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Panaesthetics: On the Unity and Diversity of the Arts (The Anthony Hecht Lectures in the Humanities Series) Hardcover – March 25, 2014

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Editorial Reviews


“This marvelous book—an instant classic—excites, inspires, provokes, and (when provocation does not suit) gently coaxes the reader into accepting its claims. Albright has obviously mulled over the relationships among the literary, visual, and musical arts for many years, yet the result of his meditation is surprisingly fresh.”—Simon Morrison, Princeton University
(Simon Morrison)

“With astonishing range, quicksilver riffs, and aphorisms to die for, Daniel Albright creates nothing less than a pagan poetics for the modern age.  Panaesthetics is Pan’s aesthetic, an endlessly musical sensibility sublimely at home in a world where Art is everything and everything is Art.”— Scott Burnham, author of Mozart's Grace
(Scott Burnham)

“In this dazzlingly wide-ranging book, Daniel Albright explores the specificities of literature, painting, and music. But far from seeing the arts as locked into their differences, he mounts a brilliant, intricate argument for their mutual translatability and ultimate unity.”— Jahan Ramazani, author of Poetry and Its Others: News, Prayer, Song, and the Dialogue of Genres
(Jahan Ramazani)

“In exploring whether there are many different arts, or if there is one that variously takes different forms, Daniel Albright brilliantly shows how the coming-together and splitting-asunder of artistic media is one of the great stories in the intellectual history of the West.”—Pamela Rosenberg, American Academy in Berlin
(Pamela Rosenberg)

About the Author

Daniel Albright is the Ernest Bernbaum Professor of Literature at Harvard University, and he teaches in the Comparative Literature, English, and Music departments. He is the author of sixteen previous books. He lives in Cambridge, MA.

More About the Author

I teach in the Music Department as well as the English and Comparative Literature Departments of Harvard University.  I'm particularly interested in the ways in which artistic media-poetry, music, painting-interact with one another; in 2000, my book Untwisting the Serpent: Music, Literature, and the Visual Arts won the Susanne M. Glasscock Humanities Book Prize for Interdisciplinary Scholarship.  At Harvard I teach two Core Curriculum courses: the first called Putting Modernism Together, which studies (for example) Impressionism through works by Monet, Debussy, and Joseph Conrad, or Surrealism through works by Apollinaire, Stravinsky, and Magritte; the second is The History of the English Language. I also teach courses on opera, drama, Victorian and Modernist poetry and fiction, and the relation of physics to literature.

I enjoy scuba diving and cooking simple French recipes, though not at the same time. I love travel, and on my recent sabbatical year (2012-2013), in addition to being a fellow at the American Academy in Berlin, I managed to chalk up travels to 19 different countries, giving a lecture series in Shanghai, and talks in Seoul, Berlin, Heidelberg, as well as on a ship full of Harvard Alumni somewhere off the coast of Scotland!

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