Pleasure and the Arts: Enjoying Literature, Painting, and Music

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Oxford University Press, 2005 - Art - 265 pages
How do the arts give us pleasure? Covering a very wide range of artistic works, from Auden to David Lynch, Rembrandt to Edward Weston, and Richard Strauss to Keith Jarrett, Pleasure and the Arts offers us an explanation of our enjoyable emotional engagements with literature, music, and painting. The arts direct us to intimate and particularized relationships, with the people represented in the works, or with those we imagine produced them. When we listen to music, look at a purely abstract painting, or drink a glass of wine, can we enjoy the experience without verbalizing our response? Do our interpretative assumptions, our awareness of technique, and our attitudes to fantasy, get in the way of our appreciation of art, or enhance it? Examining these questions and more, we discover how curiosity drives us to enjoy narratives, ordinary jokes, metaphors, and modernist epiphanies, and how narrative in all the arts can order and provoke intense enjoyment. Pleasurable in its own right, Pleasure and the Arts presents a sparkling explanation of the enduring interest of artistic expression.

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Pleasure and the arts: enjoying literature, painting, and music

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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 ... Read full review


Jokes Poems Understanding I
Emotions and Narrative
Enjoying Abstractions
Appreciation Technique
Specificity Fantasy and Critique
Appendix on Beauty

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