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From Burke’s Philosophical Enquiry to British Romantic art
Author: Hélène Ibata

The challenge of the sublime argues that the unprecedented visual inventiveness of the Romantic period in Britain could be seen as a response to theories of the sublime, more specifically to Edmund Burke’s Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful (1757). While it is widely accepted that the Enquiry contributed to shaping the thematics of terror that became fashionable in British art from the 1770s, this book contends that its influence was of even greater consequence, paradoxically because of Burke’s conviction that the visual arts were incapable of conveying the sublime. His argument that the sublime was beyond the reach of painting, because of the mimetic nature of visual representation, directly or indirectly incited visual artists to explore not just new themes, but also new compositional strategies and even new or undeveloped pictorial and graphic media, such as the panorama, book illustrations and capricci. More significantly, it began to call into question mimetic representational models, causing artists to reflect about the presentation of the unpresentable and the inadequacy of their endeavours, and thus drawing attention to the process of artistic production itself, rather than the finished artwork. By revisiting the links between eighteenth-century aesthetic theory and visual practices, The challenge of the sublime establishes new interdisciplinary connections which address researchers in the fields of art history, cultural studies and aesthetics.

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American correspondences in visual and verbal practices

Mixed Messages presents and interrogates ten distinct moments from the arts of nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first century America where visual and verbal forms blend and clash. Charting correspondences concerned with the expression and meaning of human experience, this volume moves beyond standard interdisciplinary theoretical approaches to consider the written and visual artwork in embodied, cognitive, and contextual terms. Offering a genuinely interdisciplinary contribution to the intersecting fields of art history, avant-garde studies, word-image relations, and literary studies, Mixed Messages takes in architecture, notebooks, poetry, painting, conceptual art, contemporary art, comic books, photographs and installations, ending with a speculative conclusion on the role of the body in the experience of digital mixed media. Each of the ten case studies explores the juxtaposition of visual and verbal forms in a manner that moves away from treating verbal and visual symbols as operating in binary or oppositional systems, and towards a consideration of mixed media, multi-media and intermedia work as brought together in acts of creation, exhibition, reading, viewing, and immersion. The collection advances research into embodiment theory, affect, pragmatist aesthetics, as well as into the continuing legacy of romanticism and of dada, conceptual art and surrealism in an American context.

Rhetoric, poetics, aesthetics
Author: Mark Robson

This book draws together three areas from which sense is made: rhetoric, poetics and aesthetics. Coming to terms with rhetoric, poetics and aesthetics is essential for understanding not only early modern writing but also a certain influential narrative of modernity. This notion of modernity is not a purely literary one, and the author's discussion has nothing to say about artistic ideas of modernism. The book demonstrates the necessity of reading, but of a reading that is always local, located, limited - always aware, that is, of its limitations. To claim to have read a few texts is not as small a claim as it might at first appear. In the current historicist climate, reading has, like rhetoric, become somehow unfashionable except as a topic for excavation. The first part of the book elaborates the connections between rhetoric, aesthetics and literature. Frequent recourse is made to rhetorical treatises, but equally frequently there are discussions of material that comes from periods other than the early modern, both earlier and later. The second part of the book focuses on either an aspect of the body related to the sense of reading or on the deliberate disavowal of the body and its senses.

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David Lean has been characterised as a director of highly romantic disposition whose films offer a vision of 'the romantic sensibility attempting to reach beyond the restraints and constrictions of everyday life'. This book proposes new perspectives on the work of David Lean and offers a fuller and more varied appreciation of his manifold achievements as a filmmaker. In so doing, the book makes interventions in wider academic debates around authorship, gender, genre and aesthetics in relation to the British cinema and transnational cinema of British cultural inheritance of which Lean was such a remarkable exponent. It first deals with Lean's early career, covering his entry into the film industry and flourishing formative years as an editor, honing skills, and his official entry into direction. It then examines Lean's four forays into the nineteenth century, encompassing his two Dickens adaptations as well as his two later Victorian dramas, both centred on rebellious females. Each film presents a vivid instance of the twentieth century in the process of 'inventing the Victorians'; put together, the quartet of films show how perceptions began to change during the pivotal postwar year. The book also focuses on the gender by focusing on a trio of films about women in love and three films centred on male visionaries.

Television drama and the politics and aesthetics of identity

This book poses the question as to whether, over the last thirty years, there have been signs of ‘progress’ or ‘progressiveness’ in the representation of ‘marginalised’ or subaltern identity categories within television drama in Britain and the US. In doing so, it interrogates some of the key assumptions concerning the relationship between aesthetics and the politics of identity that have influenced and informed television drama criticism during this period. The book functions as a textbook because it provides students with a pathway through complex, wide-reaching and highly influential interdisciplinary terrain. Yet its re-evaluation of some of the key concepts that dominated academic thought in the twentieth century also make it of interest to scholars and specialists. Chapters examine ideas around politics and aesthetics emerging from Marxist-socialism and postmodernism, feminism and postmodern feminism, anti-racism and postcolonialism, queer theory and theories of globalisation, so as to evaluate their impact on television criticism and on television as an institution. These discussions are consolidated through case studies that offer analyses of a range of television drama texts including Big Women, Ally McBeal, Supply and Demand, The Bill, Second Generation, Star Trek (Enterprise), Queer as Folk, Metrosexuality and The Murder of Stephen Lawrence.

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Contemporary “high-end” TV drama
Author: Robin Nelson

This book updates and develops the arguments of TV drama in transition (1997). It sets its analysis of the aesthetics and compositional principles of texts within a broad conceptual framework (technologies, institutions, economics, cultural trends). Tracing ‘the great value shift from conduit to content’ (Todreas, 1999), the book's view is relatively optimistic about the future quality of TV drama in a global market-place. But, characteristically taking up questions of worth where others have avoided them, it recognises that certain types of ‘quality’ are privileged for viewers able to pay, possibly at the expense of viewer preference worldwide for ‘local’ resonances in television. The mix of arts and cultural studies methodologies makes for an unusual approach.

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Author: David Stirrup

Louise Erdrich is one of the most critically and commercially successful Native American writers. This book is a fully comprehensive treatment of her writing, analysing the textual complexities and diverse contexts of her work to date. Drawing on the critical archive relating to Erdrich's work and Native American literature, it explores the full depth and range of her authorship. Breaking Erdrich's oeuvre into several groupings – poetry, early and late fiction, memoir and children's writing – it develops individual readings of both the critical arguments and the texts themselves. The book argues that Erdrich's work has developed an increasing political acuity to the relationship between ethics and aesthetics in Native American literature, and her insistence on being read as an American writer is shown to be in constant and mutually inflecting dialogue with her Ojibwe heritage.

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Mock-documentary and the subversion of factuality
Authors: Jane Roscoe and Craig Hight

There are any number of fiction and non-fiction texts which challenge, articulate or reinterpret many of the central tensions within the documentary form. Of the non-fiction texts, the most significant have perhaps been reflexive documentaries. This book is primarily intended to introduce ideas about mock-documentary to students and academics working within media and documentary studies. It examines those fictional texts which to varying degrees 'look' (and sound) like documentaries. This group of texts have been labelled using a variety of terms; 'faux documentary', 'pseudo-documentary', 'mocumentary', 'cinéma vérité with a wink', 'cinéma un-vérité', 'black comedy presented as in-your-face documentary', 'spoof documentary' and 'quasi-documentary'. The book includes some discussion of the tensions within the genre, in particular where different codes and conventions appeal to competing, often contradictory, cultural understandings of how 'reality' can be represented. It looks to outline the nature of the more recent expansion of textual concerns and representational strategies employed by documentary filmmakers. Mock-documentary represents only one instance of a continuum of fictional texts which are characterised by a blurring of the line between fact and fiction. The book compares these contrasting screen forms, concentrating especially on the nature of the distinctive relationships which they each construct towards the documentary genre. It introduces a schema of three 'degrees' of mock-documentary, in part reflecting the diversity in the nature and extent of these texts' appropriation of documentary aesthetics. A speculative genealogy for the mock-documentary as a distinctive screen form is outlined.

Author: Jim Cheshire

This book presents a study that is an attempt to understand the phenomenal increase in the production and demand for stained glass between about 1835 and 1860. The book provides both history and context for thousands of Victorian stained-glass windows that exist in churches across the country. It aims to: ask why people became interested in stained glass; examine how glass-painters set up their studios; and understand how they interacted with each other and their patrons. To understand why so many windows were commissioned and made in the Victorian period, readers need to understand how buying a stained-glass window became a relatively ordinary thing to do. In order to examine this, the book focuses on those who wrote or spoke about stained glass in the formative years of the revival. It is important to look at the production of stained glass as a cultural exchange: a negotiation in both financial and cultural terms that was profitable for both glass-painter and patron. The history of Victorian stained glass allows an examination of many other areas of nineteenth-century cultural history. Readers can learn a lot about the aesthetics of the Gothic Revival, ecclesiology, the relationship between 'fine' and 'decorative' art, and the circulation of art history in the 1840s. While many interesting glass-painters have necessarily been omitted, the author hopes that the case studies in the book will provide a point of reference for the research of future scholars.

Spaces of revolution
Author: Carl Lavery

Jean Genet has long been regarded as one of the most influential artists of the twentieth century. Since the publication of Jean-Paul Sartre's existential biography Saint Genet: Actor and Martyr in 1952, his writing has attracted the attention of leading French thinkers and philosophers. In the UK and US, his work has played a major role in the development of queer and feminist studies, where his representation of sexuality and gender continues to provoke controversy. This book aims to argue for Genet's influence once again, but it does so by focusing uniquely on the politics of his late theatre. The first part of the book explores the relationship between politics and aesthetics in Genet's theatre and political writing in the period 1955 to 1986. The second part focuses on the spatial politics of The Balcony, The Blacks and The Screens by historicising them within the processes of modernisation and decolonisation in France of the 1950s and 1960s. The third part of the book analyses how Genet's radical spatiality works in practice by interviewing key contemporary practitioners, Lluís Pasqual, JoAnne Akalaitis, and Ultz and Excalibah. The rationale behind these interviews is to find a way of merging past and present. The rationale so explores why Genet's late theatre, although firmly rooted within its own political and historical landscape, retains its relevance for practitioners working within different geographical and historical contexts today.