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The Radical Aesthetic 1st Edition

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0631220534
ISBN-10: 0631220534
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Editorial Reviews

Book Description

A spirited & severe critique of the turn to an anti-aesthetic in writing including examples from: Blake & Wordsworth to Clint Eastwood.

From the Back Cover

This ground-breaking new work offers a spirited and severe critique of the turn to an anti-aesthetic in theoretical writing and asserts that it has now become an intellectual necessity to rethink the aesthetic and remake aesthetic discourse.

Over the past two decades, the most influential cultural and literary theorists appear to have agreed that the category of the aesthetic, as founded in the thought of Kant and Hegel, is up for deconstruction. Marxists, cultural materialists, poststructuralists and deconstructive psychoanalysts have converged in a "mission of cultural eugenics". These theorists have, however, failed to address the democratic and radical potential of aesthetic discourse. Matters concerning the politics of beauty and the functions of affect and the emotions in contemporary culture have been left to the reactionaries, often with disastrous consequences, as evidenced in the narrow instrumentalism of current educational policies.

In stark opposition to this anti-aesthetic project, Isobel Armstrong evolves a new poetics, forging an alternative aesthetic discourse by remaking its theoretical base, ousting Narcissus in favor of Echo. She discusses a wide range of theorists and philosophers, including Adorno, Bourdieu, Dewey, Eagleton, Freud, Hegel, Kant, Kristeva, Rose, Vygotsky, and Winnicott, and uses specific literary and other artistic examples, from Blake and Wordsworth to Antony Gormley and Clint Eastwood, to illustrate her arguments.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 292 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell; 1 edition (October 19, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0631220534
  • ISBN-13: 978-0631220534
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 0.6 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,295,097 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
Even though I do not agree with everything Armstrong says, this is one of the most important and succesful attempts to reflect philosophically about emotions in art (my own research field) from a contemporary theory perpective (critical theory, poststructuralism, feminism).
She may not be the first one to make the oppositions between emotions and cognition as well as subject and object collapse, but because she is so conscious of the dialectical implications, this is a pure pleasure to read. She is a brilliant writer, personal and objective at the same time, rethorically following the theoretical idea.
Her ultimate goal is to save the field of the aesthetics in a historical situation where the anti-aesthetic (the reduction of art to something else) is the dominating paradigm. She does that by advancing theory rather than by restoring an old view on art, and I love her for it!
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Absolutely brilliant.
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