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11 - Epilogue: the evidence of things not seen

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 June 2014

Richard Eldridge
Affiliation:
Swarthmore College, Pennsylvania
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Summary

Throughout these chapters I have repeatedly invoked the formula that works of art present a subject matter as a focus for thought and emotional attitude, distinctively fused to the imaginative exploration of material. This formula proposes that works of art typically have representational, expressive, and formal dimensions, all of which, both independently and in interaction, are normal foci of attention in making and responding to a work. I have attempted to outline debates about how original works might be made and what their interest is, how works of art distinctively call for interpretation, how they engage our emotions, how they explore the exercise of agency, and how they enter into and comment on wider social developments.

What, then, is the status of this formula that undertakes to sum up the dimensions of art and to lend some order to the debates? Is it a definition of art? Does it specify conditions that are individually necessary and jointly sufficient for anything being a work of art?

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2014

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References

Steiner, George, Real Presences (University of Chicago Press, 1989), pp. 231–32.Google Scholar

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