- Hardcover: 626 pages
- Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 1 edition (December 31, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0521841801
- ISBN-13: 978-0521841801
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.3 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,331,451 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Origins of Aesthetic Thought in Ancient Greece: Matter, Sensation, and Experience 1st Edition
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"... a lengthy, learned, and bold book ... tremendously stimulating ...'
Jane Heath, The Expository Times
This book traces the origins of aesthetic thought and inquiry across a range of art forms as they evolved from before Homer down to the fourth century and then into later antiquity. It argues that Greek aesthetics originated in an attention to the senses and to matter rather than formalism and idealism.
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His work here is an antidote to modern aestheticians who frequently think of the field primarily in modern terms from Baumgarten forward. The tremendously rich origins of writing and thinking about art that was part of the flowering of philosophy in ancient Greece is given a treatment unlike any other I've seen. The only one that comes to mind is the magisterial first volume of the three volume "History of Aesthetics" by Tatarkiewicz, which does an admirable job of presenting the Presocratic, Hellenistic and related periods in early aesthetics. Mr. Porter's work seems more interpretive than the more straighforward historical presentation by Tatarkiewicz.
And appropriate to subject, the book emphasizes the dominant aspect of Greek philosophy -- its sensuousness, its materiality -- its focus on real things, rather than on the airy unreal ideas of the idealists, especially Plato.
Another excellent aspect of this work is that it is all-inclusive of all the arts: visual arts, poetry, theater, architecture, music. This wide coverage adds to the comprehensive quality of this work.
For all interested in aesthetics and art theory this is a great restorative work that is an antidote to the narrow often unreal debates in contemporary aesthetics.