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Beauty and Sublimity
A Cognitive Aesthetics of Literature and the Arts

$35.99 (C)

  • Date Published: December 2017
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107535497

$ 35.99 (C)

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About the Authors
  • Recent decades have witnessed an explosion in neuroscientific and related research treating aesthetic response. This book integrates this research with insights from philosophical aesthetics to propose new answers to longstanding questions about beauty and sublimity. Hogan begins by distinguishing what we respond to as beautiful from what we count socially as beautiful. He goes on to examine the former in terms of information processing (specifically, prototype approximation and non-habitual pattern recognition) and emotional involvement (especially of the endogenous reward and attachment systems). In the course of the book, Hogan examines such issues as how universal principles of aesthetic response may be reconciled with individual idiosyncrasy, how it is possible to argue rationally over aesthetic response, and what role personal beauty and sublimity might play in the definition of art. To treat these issues, the book considers works by Woolf, Wharton, Shakespeare, Arthur Miller, Beethoven, Matisse, and Kiran Rao, among others.

    • Includes a wide range of psychological, philosophical and neuroscientific research on beauty, to provide readers with an integrated knowledge of the field
    • Presents a theory of beauty that is easy to follow at the level of individual components, but complex enough to cover difficult cases due to the interaction of components
    • Examines the complex relationship between beauty and art
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "In this book, Hogan works to bridge the humanities and sciences, a longstanding challenge when issues of beauty and aesthetics are involved. His distinction between public and personal beauty is a significant scholarly contribution that will surely spur debate."
    Pablo P. L. Tinio, Montclair State University, New Jersey and Editor, Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts

    ""It will be clear to readers by the end of this book, that I like beauty quite a bit" says Patrick Hogan; a prediction that does not disappoint. An enthusiastically written, thought provoking book, which applies cognition, neuroscience, and social-cognitive scientific thinking to our understanding of the distinction between beauty, the beautiful and the sublime. I like this book quite a bit."
    Alex Forsythe, University of Liverpool

    "Combining intimate and capacious knowledge of recent cognitive science research and social psychology with in-depth command of a global range of literary works, films, and cultures, Hogan offers a powerful challenge to long-established ways of theorizing aesthetics. Integrating the cognitive and affective, the formal and the contextual, the neurophysiological and the historical, Beauty and Sublimity speaks to resurgent discourses of aesthetic appreciation within contemporary humanities scholarship while providing such work rigorous, flexible, and fertile theoretical frameworks to engage and develop."
    Donald Wehrs, Hargis Professor of English Literature, Auburn University, Atlanta

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    Product details

    • Date Published: December 2017
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107535497
    • length: 296 pages
    • dimensions: 230 x 151 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.45kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction. Why beauty?
    1. Literary aesthetics: beauty, the brain, and Mrs Dalloway
    2. The idiosyncrasy of beauty: aesthetic universals and the diversity of taste
    3. Unspoken beauty: problems and possibilities of absence
    4. Aesthetic response revisited: quandaries about beauty and sublimity
    5. My Othello problem: prestige status, evaluation, and aesthetic response
    6. What is aesthetic argument?
    7. Art and beauty
    Afterword. A brief recapitulation, with a coda on anti-aesthetic art.

  • Author

    Patrick Colm Hogan, University of Connecticut
    Patrick Colm Hogan is a professor in the Department of English, the Program in Cognitive Science and the Program in Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies at the University of Connecticut. He is the author of seventeen scholarly books, including What Literature Teaches Us about Emotion (Cambridge, 2011) and How Authors' Minds Make Stories (Cambridge, 2013).

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