Aesthetic books have a wide range of topics that are explored and discussed. These include Sianne Ngai’s theory of aesthetic categories, Paul Crowther’s book on Husserl’s aesthetics, Erich Auerbach’s “Mimesis,” and George Santayana’s work on aesthetics.
Paul Crowther’s book on Husserl’s aesthetics
One of my favorite books is Paul Crowther’s Phenomenology of Aesthetics: The Phenomeno-Memorial Message and Its Relevance to Art. The title is a mouthful, but it’s well worth the effort, especially for fans of Husserl, art, and the human race. This is a must-read and a must-buy for the bibliophile in your life. I recommend it to the max and snafu. The Phenomenology of Aesthetics is available for preorder at Amazon.com for just $26.65. Be sure to read the preorder description carefully before snatching this one up. You may have to wait for the lucky customer to cut, but if you have patience and a thirst for knowledge, you’ll be rewarded for the wait.
Sianne Ngai’s theory of the aesthetic categories
Sianne Ngai’s latest book, Our Aesthetic Categories: An Aesthetics of Everyday Things, is not only a theory of the aesthetic categories. It is also a rich, voluminous prose, spanning five centuries and more than sixty chapters.
The book offers readers a scholarly, interdisciplinary approach to how aesthetic categories might work to reveal the nature of postmodern aesthetics such as book printing services. The book is grounded in Ngai’s ongoing exploration of contemporary capitalism. She draws on the complexities of the political economy of capitalism, as well as formalist literary criticism and affect theory.
Although the book contains interesting ideas, it may not be easy to absorb them all. This is partly because Ngai’s theory of aesthetic categories needs to be better organized. Instead, it needs to be more specific and may wear out over time.
Ngai’s voluminous prose style is only for some. Some will find the difficulty of reading it a barrier, while others may need more patience. However, for those who have patience, the book is rich with aesthetic and affect theory.
In addition to exploring everyday aesthetic categories, Ngai brings Austin’s How to Do Things With Words into a dialogue with Immanuel Kant’s Critique of Judgment. Both books are concerned with how we speak and judge and how we can use this knowledge to critique contemporary capitalism.
Erich Auerbach’s “Mimesis”
Auerbach’s Mimesis is a masterpiece of literary criticism. It traces the development of Romantic and romanticism in Western literature. The book is a founding text in modern comparative literature.
Originally written while Auerbach was teaching in Istanbul, Turkey, in the early 1930s, Mimesis is a scholarly study of the development of figural interpretation in literature. Auerbach analyzes how figural devices shape narratives using passages from ancient Greek and Roman writers, as well as contemporary works, such as Proust and Woolf. He contrasts linguistic and historical aspects of the works and draws a unified representation theory.
Erich Auerbach was born into a wealthy family in Berlin, Germany, on November 9, 1892. After graduating from the University of Heidelberg in 1913, he earned a doctorate in Romance languages. In 1929, he became a member of the philology faculty at the University of Marburg. By the end of the war, however, he had been forced out of his post by the Nazis.
At the time, the war was raging in Europe, and Auerbach had just moved to Istanbul, where he had been exiled. During this period, he wrote Mimesis, and despite the hardships, he remained a dedicated literature student.
Auerbach’s exile in Turkey shaped his work as a critic. He believed that the Third Reich threatened European civilization and that the only way to save it was to reject narrow forms of nationalism and resist repression.
George Santayana’s work on aesthetics
George Santayana, one of the most influential cultural critics of the twentieth century, wrote an extensive body of work on aesthetics. He is famous for his definition of beauty. Aesthetics relates to creating and appreciating art, music, sculpture, and architecture.
Santayana combines naturalism, individualism, and pragmatism. The central idea is that beauty is a part of human existence and experience. His theory of aesthetics is philosophically original, and based on a positive response to the world.
Santayana’s view of beauty is a radical departure from the conventional definition of art as an expression of divine perfection. Instead, he claims that perceiving a work of art is the first and most important part of an aesthetic judgment.
In The Sense of Beauty, Santayana identifies the elements that make up an aesthetic feeling. Specifically, he addresses the idea of form. The form has to do with mental representation.
Santayana describes beauty conditions, such as the balance between uniformity and diversity. He then turns to the analysis of the qualities of beauty in language and literature.
Aesthetics is closely tied to religion, morality, and socio-political life. Santayana’s approach to aesthetics is naturalistic and based on the psychology of human nature.
Santayana’s ideas directly critique the academic tendency to separate aesthetics from ethics. Aesthetics is, according to Santayana, an artificial discipline.