Artistic Detachment in Japan and the West: Psychic Distance in Comparative Aesthetics

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University of Hawaii Press, 2001 - Philosophy - 294 pages

Artistic Detachment in Japan and the West takes up the notion of artistic detachment, or psychic distance, as an intercultural motif for East-West comparative aesthetics. The work begins with an overview of aesthetic theory in the West from the eighteenth-century empiricists to contemporary aesthetics and concludes with a survey of various critiques of psychic distance. Throughout, the author takes a highly innovative approach by juxtaposing Western aesthetic theory against Eastern (primarily Japanese) aesthetic theory.

Weaving between cultures and time periods, the author focuses on a remarkably wide range of theories: in the West, the Kantian notion of disinterested contemplation, Heidegger's Gelassenheit, semiotics, and pragmatism; in Japan, Zeami's notion of riken no ken, the Kyoto School's intepretation of nothingness, D. T. Suzuki's analysis of the function of no-mind, and the writings of Kuki Shuzo on Buddhist detachment. Portrait of the artist fiction by such writers as Henry James, James Joyce, Mori Ogai, and Natsume Soseki demonstrates how the main theme of detachment is expressed in literary traditions. The role of sympathy or pragmatism in relation to disinterest is examined, suggesting conflicts within or challenges to the notion of detachment.

Researchers and students in Eastern and Western areas of study, including philosophers and religionists, as well as literary and cultural critics, will deem this work an invaluable contribution to cross-cultural philosophy and literary studies.

 

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Contents

Artistic Detachment in Western Aesthetics
27
Artistic Detachment in Japanese Aesthetics
99
An EastWest Phenomenology of the Aesthetic Attitude
170
Psychic Distance in Literature East and West
197
Psychic Distance in Modern Western Literature
199
Psychic Distance in Modern Japanese Literature
214
Glossary
281
References
283
Index of Names
291
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