Cosmopolitan Criticism (inbunden)
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University of Virginia Press
241 x 165 x 19 mm
476 g
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Cosmopolitan Criticism (inbunden)

Cosmopolitan Criticism

Oscar Wilde's Philosophy of Art

Inbunden Engelska, 1997-07-01
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In the first book to explore the philosophical significance of Oscar Wilde's life and work, Julia Prewitt Brown establishes Wilde's importance to 19th-century literature and thought by placing him in the continuum of continental aesthetic philosophy from Kant and Schiller, through Kierkegaard and Nietzsche, to Benjamin and Adorno. Calling his philosophy of art his ""most elusive legacy"", Brown attempts to define Wilde's conceptions of what art is and is not, of what the experience of art means in the modern world, and of the contradictory relations between the work of art and the sphere of the ethical everyday. She traces the experimental character of Wilde's thought from its resonance in his own life through its development within the tradition of aesthetic philosophy, ultimately focussing on his sense of the equivocal and diminishing presence of art in the postindustrial world. Convinced that the future of art, as well as that of civilization as a whole, depended upon the development of what he called ""cosmopolitan criticism"", Wilde consciously made himself at home in the culture of other nations. This did not entail a repudiation of his own roots, however, and was thus dialectical in nature. Brown firmly places Wilde amidst the thinkers who gave rise to his philosophy - Ruskin, Pater, Arnold, Baudelaire - and she establishes his role as the link between Victorian ideas and the more modern Benjamin and Adorno. ""Cosmopolitan Criticism"" is an interdisciplinary study that should appeal not only to Wilde enthusiasts but also to readers interested in 19th- and 20th-century literature and aesthetics. In this time of debate over ethics and the arts, Brown's provocative analysis will add much to the dialogue.
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Julia Prewitt Brown's study of Wilde's philosophy of art is much the best analysis yet performed of Wilde's crucial place in the tradition that goes from Schiller and Nietzsche, Baudelaire and Ruskin, on to Pater, Wilde, and Walter Benjamin. Brown usefully distances Wilde from Pater's aesthetic empiricism and returns him to Kant's critical idealism. --Harold Bloom, Yale University At a time when apostles from all points along an ideological spectrum have denigrated art, criticism, and aesthetics, Julia Prewitt Brown has given us an elegant, persuasive, revisionary account of Oscar Wilde, a figure asnecessary to our own fin de siecle as to his own.... Placing him within the intellectual context of the German Romantics, the French Symbolistes, and his own Victorian contemporaries, Professor Brown proves herself a worthy practitioner of what Wilde labeled 'cosmopolitan criticism.'. --Willard Spiegelman, Southern Methodist University

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Julia Prewitt Brown is Associate Professor of English at Boston University