English 203

Graduate Readings: Aesthetics

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Spring 2011 Goldsmith, Steven
Goldsmith, Steven
TTh 9:30-11 51 Evans

Other Readings and Media

Burke, E.: Philosophical Enquiry into the Origins of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful; Kant, I.: Critique of the Power of Judgment; Schiller, F.: On the Aesthetic Education of Man; Adorno, T.: Aesthetic Theory; Derrida, J.: The Truth in Painting; De Man, P.: Ideology of the Aesthetic; Ranciere, J.: Aesthetics and Its Discontents; Scarry, E.: On Beauty and Being Just


As an introduction to the problems and questions raised by aesthetics, this class will navigate between the following quotations, which can serve as our epigraphs: 1) "If man is ever to solve that problem of politics in practice he will have to approach it through the problem of the aesthetic, because it is only through Beauty that man makes his way to Freedom" (Schiller); 2) "Poetry makes nothing happen" (Auden). Historically, we will focus on the eighteenth-century discourses developed by Burke, Kant, and Schiller (supplemented by some readings in British Romanticism). Theoretically, we will read a range of twentieth-century elaborations, including among others Adorno, Bourdieu, Derrida, De Man, Lyotard, Ranciere, and Scarry. We will also take up the arguments of those recently advocating for a return to formalism. Because lyric poetry will often be the focal point of these aesthetic discourses, we may also want to feature a poet we can return to regularly in our discussions.

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