From Publishers Weekly
Can the feeling one experiences when viewing a Rembrandt or while drinking a perfect glass of wine be put into words, analyzed and quantified? Oxford University professor Butler tries to do just that in this philosophically minded book. "Our pleasurable relationships to works of art tend to be incorrigibly promiscuous, despite frequent attempts by puritans to interfere," Butler writes. But his own book is so laden with convoluted academic prose that the sensation of pleasure itself largely disappearsc.f. "Those philosophers were not wrong who thought of pleasure as peculiarly specific to its object; and it can be the greater (and the better articulated) the more we appreciate the individuality of that object." Too biased to please academics, too lacking in research to interest scientists and too stiff to excite lay readers, Butlers book makes a concentrated attempt to pin down our most ephemeral emotions, but they slip away from its grasp.
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About the Author
is Professor of English Language and Literature at the University of Oxford and Student of Christ Church. His books include Early Modernism: Literature, Music and Painting in Europe, 1900-1916
and Post-Modernism: A Very Short Introduction