Catalogue


The aesthetics of uncertainty /
Janet Wolff.
imprint
New York : Columbia University Press, c2008.
description
ix, 184 p.
ISBN
0231140967 (cloth : alk. paper), 9780231140966 (cloth : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
Subjects
More Details
author
imprint
New York : Columbia University Press, c2008.
isbn
0231140967 (cloth : alk. paper)
9780231140966 (cloth : alk. paper)
contents note
Introduction: The desire for certainty and the timeliness of doubt -- Groundless beauty : feminism and the aesthetics of uncertainty -- English art and principled aesthetics -- The iconic and the allusive : the case for beauty in post-Holocaust art -- The impolite boarder : Kitaj's "diasporist" art and its critical response -- "Degenerate art" in Britain : refugees, internees, and visual culture -- The sociological image -- Afterword: Aesthetics and ethics in the twenty-first century.
catalogue key
6635395
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Reviews
Review Quotes
...delivers a salutary reminder of a fact often sensed but rarely articulated: the uncertain, the indirect, and the oblique are especially at home in our contemporary context of artistic creation and interpretation, and we would do well to investigate them for what they are in and of themselves, rather than seeing them merely as obstacles to be gotten beyond in pursuit of something more perceptually stable and, we too easily think, epistemologically worthy.
Janet Wolff is one of our most judicious and insightful guides to the relationship between art and society. In The Aesthetics of Uncertainty she zeroes in on the key dilemmas of contemporary theory, including questions of beauty, value, and judgment, and makes a compelling case for a postcritical aesthetics.
"Janet Wolff is one of our most judicious and insightful guides to the relationship between art and society. In The Aesthetics of Uncertainty she zeroes in on the key dilemmas of contemporary theory, including questions of beauty, value, and judgment, and makes a compelling case for a postcritical aesthetics." -- Rita Felski, University of Virginia, author of Uses of Literature
Janet Wolff writes with admirable lucidity, especially notable in a field where textual murkiness is not uncommon. She is a very disciplined writer, combining a remarkable economy of means with elegance.
"Janet Wolff writes with admirable lucidity, especially notable in a field where textual murkiness is not uncommon. She is a very disciplined writer, combining a remarkable economy of means with elegance." -- Bernie Gendron, professor of philosophy, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
The Aesthetics of Uncertainty addresses the social discourse of beauty organized around feminist-materialist responses to visual art produced in twentieth-century England. Perhaps the most significant contribution of this fascinating volume is Janet Wolff's detailed and varied consideration of the dialectics of 'kalliphobia' (hostility to beauty). Her point is to 'save' beauty-in part, not least, from its devotees-by locating aesthetic judgments not in ahistorical universals but in the material historicity of communities.
" The Aesthetics of Uncertaintyaddresses the social discourse of beauty organized around feminist-materialist responses to visual art produced in twentieth-century England. Perhaps the most significant contribution of this fascinating volume is Janet Wolff's detailed and varied consideration of the dialectics of 'kalliphobia' (hostility to beauty). Her point is to 'save' beauty-in part, not least, from its devotees-by locating aesthetic judgments not in ahistorical universals but in the material historicity of communities." -- Richard Leppert, Regents Professor and Morse Alumni Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Department of Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature, University of Minnesota
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Bowker Data Service Summary
Janet Wolff advances a 'post-critical' aesthetics grounded in shared values negotiated in the context of community, relating this theory to contemporary debates about a committed politics, similarly founded on an abandonment of certainty.
Main Description
Feminism, poststructuralism, postcolonialism, and Marxism, among other critical approaches, have undermined traditional notions of aesthetics in recent decades. But questions of aesthetic judgment and pleasure persist, and many critics now seek a "return to aesthetics" or a "return to beauty."Janet Wolff advances a "postcritical" aesthetics grounded in shared values that are negotiated in the context of community. She relates this approach to contemporary debates about a committed politics similarly founded on the abandonment of certainty. Neither universalist nor relativist, the "aesthetics of uncertainty" provides a discourse on beauty that contemporary critics can engage with and offers a basis for judgment that is committed to assigning value to works of art.Wolff explores her position through a range of topics: the question of beauty in relation to feminist critique; the problematic status of twentieth-century English art, visual representations of the Holocaust, Jewish identity as portrayed by the artist R. B. Kitaj, refugee artists and modernism in 1940s Britain, and the nature and appeal of imagistic thinking in sociology. She addresses the desire for certainty and the timeliness of doubt and concludes with a meditation on the intersection of aesthetics and ethics, arguing that ethical issues are very much implicated in aesthetic discourse.
Main Description
Feminism, poststructuralism, postcolonialism, and Marxism, among other critical approaches, have undermined traditional notions of aesthetics in recent decades. But questions of aesthetic judgment and pleasure persist, and many critics now seek a "return to aesthetics" or a "return to beauty." Janet Wolff advances a "postcritical" aesthetics grounded in shared values that are negotiated in the context of community. She relates this approach to contemporary debates about a committed politics similarly founded on the abandonment of certainty. Neither universalist nor relativist, the "aesthetics of uncertainty" provides a discourse on beauty that contemporary critics can engage with and offers a basis for judgment that is committed to assigning value to works of art. Wolff explores her position through a range of topics: the question of beauty in relation to feminist critique; the problematic status of twentieth-century English art, visual representations of the Holocaust, Jewish identity as portrayed by the artist R. B. Kitaj, refugee artists and modernism in 1940s Britain, and the nature and appeal of imagistic thinking in sociology. She addresses the desire for certainty and the timeliness of doubt and concludes with a meditation on the intersection of aesthetics and ethics, arguing that ethical issues are very much implicated in aesthetic discourse.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgmentsp. vii
Introduction: The Desire for Certainty-and the Timeliness of Doubtp. 1
Groundless Beauty: Feminism and the Aesthetics of Uncertaintyp. 11
English Art and Principled Aestheticsp. 31
The Iconic and the Allusive: The Case for Beauty in Post-Holocaust Artp. 53
The Impolite Boarder: Kitaj's "Diasporist" Art and Its Critical Responsep. 77
"Degenerate Art" in Britain: Refugees, Internees, and Visual Culturep. 99
The Sociological Imagep. 119
Afterword: Aesthetics and Ethics in the Twenty-first Centuryp. 137
Notesp. 143
Indexp. 179
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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