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The Beautiful: An Introduction to Psychological Aesthetics

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | The Beautiful: An Introduction to Psychological Aesthetics.pdf | Language: English

What is the nature of attraction; what is it that makes us regard one person, object or artwork as visually or aesthetically pleasing, while considering another to be unattractive? In a series of engaging and well-argued essays, author Vernon Lee, who is credited for introducing the concept of empathy into the English language, tackles this issue from a number of different perspectives. This book takes beauty as already existing and enjoyed, and seeks to analyze and account for Beauty's existence and enjoyment. More strictly speaking, it analyzes and accounts for Beauty not inasmuch as existing in certain objects and processes, but rather as calling forth (and being called forth by) a particular group of mental activities and habits. It does not ask: What are the peculiarities of the things (and the proceedings) which we call Beautiful? but: What are the peculiarities of our thinking and feeling when in the presence of a thing to which we apply this adjective? The study of single beautiful things, and even more, the comparison of various categories thereof, is indeed one-half of all scientific aesthetics, but only inasmuch as it adds to our knowledge of the particular mental activities which such "Beautiful" (and vice versa "Ugly") things elicit in us. For it is on the nature of this active response on our own part that depends the application of those terms Beautiful and Ugly in every single instance; and indeed their application in any instances whatsoever, their very existence in the human vocabulary.

Vernon Lee was the pseudonym of the British writer Violet Paget (1856-1935). She is known mostly for her supernatural fiction. She also wrote essays and poetry. She contributed to The Yellow Book and was a follower of Walter Pater. Her literary works explored the themes of haunting and possession. She was responsible for introducing the concept of empathy into the English language. Empathy was a key concept in Lee's psychological aesthetics which she developed on the basis of prior work by Theodor Lipps. Her response to aesthetics interpreted art as a mental and corporeal experience. This was a significant contribution to the philosophy of art which has been largely neglected. Additionally she wrote, along with her friend and colleague Henry James, critically about the relationship between the writer and his/her audience pioneering the concept of criticism and expanding the idea of critical assessment among all the arts as relating to an audience's (or her personal) response. She was a strong proponent of the Aesthetic movement. Among her famous works are: A Phantom Lover (1890), Hauntings (1890) and Art and Life (1896).

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Book details

  • PDF | 132 pages
  • CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (December 17, 2012)
  • English
  • 4
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  • By Tri D. Atran on July 27, 2014

    My computer could not get the information in print. How I wish to have knowledge in this area!


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