Aesthetics, Theory and Interpretation of the Literary Work


This book introduces the reader to the literary work and to an understanding of its cultural background and its specific features. In doing so, it refers to two main traditions of Western culture: one of aesthetics and the theory of art and the other of literary theory. In our postmodern world, language and artistic creation (and above all literature as the art of language) occupy a special role in understanding the human world and become existential issues. A critical attitude requires knowledge of the relevant past in order to understand what we are today. The author presents key topics, ideas, and representatives of aesthetics, theory, and the interpretation of works of art in an historical perspective, in order to explain the Western tradition with constant attention to the present condition.
Aesthetics, Theory and Interpretation of the Literary Work offers an outline of essential concepts and authors of aesthetics and theories of the literary work, presenting basic topics and ideas in their historical context and development, considering their relevance to the contemporary debate, and highlighting the specificity of the experience of the art work in our present world. The best way to approach a work of art is to enjoy it. In order to enjoy a literary work, we have to consider its correct context and its specific artistic qualities. The book is conceived as a general and enjoyable introduction to the experience of the work of art in Western culture.

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Paolo Euron, Ph.D., University of Bologna, is Assistant Professor at Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok. He has published books and articles on aesthetics, philosophy and literature, including 'Beauty and Aesthetic Experience in Theravada Buddhism' in Contemporary Buddhism (Routledge, 2017) and 'The History of Italian and Western Ideas in the Teaching of Culture, Art and Literature' in Strumenti Critici (Il Mulino, 2017).

1 Art, Beauty and Imitation in Plato’s Philosophy

2 Art and Imitation in Aristotle

3 Horace, Pseudo-Longinus and the Aesthetics of Literature in Hellenism

4 Plotinus, Neo-Platonic and Christian Conception of Beauty

5 The Middle Ages and Dante Alighieri

6 Humanism and the New Idea of Human Beings

7 Italian Neo-Platonism and Marsilio Ficino

8 The New Idea of the Human Being and Artist: The Renaissance

9 The Baroque: History and Poetry in Giambattista Vico

10 Baumgarten: Aesthetics and Sensitivity

11 Kant and the Origin of Modern Aesthetics

12 The Heritage of Kantian Philosophy in Romanticism

13 Moritz: Beyond the Concept of Imitation

14 Theory of Poetry of Early German Romanticism

15 Hegel: Art as a Form of the Absolute Spirit

16 Schopenhauer: Art as Disinterestedness and Knowledge of Reality

17 Nietzsche: Knowledge and Art

18 Symbolism and Aestheticism

19 Benedetto Croce: Art and intuition

20 Linguistics and Criticism

21 Antonio Gramsci: The Role of Intellectuals in Culture

22 Structuralism

23 Martin Heidegger: The Work of Art and Truth

24 Hans-Georg Gadamer: Poetry and Interpretation

25 Critical Theory: A New Attitude towards Art and Society

26 Perspectives of Post-Structuralism

27 The Practice of Deconstruction

28 Contemporary Schools and Traditions in Literary and Critical Theory

29 Postmodern and the New Character of the Literary Work

Academic libraries, scholars, post-graduate, graduate, undergraduate students in humanities, and all interested in aesthetics, literature, and art.