Download PDF by Andrew Eastham: Aesthetic Afterlives: Irony, Literary Modernity and the Ends

By Andrew Eastham

ISBN-10: 1441130012

ISBN-13: 9781441130013

Because the improvement of British Aestheticism within the 1870s, the idea that of irony has centred a sequence of anxieties that are crucial to fashionable literary perform. studying the most very important debates in post-Romantic aesthetics via hugely centred textual readings of authors from Walter Pater and Henry James to Samuel Beckett and Alan Hollinghurst, this examine investigates the dialectical place of irony in Aestheticism and its twentieth-century afterlives.

Aesthetic Afterlives constructs a far-reaching theoretical narrative by means of positioning Victorian Aestheticism because the foundation of Literary Modernity. Aestheticism's cultivation of irony and reflexive detachment was once crucial to this legacy, however it used to be additionally the point of interest of its personal self-critique. Anxieties in regards to the notion and perform of irony endured via Modernism, and feature lately been located in Hollinghurst's paintings as a symptom of the political stasis inside of post-modern tradition. relating the new debates concerning the 'new aestheticism' and the politics of aesthetics, Eastham asks how a utopian Aestheticism should be reconstructed from the problematics of irony and aesthetic autonomy that haunted writers from Pater to Adorno.

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Extra resources for Aesthetic Afterlives: Irony, Literary Modernity and the Ends of Beauty (Continuum Literary Studies)

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In both Giorgionesque and Dionysian aesthetics, the erotic dimension of acoustic experience emerges, through ekphrasis, as the theoretical unconscious of Pater’s work. In ‘The School of Giorgione’ it is present in the evocation of ‘the world of Italian music’ as it was emerging against the ‘silence of Venice’ (R , 119). Pater roams through an imaginary gallery of sketches for the Pitti Concert , which is also an erotic menagerie of ‘men fainting at music; music at the pool- side where people fish’.

His expression of an ideal of acoustic space was in many ways the fulfilment of his aesthetic thinking and performed an important revisionary contribution to the idealist tradition he emerged from. But the deeper political dangers of aesthetic organicism increasingly haunted Pater as he moved further away from aesthetic criticism towards troubled reflections on the history of philosophy. As Pater followed his ‘home returning ghosts’, the Giorgionesque ideal was to remain an idyll – a briefly glimpsed moment of music seeking habitable space, recoiling from the nineteenth century and its din.

In the essay ‘Leonardo da Vinci’ (1873), Pater recounts how the artist trails the streets at night in search of the fleeting appearance of beauty, yet is motivated towards that evanescent ideal by a ‘series of disgusts’. ’, where Shakespeare’s model, the boy actor Willie Hughes, is constantly reborn throughout history, reanimating the force of the Renaissance into the Enlightenment, it is surely not fanciful to suggest that Pater saw Leonardo as the first vampire of the Renaissance. And in the same essay Pater would famously reveal the Mona Lisa as a vampire who had existed with sublime indifference throughout the turbulent evolutionary movement of world history.

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Aesthetic Afterlives: Irony, Literary Modernity and the Ends of Beauty (Continuum Literary Studies) by Andrew Eastham


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