By Gregory Jusdanis
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Additional resources for Fiction agonistes : in defense of literature
Art’s Apology 21 In the first section (Book III) of the Republic Plato was concerned with the education of the commonwealth’s “Guardians,” specifically the selection of appropriate “literary” material for this purpose. He found that the staple of pedagogical texts—Homer, the lyric poets, the dramatists—was unsatisfactory because they were either engaged in falsehoods or disrespectfully represented the divine: “Then we must not only compel our poets, on pain of expulsion, to make their poetry the express image of noble character; we must also supervise craftsmen of every kind and forbid them to leave the stamp of baseness, license, meanness, on painting and sculpture, or building, or any other work of their hands” ([III 401] 1945: 90).
This is what Kant meant with the idea of disinterestedness. Once we engage with other people about our aesthetic experience, however, this experience enters the social realm. Art as Social Space This private/public duality is reflected in the historical rise of art. The Kantian isolation of the aesthetic occurred in tandem with the social differentiation of art in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Rather than imposing the concept of aesthetic autonomy on reality, philosophers witnessed and helped promote this institutionalization.
More recently other theorists have written on this relentless spread of consumer culture into every social nook. Under the pressures of postFordist capitalism, Jean Baudrillard has shown, culture has dissipated ubiquitously, no longer locatable in one place such as the university, the opera, or the gallery (1994: 149; 1981). Modern society, Terry Eagleton has argued, has been aestheticized, infiltrated by an aesthetic ideology that fosters a “non-coercive consensus” (1990: 97). 15 Likewise, the French sociologist, Michel Maffesoli believes that the aesthetic has become a shared sentiment binding us together.
Fiction agonistes : in defense of literature by Gregory Jusdanis
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