Aesthetic Matters: Literature and the Politics of Disorientation


Ever since Plato expelled artists from his ideal republic, the question of aesthetics has enjoyed a dubious status within the civic realm as well as among more rarefied circles of academia. Aesthetics in general have not enjoyed the intellectual prestige accorded to, say, linguistic philosophy or political history, which have traditionally been thought to grapple with more serious and substantive issues. Even when not tarnished with the popular notion of aestheticism as betokening a Wildean hedonism, the field has frequently been reductively compartmentalized in relation to a self-indulgent subjectivism, where issues of intellectual rigor simply become moot: de gustibus non est disputandum.

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