The Aesthetic Contract: Statutes of Art and Intellectual Work in Modernity
Ambitious in scope and innovative in concept, this book offers an overview and critique of the conventions surrounding artistic creativity and intellectual endeavor since the outset of "the broader modernity", which the author sees as beginning with the decline of feudalism and the Church.
As a work of intellectual history, it suggests that art and the conventions associated with the artistic constitute a secular institution that has supplanted pre-Reformation theology. From the perspective of the "subject," modernity has entailed a heightened sense of individuation, moral conflict, and pervasive loss and disaster. Yet the pitfalls that have earmarked personal experience have taken on positive value in an artistic enterprise that aspires to be a salutary replacement for externally imposed theological dogmas.
Beginning with Luther, Calvin, and Shakespeare and culminating with the Kantian notion of the artist as an "original genius," the author reconstructs the steps by which art and creative activity were installed as the redemptive values of a modernity in which human beings were forced to define knowledge and establish authority according to their own devices. In the process, the author reads passages from Plato, Proust, Donne, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, Kleist, Rousseau, Melville, Wittgenstein, as well as Benjamin, as well as the graphic works of Holbein, Dürer, Mondrian, and Rothko.
As a work of critical theory, The Aesthetic Contract posits an alternative model to Kant's "original genius." The author explores an understanding of art powered by the notion of the aesthetic contract, in which artists and intellectuals choose to operate within the parameters of certain explicit experiments until the contractual clauses that delimit these endeavors lose their currency or validity. As an intellectual analog to Rousseau's social contract, the aesthetic contract has allowed the modern artist to address issues of knowledge, authority, and experience once thought to fall within the domain of arbitrary, remote, and inaccessible agencies.
What people are saying - Write a review
We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.
Protestant and Critical Reformations
Tragedy and Empiricism
From Trauerspiel to Michael Kohlhaas
S Kant and the Anointment of the Modern Artist
Millennial Fragments on the Public and Private
Melville Whaling and
Other editions - View all
according achieved aesthetic contract artist authority beautiful becomes begins body broader modernity Calvin certain Chapter character characterize communication conceptual concern constitutes critical cultural defined described dimension discourse effect emerge empirical example existence experience faith feeling figure freedom function genius gives Hamlet hand human idealism ideas imagination individual initial intellectual issues judgment Kant knowledge Kohlhaas language least liberty limits linguistic logic Luther matter meaning mind moral narrative nature notion object operating original particular passage philosophy Pierre play political position possible present Press production Protestant question reason regarding relation religion representation rhetoric Rousseau seemed sense sexual situation social soul specific spiritual split structures sublime systematic theology things thought tion trans ultimate understanding University values Western whale writing York