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The interest in aesthetics in philosophy, literary and cultural studies is growing rapidly. This book contains exemplary essays by key practitioners in these fields which demonstrate the importance of this area of enquiry. New aestheticism remains a troubled term and in current parlance it already comes loaded with the baggage of the 'philistine controversy' which first emerged in an exchange that originally that took place in the New Left Review during the mid-1990s. A serious aesthetic education is necessary for resisting the advance of 'philistinism'. Contemporary aesthetic production may be decentred and belonging to the past, but that is not a reason to underestimate what great works do that nothing else can. Despite well-established feminist work in literary criticism, film theory and art history, feminist aesthetics 'is a relatively young discipline, dating from the early 1990s'. The book focuses on the critical interrogation of the historical status of mimesis in the context of a gendered and racial politics of modernity. Throughout the history of literary and art criticism the focus has fallen on the creation or reception of works and texts. The book also identifies a fragmentary Romantic residue in contemporary aesthetics. The Alexandrian aesthetic underlies the experience of the 'allegorical'. 'Cultural poetics' makes clear the expansion of 'poetics' into a domain that is no longer strictly associated with 'poetry'. The book also presents an account of a Kantian aesthetic criticism, discussing Critique of Pure Reason, Critique of Aesthetic Judgement and Critique of Judgement.

Pablo Picasso’s Guernica
Duncan Wheeler

cultural, as well as the economic, spheres was unsustainable. By the time of the dictator’s death, Picasso was widely considered the twentieth century’s greatest artist, and Federico García Lorca ranked as the most translated Spanish playwright. Executed by Falangist thugs shortly after the illegal rebel uprising, Lorca’s death alongside Guernica were evidence of the regime’s violent philistinism, ensuring an indelible link in the international psyche between Franco’s victory and a defeat for culture. As numerous studies have shown, the afterlife of Guernica is a

in Following Franco
Open Access (free)
Design and material culture in Soviet Russia, 1960s–80s
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The major part of this book project was funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 700913.

This book is about two distinct but related professional cultures in late Soviet Russia that were concerned with material objects: industrial design and decorative art. The Russian avant-garde of the 1920s is broadly recognised to have been Russia’s first truly original contribution to world culture. In contrast, Soviet design of the post-war period is often dismissed as hackwork and plagiarism that resulted in a shabby world of commodities. This book identifies the second historical attempt at creating a powerful alternative to capitalist commodities in the Cold War era. It offers a new perspective on the history of Soviet material culture by focusing on the notion of the ‘comradely object’ as an agent of progressive social relations that state-sponsored Soviet design inherited from the avant-garde. It introduces a shared history of domestic objects, handmade as well as machine-made, mass-produced as well as unique, utilitarian as well as challenging the conventional notion of utility. Situated at the intersection of intellectual history, social history and material culture studies, this book elucidates the complexities and contradictions of Soviet design that echoed international tendencies of the late twentieth century. The book is addressed to design historians, art historians, scholars of material culture, historians of Russia and the USSR, as well as museum and gallery curators, artists and designers, and the broader public interested in modern aesthetics, art and design, and/or the legacy of socialist regimes.

Cosmopolitanism and cultural mediation in aesthetic criticism
Stefano Evangelista

Heine is the concept of Philistinism – a notion that would come to assume paramount symbolic significance in the English culture wars of the late nineteenth century. Heine had used the Biblically inspired concept of Philistinism to describe the conservative and anti-intellectual German tradition against which he pitted his French-accented authorial voice. In Arnold’s definition, Philistinism is an

in Algernon Charles Swinburne
Crossing boundaries and negotiating the cultural landscape
Author:

Victorian touring actresses: Crossing boundaries and negotiating the cultural landscape provides a new perspective on the on- and offstage lives of women working in nineteenth-century theatre, and affirms the central role of touring, both within the United Kingdom and in North America and Australasia. Drawing on extensive archival research, it features a cross-section of neglected performers whose dramatic specialisms range from tragedy to burlesque. Although they were employed as stars in their own time, their contribution to the industry has largely been forgotten. The book’s innovative organisation follows a natural lifecycle, enabling a detailed examination of the practical challenges and opportunities typically encountered by the actress at each stage of her working life. Individual experiences are scrutinised to highlight the career implications of strategies adopted to cope with the demands of the profession, the physical potential of the actress’s body, and the operation of gendered power on and offstage. Analysis is situated in a wide contextual framework and reveals how reception and success depended on the performer’s response to the changing political, economic, social and cultural landscape as well as to developments in professional practice and organisation. The book concludes with discussion of the legacies of the performers, linking their experiences to the present-day situation.

Thomas Docherty

practised by the elders; for reality, being the amassing of experiences (Erfahrung) is what, by definition, the youth has not yet attained. 24 Positions Benjamin’s point, arising from this, is that such thinking is precisely what substantiates and validates the philistinism of a culture whose terms are defined by the elders: ‘herein lies his secret: because he has never raised his eyes to the great and the meaningful, the philistine has taken experience as his gospel’. Benjamin thus wants here to stake a claim for something ‘other-than-experience’, something

in The new aestheticism
A distinctive politics?
Author:

English radicalism has been a deep-rooted but minority tradition in the political culture since at least the seventeenth century. The central aim of this book is to examine, in historical and political context, a range of key events and individuals that exemplify English radicalism in the twentieth century. This analysis is preceded by defining precisely what has constituted this tradition; and by the main outline of the development of the tradition from the Civil War to the end of the nineteenth century. Three of the main currents of English radicalism in the twentieth century have been the labour movement, the women’s movement and the peace movement. These are discussed in some detail, as a framework for the detailed consideration of ten key representative figures of the tradition in the twentieth century: Bertrand Russell, Sylvia Pankhurst, Ellen Wilkinson, George Orwell, E.P. Thompson, Michael Foot, Joan Maynard, Stuart Hall, Tony Benn and Nicolas Walter. The question of ‘agency’ – of how to bring about radical change in a predominantly conservative society and culture – has been a fundamental issue for English radicals. It is argued that, in the twentieth century, many of the important achievements in progressive politics have taken place in and through extra-parliamentary movements, as well as through formal political parties and organisations – the Labour Party and other socialist organisations – and on occasion, through libertarian and anarchist politics. The final chapter considers the continuing relevance of this political tradition in the early twenty-first century, and reviews its challenges and prospects.

Protection of animals in nineteenth-century Britain
Author:

This book explores for the first time women’s leading roles in animal protection in nineteenth-century Britain. Victorian women founded pioneering bodies such as the Battersea Dogs’ Home, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, and the first anti-vivisection society. They intervened directly to stop abuses, promoted animal welfare, and schooled the young in humane values via the Band of Mercy movement. They also published literature that, through strongly argued polemic or through imaginative storytelling, notably in Anna Sewell’s Black Beauty, showed man’s unjustifiable cruelty to animals. In all these enterprises, they encountered opponents who sought to discredit and thwart their efforts by invoking age-old notions of female ‘sentimentality’ or ‘hysteria’, which supposedly needed to be checked by ‘masculine’ pragmatism, rationality and broadmindedness, especially where men’s field sports were concerned. To counter any public perception of extremism, conservative bodies such as the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals for long excluded women from executive roles, despite their crucial importance as donors and grassroots activists. However, women’s growing opportunities for public work in philanthropic projects and the development of militant feminism, running in parallel with campaigns for the vote, gave them greater boldness in expressing their distinctive view of animal–human relations, in defiance of patriarchy. In analysing all these historic factors, the book unites feminist perspectives, especially constructions of gender, with the fast-developing field of animal–human history.

Victoria Stiles

The destruction of a book can provoke an almost instinctive negative reaction. It is an act which has come to symbolise the suppression of knowledge and an intolerance of education or enlightenment. In fictional portrayals such as Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 and Roald Dahl’s Matilda , destroying books is an authoritarian attack on freedom, as well as an indication of ignorance and philistinism. Similarly, reverence for books is seen as a sign of good character and open-mindedness. When Nazi Germany appears as a historical example in free speech debates

in The free speech wars
Early modern reproach of Zipporah and Michal
Michele Osherow

Samuel, ‘which I married for an hundreth foreskinnes of the Philistins’ (3:14). Early modern readers do not overlook the rate of purchase either, and there are numerous explicit references to David’s having ‘bought’ Michal ‘with two hundredth foreskinnes of the philistines’ (Willet, 1612 : 286). Moses Vauts reads David’s engagement as a sign of his ambition ( 1650 : 62) but more

in Biblical women in early modern literary culture 1550–1700