."--M. Feder-Marcus, Choice. (shrink)
Wolfgang Welsch examines global aestheticization phenomena, probes the relationship of aesthetics and ethics, and considers the broad relevance of aesthetics for contemporary thinking. He argues that modes of thought familiar from the aesthetic realm comprise fundamental paradigms for understanding todayÆs reality. The implications for specific and everyday issues are demonstrated in studies of architecture, advertising, the Internet, and our perception of the life world. Surgically precise, innovative, and, above all, relevant, this book is an essential resource, providing the analysis of (...) contemporary culture with philosophical bite. Aesthetics is to transcend itself, address the whole realm of aethesis, and hence enable orientation in the contemporary condition. Undoing aesthetics means releasing it from old cultural binds and giving it new ties with the future. (shrink)
Willemen has contributed to the development of film theory and cultural studies over the past 20 years. This is a collection of his classic, provocative essays, covering issues such as pornography and melodrama, Third Cinema, questions of national identity, and theories of postmodernism.
Richard Harland provides a lucid account of all the major movements in literary theory up to the late 1960s. In a lucid and accessible style, he unfolds a comprehensive "story" of literary theory in all its manifestations. Because contemporary literary theory depends heavily upon European thinkers, the book has an international focus, and its coverage extends from philosophers to social theorists to linguists. Harland explains the essential principles of each theoretical position, looking behind particular critical judgments and interpretations in order (...) to convey a core grasp of underlying positions. (shrink)