The Aesthetics of Ruins

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Rodopi, 2004 - Philosophy - 538 pages
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This book constructs a theory of ruins that celebrates their vitality and unity in aesthetic experience. Its argument draws upon over 100 illustrations prepared in 40 countries. Ruins flourish as matter, form, function, incongruity, site, and symbol. Ruin underlies cultural values in cinema, literature, and philosophy. Finally, ruin guides meditations upon our mortality and endangered world.
 

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Contents

ONE The Ruin as Matter
1
TWO The Ruin as Form
15
THREE The Ruin as Function
33
FOUR The Ruin as Incongruity
51
FIVE The Ruin as Site
77
SIX The Ruin as Symbol
107
NINETEEN Meditations on Humanity Self and
153
SEVEN The Ruin as Aesthetic Experience
155
29 Language
384
Grin and Bear It
385
Museum of Ruins
386
World as Ruins
387
The Redemption
396
Death
405
The Self
415
The Meaning of Existence
425

St Andrews
173
NINE Building with Ruin
185
TEN Nature as Ruin
201
ELEVEN Sculpture and Other Visual Arts as Ruin
221
TWELVE Cinema and Television as Ruin
237
THIRTEEN Literature as Ruin
253
FOURTEEN Philosophy as Ruin
261
FIFTEEN The Terminology of Ruin
285
SIXTEEN Theories of Ruin
315
SEVENTEEN The Ruining Eyeand Other Senses
335
EIGHTEEN Fragments of a Chapter on Ruin
355
Ruinations
356
Battlefields
358
Psychology of Ruins
359
Nostalgia
362
9 Time
363
Ruins Put to Use
364
People in the Ruins
369
Domestic Ruins
370
A Ruin No Longer a Ruin?
372
Future Ruins
375
19 Chance Ruins
376
OnSite
378
Walls
379
SunBurst
381
Sound and Light
382
Ruin Music
383
World Destruction
432
Fond Farewell
440
Works Cited
449
Chronology of Ruin
453
Common Era CE
454
Uncommon Error UE
460
Appendix Bibliographical Essay on the Literature and Imagery of Ruin
461
Art History
465
Individual Artists
469
Literary History
470
History of Culture
472
Archaeology
473
Individual Ruins
476
Travel Literature
478
9 Imaginative Literature
479
Guidebooks and Souvenir Books
481
Art of Photography
482
Architecture
485
History of Gardens
487
War Ruins
488
RuinArt Creations
489
Philosophy
490
19 Miscellaneous
492
About the Author
493
Index
495
Copyright

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About the author (2004)

Robert Ginsberg was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1937. From 1952 to 1960, he studied at the University of Chicago, chiefly in aesthetics (B.A., M.A.). Assisted by Fulbright grants, he lived in Paris from 1960 to 1963, continuing his explorations in aesthetics at the Sorbonne. He did additional studies in Sweden, the Netherlands Institute for Art History in The Hague, and the University of Vienna. He returned to America to complete a Ph.D. in philosophy in Philadelphia at the University of Pennsylvania (1966). Ginsberg has engaged in study missions to Italy (classics), Israel (peace studies), and China (Confucianism). In the United States, he pursued post-doctoral studies at The Johns Hopkins University (film), University of California at Irvine (political philosophy), Brandeis University (classics), the Folger Institute in Washington (history of philosophy), and Georgetown University (classics). Research grants have taken him to Norway, the United Kingdom, Spain, Greece, Hungary, and Germany. Ginsberg taught in France and Turkey in the 1960s. In the United States, he served as adjunct professor at Drexel University, Philadelphia, and Temple University, Harrisburg. Appointed as the first faculty member at The Pennsylvania State University's Delaware County Campus in 1967, when it opened its doors in the Philadelphia suburbs, he taught for Penn State for thirty-five years. He is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy and Comparative Literature. During a motor tour of Scotland in 1967, Ginsberg first discovered the beauties of ruins. Subsequently, he has traveled extensively to study and photograph ruins and lecture on them (Pl. 94). To gain experience in the field, he participated in archaeological study tours in Egypt, Tunisia, Italy, Yugoslavia, Mexico, and Guatemala. In developing a career as photographer-philosopher, he has exhibited his visual works in Paris, Hong Kong, Montreal, Philadelphia, and Washington. Among Ginsberg's publications are a handbook for students, Welcome to Philosophy! (1977), and a monograph on sculpture, Gustav Vigeland: A Case Study in Art and Culture (1984). He edited Criticism and Theory in the Arts (1963), A Casebook on the Declaration of Independence (1967), The Critique of War: Contemporary Philosophical Explorations (1969), and The Philosopher as Writer: The Eighteenth Century (1987). Ginsberg edits the book series, New Studies in Aesthetics. Previously, he served as editor of the Social Philosophy Research Institute Book Series (SPRIBS), the Jones and Bartlett Philosophy Series, The Journal of Value Inquiry, and the Value Inquiry Book Series (VIBS). As an editor, he has supervised the publication of two hundred volumes. In 1962, Robert Ginsberg and Ellen Sutor wed in Paris. Since 1972, the Ginsbergs have made their home in Takoma Park, Maryland, an historic suburb of Washington, where they direct the International Center for the Arts, Humanities, and Value Inquiry.

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