The Literate Eye: Victorian Art Writing and Modernist Aesthetics

By Rachel Teukolsky | Go to book overview

NOTES

Introduction

1. The Works of John Ruskin, Library Edition, ed. E. T. Cook and Alexander Wedderburn, 39 vols. (London: George Allen, 1903–12), 5:333. All quotations from Ruskin’s works indicate this edition, and will be noted parenthetically by volume followed by page number.

2. Studies of aesthetics usually adhere to a small canon of German philosophers ranging from Kant to Adorno. The dominance of the German philosophical tradition has led to a devaluation of other national contributions to aesthetics; Terry Eagleton explains that his Ideology of the Aesthetic (Oxford: Blackwell, 1990) omits British authors because “much in the Anglophone tradition is in fact derivative of German philosophy,” and he prefers to go straight to “the horse’s mouth” (11). The absence of Victorian British authors from the canon of aesthetic writings is most evident in anthologies of aesthetics, including: Albert Hofstadter and Richard Kuhns, eds., Philosophies of Art and Beauty (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, [1964], 1976); David Cooper, ed., Aesthetics: The Classic Readings (Oxford: Blackwell, 1996); and Alex Neill and Aaron Ridley, eds., The Philosophy of Art: Readings Ancient and Modern (New York: McGraw Hill, 1995). Exceptions include Charles Harrison and Paul Wood, eds., Art in Theory, 1815–1900: An Anthology of Changing Ideas (Oxford: Blackwell, 1998)—which devotes itself explicitly to nineteenth-century European writings—and Elizabeth Holt’s three volume collection, The Triumph of Art for the Public (Garden City, N.Y.: Anchor Press, 1979).

3. Recent titles include George Levine, ed., Aesthetics and Ideology (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1994); Emory Elliot, Louis Freitas Caton, and Jeffrey Rhyne, eds., Aesthetics in a Multicultural Age (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002); Pamela R. Matthews and David McWhirter, eds., Aesthetic Subjects (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2003); and James Soderholm, ed., Beauty and the Critic: Aesthetics in an Age of Cultural Studies (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1997). Art historians address the topic in the collection edited by Michael Ann Holly and Keith Moxey, Art History, Aesthetics, Visual Studies (Williamstown, Mass.: Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, 2002).

4. Pamela R. Matthews and David McWhirter, “Introduction: Exile’s Return? Aesthetics Now,” in Matthews and McWhirter, Aesthetic Subjects, xviii.

5. In Art for Art’s Sake and Literary Life (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1996), Gene H. Bell-Villada opens his study with Kant, writing that the Critique of Judgment “eventually came to be viewed as the sourcebook for Art for Art’s Sake” (2ö). Yet it is worth noting the major differences between Enlightenment philosophy and modernist formalism. Kant’s analysis assumes that the beautiful and the good will overlap, since humans are inherently moral creatures embedded in a harmonious universe;

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