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

By Andrew Eastham

ISBN-10: 1441130012

ISBN-13: 9781441130013

Because the improvement of British Aestheticism within the 1870s, the concept that of irony has concentrated a sequence of anxieties that are crucial to trendy literary perform. analyzing essentially 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 research investigates the dialectical place of irony in Aestheticism and its twentieth-century afterlives.

Aesthetic Afterlives constructs a far-reaching theoretical narrative via positioning Victorian Aestheticism because the foundation of Literary Modernity. Aestheticism's cultivation of irony and reflexive detachment used to be imperative to this legacy, however it was once additionally the focal point of its personal self-critique. Anxieties concerning the suggestion and perform of irony persevered via Modernism, and feature lately been situated in Hollinghurst's paintings as a symptom of the political stasis inside of post-modern tradition. touching on the new debates concerning the 'new aestheticism' and the politics of aesthetics, Eastham asks how a utopian Aestheticism might 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)

Sample text

The primary values in the account of the Fête Champêtre are the landscape and the presence of water, and Pater establishes a series of transitions between the motion of water, the progress of sound waves, the shape of the landscape and the felt experience of air: The presence of water – the well, or marble rimmed pool, the drawing or pouring of water, as the woman pours it from a pitcher with her jewelled hand in the Fête Champêtre , listening, perhaps, to the cool sound as it falls, blent with the music of the pipes – is as characteristic, and almost as suggestive, as that of music itself.

11 Yet it was also a moment which had to be surpassed, historically and formally, by the subjective spirit of Romanticism and its associated media of painting, lyric poetry and music. In Hegel’s system it is music which fulfils the Romantic spirit of negative inwardness. One of the fundamental reasons for this negativity is that music was invariably conceived of as the artistic medium determined most completely by the dimension of time. For Hegel painting was essentially the art of the ‘spatial external form’,12 while music involved ‘the negativising of spatial matter’.

The clearest demonstration of an acoustic programme was in the aesthetic philanthropy that proceeded from Ruskin’s example. Octavia Hill and the Kyrle Society developed a broad programme of aesthetic regeneration which was attentive to the acoustically challenged urban poor. In 1877, the year the Kyrle Society was founded, Octavia Hill’s essay ‘Open Spaces’ described ‘the two great wants in the life of the poor of our large towns . . the want of space and the want of beauty’,10 and the Kyrle Society developed a series of subcommittees for ‘the diffusion of beauty’ in the urban environment, including branches for music and public space.

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