Aesthetics by James W. Manns

By James W. Manns

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While the author, James W. Manns, has emphasized "classic" sources, he has attempted to provide sympathetic interpretations of views he discusses to ensure that his critiques and recommendations are directed at serious rather than imaginary targets. The result is a lucid and fascinating exploration of both art and aesthetics that should appeal to beginners and experts alike. JAMES H. FETZER Page xi Preface This book aims to provide the reader with a sense of the abiding issues in aesthetics. It embodies a deep respect for traditiontradition in the arts and in the theories of art that have been formulated across the centuries.

To begin, it may be illuminating to ask just how it is that some artifact would fail to qualify as art. The answer appears simple enough: it would have to be systematically ignored by the artworld public. Surely no particular quality or complex of qualities that an artifact might possess could alone ensure that it deserved to be regarded as a work of art. All that the various qualities inhering in an object can accomplish is to capture the eye (or ear) and the imagination of a given segment of the public; and a work that fails to do so has thereby failed to gain entry into the artworld.

4. That tradition is of vital importance to art and aesthetics has already been stated. The longevity of certain aspects of this tradition comes out most clearly in Chapter Two, in which the lineage of perhaps the most venerable of all aesthetic theoriesrepresentation theoryis traced from its beginnings in ancient Greek thought to its twentieth-century manifestations. In the end, this book reflects one man's journey across the field of art and into its depths. For better or for worse, a careful reader will come away not only with a sense of what is important in aesthetics but also with an insight or two into the character, the attachments, and perhaps even the prejudices of its author.

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