"Beauty can be consoling, disturbing, sacred, profane," writes Roger Scruton. "It can be exhilarating, appealing, inspiring, chilling. It is never viewed with indifference: beauty demands to be noticed; it speaks to us directly like the voice of an intimate friend."
In a book that is itself beautifully written, renowned philosopher Roger Scruton explores this timeless concept, asking what makes an object--either in art, in nature, or the human form--beautiful. This compact volume is filled with insight and Scruton has something interesting and original to say on almost every page. Can there be dangerous beauties, corrupting beauties, and immoral beauties? Perhaps so. The prose of Flaubert, the imagery of Baudelaire, the harmonies of Wagner, Scruton points out, have all been accused of immorality, by those who believe that they paint wickedness in alluring colors. Is it right to say there is more beauty in a classical temple than a concrete office block, more beauty in a Rembrandt than in an Andy Warhol Campbell Soup Can? Can we even say, of certain works of art, that they are too beautiful: that they ravish when they should disturb. But while we may argue about what is or is not beautiful, Scruton insists that beauty is a real and universal value, one anchored in our rational nature, and that the sense of beauty has an indispensable part to play in shaping the human world.
Forthright and thought-provoking, and as accessible as it is stimulating, this fascinating meditation on beauty draws conclusions that some may find controversial, but, as Scruton shows, help us to find greater meaning in the beautiful objects that fill our lives.
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Roger Scruton is research Professor at the Institute for the Psychological Sciences based in Arlington, Virginia. His previous academic affiliations have been Professor of Aesthetics at Birkbeck College, London, and subsequently Professor of Philosophy and University Professor at Boston University. His most recent books are On Hunting (1998), An Intelligent Person's Guide to Modern Culture (1998), Spinoza (1998), and England: an Elegy (2000).
As always with Scruton, his prose is exquisite and wonderfully clear, which fact together with the illustrations make his book a thing of beauty itself. A. C. Grayling, The Art Newspaper Careful and absorbing. A. C. Grayling, The Art Newspaper This is a fascinating and thought-provoking little book. A. C. Grayling, The Art Newspaper Roger Scruton has moments of great insight and clarity in this attractively slim volume. Sebastian Smee, The Observer A fascinating book, which I heartily recommend. Bryan Wilson, Readers Digest Short, fast paced, and wide ranging. Michael Tanner, Literary Review
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Book Description Oxford University Press, 2009. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P11019955952X
Book Description Oxford University Press, USA, 2009. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 1. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX019955952X