Perceiving the Arts: An Introduction to the Humanities / Edition 10

Paperback (Print)
Rent from
(Save 75%)
Est. Return Date: 07/27/2015
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $6.40
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 92%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (21) from $6.40   
  • New (2) from $40.00   
  • Used (19) from $6.35   
Sort by
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Note: Marketplace items are not eligible for any coupons and promotions
Seller since 2005

Feedback rating:



New — never opened or used in original packaging.

Like New — packaging may have been opened. A "Like New" item is suitable to give as a gift.

Very Good — may have minor signs of wear on packaging but item works perfectly and has no damage.

Good — item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Acceptable — item is in working order but may show signs of wear such as scratches or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Used — An item that has been opened and may show signs of wear. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Refurbished — A used item that has been renewed or updated and verified to be in proper working condition. Not necessarily completed by the original manufacturer.

Ships same day or next business day! UPS(AK/HI Priority Mail)/ NEW book

Ships from: Columbia, MO

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
Seller since 2015

Feedback rating:


Condition: New
Brand new.

Ships from: acton, MA

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Sort by


Designed for readers who have little or no knowledge of the arts, this well-illustrated, basic handbook of terms and concepts helps develop discriminating artistic perception for approaching, analyzing, and evaluating works of art. This invaluable handbook shows readers how to approach and analyze the visual arts, the performing arts, the environmental arts, and the language arts. For individuals interested in a concise introduction to evaluating works of art.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

A concise introduction to understanding and appreciating art and literature, focusing on terminology and general concepts in the visual arts, music, writing, theater, dance, and architecture. Includes a glossary, and color and b&w photos. For interdisciplinary undergraduate courses in aesthetic perception. This fifth edition encompasses a wider variety of art from around the world and from American culture, and presents interviews with contemporary artists. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780205096558
  • Publisher: Pearson
  • Publication date: 3/7/2011
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 10
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 6.90 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Dennis J. Sporre is an internationally prominent and award-winning writer, scholar, and artist. He has a bachelor's degree in Speech and Drama with a minor in music from Central Michigan University and a graduate degree in theatre scenic design and technology from the University of Iowa. Until his retirement he was a tenured professor, department head, and dean at various universities across the United States, including Ball State University, University of North Carolina at Wilmington, The Pennsylvania State University, and the University of Arizona. His administrative and teaching experience has encompassed interdisciplinary courses in the humanities and fine arts. He has sung professionally and designed scenery and lighting for more than fifty productions.

His writings, including more than a dozen books, numerous journal articles, and poetry, have covered numerous topics including the humanities, theatre history, and design and technology. He has spent decades traveling the world researching and experiencing the arts and cultures about which he writes.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents


1. What Are the Arts and How Do We Respond to Them?


2. Pictures: Painting, Printmaking, and Photography.
3. Sculpture.


4. Music.
5. Theatre.
6. Film.
7. Dance.


8. Landscape Architecture.
9. Architecture.


10. Literature.


11. Evaluating Art.
For Further Exploration.
Read More Show Less


Fundamentally, Perceiving the Arts has a very specific and limited purpose: to provide an introductory, technical, and respondent-related reference to the arts and literature. Its audience comprises individuals who have little or no knowledge of the arts, and it is designed to give those readers touchstones concerning what to look and listen for in works of art and literature. Such a purpose, attempted in such a short text, is challenging because most artistic terminology and concepts are complex. Many characteristics of the arts change (sometimes subtly and sometimes profoundly) as historical periods and styles change. Further, most artists do not paint, sculpt, compose, or write to neat, fixed formulas. For example, widely used terms like symphony have many subtle connotations and can be defined accurately only within specific historical contexts. Nonetheless, our understanding begins with generalities, and the treatment of definitions and concepts in this text remains at that basic and general level. When a course requires more detailed and sophisticated understanding than the basic definitions provided here, an instructor can easily add those layers.

The arts may be approached in a variety of ways. One of those deals with the questions of what we can see and hear in works of art and what we can read in literature. Perceiving the Arts takes that approach and relates the arts to the perceptual process. To do that, we adapt Harry Broudy's formulation of aesthetic response. That is, we can ask four questions about an art, an artwork, or a work of literature: (I) What is it? (a formal response); (2) How is it put together? (a technical response); (3) How does itappeal to the senses? (an experiential response); and (4) What does it mean? (a contextual and personal response). These questions constitute a consistent and workable means and comfortable springboard for getting into the arts at a basic level. However, like any categorical device, this one is not foolproof. People don't always agree on definitions of terms and-concepts. Also, choices of what to include and exclude, and how best to illustrate, remain arbitrary.

Getting the most from an experience with the arts depends to a large degree on our skills of perception. Knowing what to see and what to hear in a poem, painting, play, building, or musical composition is one step toward developing discriminating perception and toward making effective steps into getting the most from a relationship with the arts. Introducing the aesthetic experience through terminology may be arguable, but the approach gains credence from the College Board statement on "Academic Preparation for College" where use of "the appropriate vocabulary" is emphasized as fundamental. Vocabulary isolates for us characteristics of what to see and hear in individual works of art and helps us focus our perceptions and responses. Knowing the difference between polyphony and homophony, between a suite and a concerto, between prints and paintings, and between fiction and poetry is as important as knowing the difference between baroque and romantic, iconoclasm and cubism.

The arts are accessible to everyone. This text illustrates how much can be approached using the perceptual skills we have been developing since childhood. However, this step is only the beginning. I hope the understanding and confidence readers develop will make them want to make study and involvement with the arts a lifetime venture.

This book originated as a text for an interdisciplinary course in aesthetic perception. The text was designed as an information sourcebook and should be flexible enough to serve any course that examines more than one artistic discipline. Its information is basic and more easily presented in a text than in a lecture. Those whose background is expansive can read it rapidly, pausing to fill in the holes in their background. Students who have no or little experience with the arts can spend the necessary time memorizing. Thus classroom time can be utilized on expanded illustration, discussion, analysis, and experience of actual works. Readers' personal philosophy about the arts and literature should not be affected by this work. For example, when theories, philosophies, or definitions differ, we provide an overview. We might compare this text to a dictionary in a writing course.

This edition of Perceiving the Arts contains four major additions: (1) an in-text pronunciation guide; (2) a series of "cyber examples"—that is URLs to link students to additional examples on the internet; (3) a Basic Analysis Outline at the end of each chapter to facilitate writing basic critical descriptions of works of art based on the concepts discussed in the text; and (4) chapter-ending Additional Study and Cyber Sources. With regard to the last of these, in Chapter Two and to a lesser degree in Chapter Three, I have dropped the limited and arbitrary list of specific artworks for additional study of the previous edition in favor of a longer list of representative artists. This represents a bit of a dilemma—that is, an attempt to respond to a number of users' requests knowing that the response will displease other users. In addition, there is a new Introduction and a Conclusion, as well as new sections on drawing and color in Chapter Two. In addition, it should be explained that the "A Matter of Style" features, which inject discipline-appropriate references into each chapter, do not attempt to make a history book of this compendium. Rather, taken in sum, they give a very brief overview of the major artistic styles of history.

Finally, a word of explanation. When the first edition of Perceiving the Arts was published in 1978, the text for the chapter on film was written by Ellis Grove; the chapter on landscape architecture, by Donald Girouard. Both of these gentlemen were extremely patient in adapting their ideas to my organizational scheme. Seven editions later, the material in those chapters remains basically true to their original concepts. I have, however, made many changes both in style and content. Thus, whatever faults may now appear in these chapters belong to me.

It goes without saying that I am extremely grateful to Ellis and Don, and to the late Warren Smith, who introduced the course for which this book was originally written. I thank the following Prentice Hall reviewers for their input: Norma J. Humphries, Ohio University; Stephen W. Shipps, Emerson College; James E. Doan, Nova Southeastern University; Merrie Martino, California State University, Long Beach; Joel Hollander, Florida Gulf Coast University; and William Springer, University of Texas, El Paso. Also, I am fundamentally indebted to a host of editors at Prentice Hall who through the years have been very generous with their assistance and insights. Finally, I am grateful to my wife, Hilda, to whom this book is dedicated, for her patience, editorial and critical assistance, and love.

D. J. S.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)