Aesthetics beyond essay philosophical

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Robert Ross’s labor of love, The Complete Works of Oscar Wilde , was published in London by Methuen in 1908. In December of that year, this achievement, monumental in itself, was celebrated with an elaborate dinner for Ross at the Ritz (Figs. 5 and 6). Over one hundred of Wilde’s friends, publishers and admirers were in attendance to celebrate Ross’s success. In a speech to the gathering, Ross thanked everyone present for their role in “giving back to Oscar Wilde’s children the laurels of their distinguished father untarnished save by tears.” At the end of his speech, Ross dropped an unexpected thanks into the mix: an anonymous donor (later identified as Helen Carew) had recently sent him a cheque for £2000, “to place a suitable monument to Oscar Wilde at Père-Lachaise.” Ross continued:

During the first half of the twentieth century, a significant shift to general aesthetic theory took place which attempted to apply aesthetic theory between various forms of art, including the literary arts and the visual arts, to each other. This resulted in the rise of the New Criticism school and debate concerning the intentional fallacy . At issue was the question of whether the aesthetic intentions of the artist in creating the work of art, whatever its specific form, should be associated with the criticism and evaluation of the final product of the work of art, or, if the work of art should be evaluated on its own merits independent of the intentions of the artist.

Edward Bullough, writing in 1912, would have called “disinterested attention” a “distanced” attitude, but he used this latter term to generate a much fuller and more detailed appreciation of the whole spectrum of attitudes which might be taken to artworks. The spectrum stretched from people who “over-distance” to people who “under-distance.” People who over-distance are, for instance, critics who merely look at the technicalities and craftwork of a production, missing any emotional involvement with what it is about. Bullough contrasted this attitude with what he called “under-distancing,” where one might get too gripped by the content. The country yokel who jumps upon the stage to save the heroine, and the jealous husband who sees himself as Othello smothering his wife, are missing the fact that the play is an illusion, a fiction, just make-believe. Bullough thought there was, instead, an ideal mid-point between his two extremes, thereby solving his “antinomy of distance” by deciding there should be the least possible distance without its disappearance.

Aesthetics beyond essay philosophical

aesthetics beyond essay philosophical

Edward Bullough, writing in 1912, would have called “disinterested attention” a “distanced” attitude, but he used this latter term to generate a much fuller and more detailed appreciation of the whole spectrum of attitudes which might be taken to artworks. The spectrum stretched from people who “over-distance” to people who “under-distance.” People who over-distance are, for instance, critics who merely look at the technicalities and craftwork of a production, missing any emotional involvement with what it is about. Bullough contrasted this attitude with what he called “under-distancing,” where one might get too gripped by the content. The country yokel who jumps upon the stage to save the heroine, and the jealous husband who sees himself as Othello smothering his wife, are missing the fact that the play is an illusion, a fiction, just make-believe. Bullough thought there was, instead, an ideal mid-point between his two extremes, thereby solving his “antinomy of distance” by deciding there should be the least possible distance without its disappearance.

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