Panaesthetics: On the Unity and Diversity of the Arts by Daniel Albright (review)


I undertook this review to celebrate Daniel Albright’s contributions to the theory of interrelations among the arts, and had nearly completed it before learning that he had died early in 2015. Apparently, he wrote Panaesthetics while fighting a fatal illness; it seems to have weakened him to the point where he could still display, but not longer coordinate, the contents of his magnificently furnished mind. The Yale press, often supportive of Yale graduates, published it anyway. Although this book itself unfortunately cannot be recommended, the issues it raises are still of vital interest, and are discussed below. See the list of Albright’s many earlier books in the posthumous Wikipedia article devoted to him, and Yale’s outstanding list of publications on the visual arts, to pursue panaesthetic questions further.

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