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Breviary of Aesthetics

Breviary of Aesthetics: Four Lectures

Introduction by Remo Bodei
Translated by Hiroko Fudemoto
Translated, with Introduction and Notes, by Patrick Romanell
  • Book Info
    Breviary of Aesthetics
    Book Description:

    In this edition, theBreviary of Aestheticsis presented in a brand new English translation and accompanied by informative endnotes that discuss many of the philosophers, writers, and works cited by Croce in his original text.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-8408-9
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. xi-xxvi)

    Theodor W. Adorno maintained that the experience of beauty is characterized by an intense emotion, by the ‘capacity to shiver, as if goose bumps were the first aesthetic image.’¹ Does this mean that the perception of beauty, although conserving a somewhat indistinct relation to knowledge, is reduced to a shiver, to a disturbance or a distortion of the rational faculties, to Plato’s notion of ‘divine madness’?

    In general, poetry and art are also a ‘language of emotions,’ but as so eminently shown in music, they unite the greatest of formal rigour with the greatest of emotivity, the greatest of precision...

  5. Translator’s Introduction
    (pp. xxvii-xxx)

    One of the well-known perils of translating Benedetto Croce is met whenever an attempt is made to simplify his hypotactic syntax. By trimming it of the many words and connective clauses the grammar becomes more palatable to the reader, but the particular nuance of his thought may be sacrificed to a taste for economy. Accordingly, my role as translator was one of not merely parroting his words, but of having Croce’s voice ‘register’ more with the reader. With this objective in mind, I emphasize that the endnotes to this translation are meant only to provide some background to the text....

  6. Breviary of Aesthetics

    • Preface
      (pp. 3-4)
      B. C.
    • 1 ‘What is Art?’
      (pp. 5-25)

      To the question – What is art?¹ – we might respond in jest (but it would not be such a foolish jest) that art is what everyone knows it to be. And in truth, if in some way we were not to know what it is, we could not even ask the question, because every question implies a certain knowledge of what is being asked, designated by the question, and therefore qualified and known. This is evident in the correct and profound ideas we often overhear in reference to art stated by those whose profession is in neither philosophy nor...

    • 2 Prejudices about Art
      (pp. 26-42)

      The process of distinction, which I have briefly outlined, between art and all that it has been or will only be confused with, undoubtedly obliges us to make a not insignificant mental effort, but this exertion eventually obtains its reward in the freedom, acquired through it, from the many misleading distinctions that litter the field of aesthetics. These distinctions, although they initially seduce with their very effortlessness and misleading evidence, impede in the matter of any profound knowledge of what is truly art. And even though there is no shortage of people who, in order to retain the comfort of...

    • 3 The Place of Art in the Spirit and Society of Man
      (pp. 43-57)

      The dispute over the dependence or independence of art was at its most heated in the romantic period, when the saying ‘art for art’s sake’ was coined, and the other, its apparent antithesis, ‘art for life’s sake.’ In truth, it was already then more heatedly discussed among the literati and among artists than among philosophers. These days it is of less interest, and has come down to a theme for the beginner to try his hand at while carrying out his training, and as the argument of academic oration. Even prior to the romantic period, however, and already in the...

    • 4 Criticism and the History of Art
      (pp. 58-72)

      Literary and art criticism is often conceived by artists as a brusque and tyrannicalpedagoguethat issues arbitrary orders and imposes prohibitions and grants liberties, and so helps or harms their work by determining their fate at will. And to it, therefore, artists make themselves subservient, humble, flattering, or adulatory – while in their hearts despising it. Or should they fail to obtain their objective or a proud nature prohibit them from lowering themselves to those arts of the courtier, they rebel against criticism, denying its usefulness, cursing, mocking, and comparing the critic (a personal memory) to an ass that...

  7. Notes
    (pp. 73-96)
  8. Index
    (pp. 97-113)