Passing Strange and Wonderful: Aesthetics, Nature, and Culture

Overview

Conventional wisdom suggests that aesthetic experiences - those moments when the senses come to life - are important only after more basic needs have been met. In this inspiring wealth of provocative ideas, Yi-Fu Tuan demonstrates that feeling and beauty are essential parts of life and society. The aesthetic is shown to be not merely one aspect of culture but its central core - both its driving force and its ultimate goal. Beginning with the individual and the physical world, the author's exploration progresses ...
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Overview

Conventional wisdom suggests that aesthetic experiences - those moments when the senses come to life - are important only after more basic needs have been met. In this inspiring wealth of provocative ideas, Yi-Fu Tuan demonstrates that feeling and beauty are essential parts of life and society. The aesthetic is shown to be not merely one aspect of culture but its central core - both its driving force and its ultimate goal. Beginning with the individual and the physical world, the author's exploration progresses from the simple to the complex. Tuan starts by examining the building blocks of aesthetic experience - sight, hearing, smell, touch, taste - and gradually expands his analysis to include the most elaborate of human constructs, including art, architecture, literature, philosophy, music, and landscape. This leads him to the realm of politics, where he grapples with the fundamental question of the relationship between goodness and beauty, and of how the aesthetic can become a moral force within society. To guide the reader along this journey, the author describes how the aesthetic operates in four widely disparate cultures: Australian aboriginal, Chinese, medieval European, and modern American. Yi-Fu Tuan, one of our most influential and original thinkers, brilliantly conveys the profound fascination of multisensory reality, and in so doing enables us to make connections among even the most diffuse elements of our lives. While Tuan does not ignore human folly, Passing Strange and Wonderful is a celebration of the world around us, our experiences, and our creations.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781568360676
  • Publisher: Kodansha International
  • Publication date: 8/1/1995
  • Series: Kodansha Globe Ser.
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 5.61 (w) x 8.47 (h) x 0.82 (d)

Table of Contents

Prologue: Light and Shadows 1
Pt. I Aesthetics, Nature, and Culture
Ch. 1 The Aesthetic in Life and Culture 5
2 The Development of the Aesthetic Impulse 20
Pt. II Sensory Delights
3 Pleasures of the Proximate Senses 35
4 Voices, Sounds, and Heavenly Music 70
5 Visual Delight and Splendor 96
Pt. III A Cultural-Aesthetic Spectrum
6 Australian Aborigines, the Chinese, and Medieval Europeans 121
7 American Place and Scene 143
Pt. IV Synthesis of Space and the State
8 Synesthesia, Metaphor, and Symbolic Space 165
9 Ritual and the Aesthetic-Moral State 182
The Chinese Aesthetic-Moral State: Tang Empire 186
Renaissance Venice as an Aesthetic-Moral State 193
France: The Sun King's Aesthetic-Moral State 196
America the Beautiful and the Moral 199
Pt. V Aesthetics and Morality
10 Good and Beautiful 213
Epilogue: Shadows and Light 227
Notes 245
Acknowledgments 271
Index 273
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