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In dance, there are three components that stir our imagination: the movement of our body or the movement of others (kinesthetic imagery), the music that accompanies the movement (auditory imagery), and the emotions that arise from the physical sensation in our body while we dance (interoceptive imagery). All three types of imagery tap into different yet interrelated neural systems that are engaged both during dancing, as much as during the imagination of a dance. In this chapter, we will describe each of these imagery types in relation to dance. We also show evidence about how the combination of kinesthetic, auditory, and interoceptive imagery helps both amateur and professional dancers to rehearse their dance movements and find inspiration for new moves without actually moving their body at all.
Imagination – either explicitly or implicitly – plays an important role in contemporary conceptions of creativity. In contrast, imagination has not been given the same weight in most mainstream modern models of aesthetic experience. I argue that imagination is an important component of aesthetic experience in at least two ways. First, imagination likely guides our search for meaning when interacting with artworks. It can do so by driving our search for the underlying concepts and causes that originated the artwork, as well as facilitating internally generated thoughts. Second, imagination can facilitate transitions from states of uncertainty to states of increased predictability in the course of interacting with artworks. As such, models of aesthetic experience would benefit by explicitly incorporating imagination into their frameworks.
This essay is an outline of some of the key terms in the classical Sanskrit tradition that can be translated as “imagination.” This enables us to map a very different yet recognizable terrain for our understanding of the concept. The essay is in four parts. The first looks at the articulation of ideas recognizably centred on imagination in the performative aspects of early or Vedic texts (1500–300 BCE). The second presents various terms that approach different aspects of “imagination,” and looks at some of the genres within which these terms were thematized. The third section surveys some influential contemplative practices in which imagination was carefully explored as a disciplined way of cultivating and expanding awareness. The fourth section very briefly considers the philosophical question of the cognitive status of imagination at least in aesthetic production. The conclusion opens up discussion about how this tradition of thematizing imagination may enrich the contemporary study of imagination, whose philosophical roots lie in the Western tradition.
This chapter traces the history of European festivals from Richard Wagner’s Bayreuth (with its professed inspiration in the Festival of Dionysus in fifth-century Athens) through the Salzburg Festival, the Festival d’Avignon, the Edinburgh International Festival, and the Festival of Athens and Epidaurus, to the Théâtre des Nations and its successor, Germany’s Theatre der Welt. Examining festival repertoires, it traces an evolution of the representation of difference and the relationship between the international repertoire and the local, settling finally on the 2017 Hamburg edition of Theater der Welt and asking: can an international theatre festival still be a place and a site for community-building and transformation? Examining the supposed ‘global aesthetics’ in evidence in Hamburg’s rigorous deployment of the local, it argues that the political and the aesthetic at festivals necessarily become inextricably entangled.
This introduction to the volume provides overviews of theories of the sublime and musicology’s engagement with the sublime, before outlining the fresh perspective brought by this collection. The focus is on historically specific experiences of the sublime: although the centre of gravity is the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, in the well-known centres of intellectual debate on the sublime in Europe, a widened purview considers performers and audiences, as well as composers and works, as agents of power. The authors distinguish between the different aesthetics of production, representation and effect, while understanding these as often mutually reinforcing approaches. A significant cross-temporal finding to emerge from the collection is music’s strength in playing out the sublime as transfer, transport and transmission of power; this is allied to the persistent theme of destruction, deaths and endings. The density of this thematic complex in music is a keynote of the dialogue between the chapters. The volume opens up two avenues for further research, suggested by the adjective ‘sonorous’: a wider spectrum of sounds heard as sublime, and (especially for those outside musicology) a more multifaceted idea of music as a cultural practice that has porous boundaries with other sounding phenomena.
This brief biography of Blazquez de Pedro illustrates not only his central ideas but more importantly how he was representative of Caribbean transnational anarchism. As a Spanish soldier in the 1890s, he fought against anarchist-supported independence for Cuba. After the war, he discovered anarchism and became an important literary and educational figure in the movement. In 1914, he moved to Panama and helped the isthmus maintain regional linkages with Havana. He combined literary with labor anarchism in the 1910s and 1920s, becoming the most recognizable face of anarchism in Central America. His deportation to and death in Cuba was not the end of his transnational wanderings as comrades returned his remains to Panama in 1929.
The Introduction presents the argument that aesthetic judgment in classical Arabic literary theory came to depend on the ability of poetry or eloquent speech to produce an experience of wonder in the listener. This experience of wonder is not merely a reaction of amazement and bedazzlement, but it also entails a process of discovery. After presenting an account of the nature of classical Arabic literary theory, its various approaches to literary assessment, its topics and historical development, the Introduction highlights that the main aspects of literary expression Arabic criticism was concerned with lay in rhetorical figures (badīʿ), simile (tashbīh), figurative speech (majāz), metaphor (istiʿāra), metonymy (kināya), and sentence construction (naẓm). It is in these aspects of linguistic expression that an aesthetic theory of wonder can be uncovered in the classical Arabic critical tradition, including in discussions of poetry proper, engagements with Aristotelian Poetics, and works on eloquence and the miraculousness (iʿjāz) of the Quran, culminating by the thirteenth century in the formalized study of eloquence in ʿilm al-balāgha (the science of eloquence).
Birgit Neumann’s chapter focuses on the specificities of literature, i.e., its distinct poetic and affective potential, to create and negotiate concepts of self and otherness, which underlie processes of intercultural communication. This includes close readings of identity constructs in Andrea Levy’s Small Island (2004) and Teju Cole’s Open City (2011), which illustrate how literary representations may promote, trouble or problematize intercultural communication.
The chapter moves from these positions of textual paranoia and frustration and makes the case for a Kleinian theory of aesthetics. It outlines how that theory would operate. It surveys the relatively scarce body of work on Klein and aesthetics and elaborates a framework for understanding the problems the previous chapters raise.
This article examines dance pieces premiered in the Nordic countries at the height of the Syrian refugee crisis in 2015. Framed by the heated debates on current immigration policies, as well as prevailing tropes of a theater of migration and the figure of “the migrant,” the analysis centers on the potential for creating spaces of resistance in the encounter between choreographic performance and spectators. Drawing on analytical concepts such as migratory aesthetics and choreographic agency, the focus is on the interrelationship between the choreographic articulations of experience of migration and their materialization before an audience.
The chapter includes a comprehensive account of the Darwinian problem of evil, centered on evolutionary animal suffering inscribed by natural selection into the conditions of existence. The author contends that the problem arises from the unveiling of a Darwinian World by modern scientists. They have unveiled four interconnected truths about the natural realm, as it has been in the past, and as it is now. The unveilings are (1) “deep evolutionary time,” (2) a “plurality of worlds” existing successively in the planetary past, (3) “aniti-cosmic micro-monsters” that cause widespread, brutal suffering for animals, and (4) “evil inscribed,” i.e., that animal suffering in nature is not accidental, but is systemic – inscribed by natural selection into the conditions of existence for animals. It seems that the source of evolutionary evils suffered by animals is not a Fall, as traditionally alleged by theists, but the design of nature itself.
In this chapter the author considers Aesthetic Theodicy, according to which selected forms of cosmic beauty are valuable enough to justify natural evils suffered by animals. He begins by defending the use of aesthetic values in theodicy on the ground that aesthetic goods often have moral value. He then examines the classical versions of Aesthetic Theodicy, in which one appeals to cosmic harmony, balance, and overall fittingness of all parts into a beautiful and morally valuable whole. This approach fails to account well enough for the extreme disharmony, imbalance, and dysteleology in the Darwinian World, as unveiled by science. Next, he examines post-classical versions, in which one appeals to “major beauty” (so Whitehead) created by cosmic conflict and disintegrative elements of nature. He examines the specific appeal to the tragic moral beauty of evolution, particularly in predation. He argues that these approaches identify morally valuable forms of beauty, but they do not contain scenarios in which God defeats tragic evils for the victims. Nor can the appeal to tragedy account for the existence of Darwinian horrors. He concludes that perhaps sacred canonical sources can help.
In this chapter, the author explores the book of Job for a perspective on the modern Darwinian Problem of evil. He concurs with recent scholars who reject the commonplace reading of Job, i.e., that God refuses to answer Job’s question: how can his suffering be just? He concurs with Carol Newsom that in the divine speeches at the end, God answers Job indirectly in the form of carefully crafted symbolic poetics, the rhetorical structure and imagery of which radically reconstruct Deuteronomic tradition on God and suffering. The author proposes that the treatment of God and wild animals in Job makes the Darwinian configuration of animal suffering more plausible on canonical theism than commonly supposed. He further proposes that Job provides grounds for belief that the Jewish/Christian God will defeat evils for animals and include them in the messianic eschatological realm. Job offers a religiously framed aesthetic perspective on Darwinian evil that helps us to recover the “theistic sight” in nature that Darwinian discoveries have obscured.
This chapter examines the historical development and cultural significance of what has become known as “extreme violence” in western cinema: the visual depiction of violent action and its physical effects in a way that is particularly explicit when compared with cinematic norms and therefore more impactful. While there are myriad ways in which screen violence could be considered extreme, the three primary elements that usually come into play are: (1) visual—the explicit detail of physical bodily damage, often achieved through close-ups and detailed make-up special effects; (2) temporal—an uncomfortable duration in which the violence is held on screen for a period of time longer than would typically be considered narratively important; and (3) emotional—intense depiction of suffering and pain, often through close-ups of the human face in agony and the sounds of screaming. Throughout the history of western cinema various films have achieved levels of violence considered to be “extreme,” although not all of those films are still defined as such, having been surpassed by even more extreme levels of violence in contemporary filmmaking. How those definitions have changed tells us much about the interrelationships of social and political sensibilities, changing ethics, and the ever-evolving aesthetics of western filmmaking.
This chapter is focused on versions of Only Way Theodicy, according to which Darwinian evolution was the only means by which God could have created a sufficiently valuable world. In short, creation by Darwinian means was the only way of world making open to God. The author gives reasons for skepticism towards this “only-way” intuition about God and creation. He then considers several prominent examples of the approach, and he concludes that none of them identifies evolutionary goods that either outweigh or defeat the evolutionary evils that scientists have unveiled. However, the evolutionary goods identified do generate partial justification for evolutionary evils, and they should be taken into serious account in the controversy. Further, he proposes that one version of this theodicy – John Haught’s version – is more promising than the others, for it calls attention to aesthetic properties of evolution that can become part of a different sort of theodicy, not built on an “only-way” ethical intuition, but rather on an aesthetic analogue for God.
Some of the most outward signs of ageing are mediated through the skin. This chapter concentrates on how skin care products chimed with understandings of what could be achieved by way of rejuvenation. Using a diverse range of sources, including advertising material which appeared in household magazines and newspapers, the company records of Boots, market research surveys, and ephemera relating to the products themselves, this chapter triangulates the myriad claims about what skin care products could achieve against prevailing social concerns with ageing, knowledge about the skin and conceptions of beauty. The principal argument is that through the twentieth century youthful skin became deeply entwined with a particular form of beauty: the two became inseparable and skincare preparations appealed to those who sought to increase both their attractiveness and youthfulness.
This chapter uses a chronological framework to explore a number of transitions in the development of cinema in Ireland, giving particular attention to the period from the mid-1990s to the present. By connecting the idea of ‘transition’ to the term ‘borrowing’, the chapter uses the latter to explore how the evolution of indigenous film-making was often suspended between established historical precedents and moments of definitive transition. In this, it proposes an affirmative reading of how Irish film-makers carved out an important niche in the interstices between more traditional and contemporary cultural, political, industrial, and aesthetic practices: on the one hand by acknowledging existing templates, and on the other by creatively exploring certain elasticity within the same structures. This ingenuity is evident across a formal play with genres, the creative use of literary sources, an address to earlier representations of Ireland on screen, and (more recently) through technological developments in distribution.
Kant’s anthropological lectures introduce scepticism about our psychological capacity to experience happiness conceived as gratification or contentment. Aesthetic experience is in a position to inform an alternative conception of happiness that not only is more adequate to the idea of happiness than either gratification or contentment but also may more easily conform to the moral law’s constraints than gratification. As an ‘ideal feeling’, pleasure in beauty serves as a model for how best to enjoy even sensual pleasures and otherwise ‘private’ sensations. In the end, the third Critique suggests that this alternative conception is more ‘appropriate’ to humankind (§60, 5: 355).
Recent affect theory has been wary of aesthetics. Critics challenge both the primacy of art in contrast with the lived complexities of affect and their philosophical subsumption under cognitive and moral interests. This synoptic ideology critique depicts aesthetics, from Leibnizian rationalism through the Kantian architecture, as a promise that discursively betrayed the sphere of affect even while restoring it to post-Cartesian attention. The charge truncates, however, the divergent and attentive questioning of affect that played out within the European field of eighteenth-century aesthetics. My argument moves backwards through the Kantian construction of aesthetic judgement to pursue one such exploratory line of questioning from Jean-Baptiste Dubos to Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, Friedrich Nicolai, and Moses Mendelssohn and, finally, Jean Paul. Dubos’ account of art as life-affirming animation was contentiously rethought in arguments about the secondary, or sympathetic, affects engendered by complex representations.
In this Introduction I begin by considering the interdisciplinary development of affect theory, and how it has been seen as splitting into two camps: that of the ‘cognitivists’, who see affect as involving emotion and cognition, and that of the ‘noncognitivists’ who don’t. I argue for a concept of literary affect that is neither strictly cognitivist nor noncognitivist. Through readings of Spinoza, Sylvan Tomkins, and Deleuze I show how they provide the basis for developing such a concept of affect, and I go on to develop a literary aspect to it through readings of a range of literature, criticism, and theory, including works by Longinus, Milton, Edmund Burke, Denise Riley, T. S. Eliot, Raymond Williams, William S. Burroughs, Virginia Woolf, and Lyn Hejinian. After giving examples of how a concept of literary affect is useful for reading texts, I outline the rationales of this book’s three sections while indicating how the sections’ chapters complement each other.