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What Good Are the Arts?
     

What Good Are the Arts?

by John Carey
 

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Hailed as "exhilarating and suggestive" (Spectator), "thought-provoking and entertaining" (David Lodge, Sunday Times), and "incisive and inspirational" (Guardian), What Good are the Arts? offers a delightfully skeptical look at the nature of art. John Carey—one of Britain's most respected literary critics—here cuts through

Overview

Hailed as "exhilarating and suggestive" (Spectator), "thought-provoking and entertaining" (David Lodge, Sunday Times), and "incisive and inspirational" (Guardian), What Good are the Arts? offers a delightfully skeptical look at the nature of art. John Carey—one of Britain's most respected literary critics—here cuts through the cant surrounding the fine arts, debunking claims that the arts make us better people or that judgments about art are anything more than personal opinion. But Carey does argue strongly for the value of art as an activity and for the superiority of one art in particular: literature. Literature, he contends, is the only art capable of reasoning, and the only art that can criticize. Literature has the ability to inspire the mind and the heart towards practical ends far better than any work of conceptual art. Here then is a lively and stimulating invitation to debate the value of art, a provocative book that "anyone seriously interested in the arts should read" (Michael Dirda, The Washington Post).

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"An intensely argued polemic against the intellectually supercilious, the snooty rich and the worship of high culture as a secular religion for the spiritually refined and socially heartless. Anyone seriously interested in the arts should read it."—Michael Dirda, Washington Post Book World

"Smart, saucy."—Newsday

"Anyone who still insists on lecturing us about 'high' culture and its superiority to 'mass' culture should be made to read John Carey's 'What Good Are the Arts?'.... Carey defines art, tells us what it's good for and has enormous fun dismantling the claims of aesthetic theorists, from Kant onward. It's been a long time since I've read a saner book." —Nick Hornby, Favorite Book of 2005 selection, Los Angeles Times Book Review

"Brilliant, funny, and insightful.... Makes a compelling and persuasive case that creative expression—especially the written word—is absolutely central to a rich and thoughtful life."—New York Post

"Exhilarating and suggestive.... Professor John Carey is at his most acerbic, combative and impassioned in this brilliant polemic."—Rupert Christiansen, Spectator

"An informative, thought-provoking and entertaining book on a subject that rarely produces writing with all three qualities."—David Lodge, Sunday Times

"Brilliantly stimulating and timely."—Helen Meany, Irish Times

"Engaged, provocative and frequently funny."—Sam Leith, Daily Telegraph

"Incisive and inspirational.... How interesting it would be if Careys anti-elitist values were adopted and put into practice. Next time the post of chair of the Arts Council becomes vacant, someone ought to nominate him."—Blake Morrison, Guardian

"Brilliant, erudite and often hilarious.... Carey has already been voted one of Britain's top public intellectuals. What Good Are The Arts? should enhance and cement that reputation."—Julian Baggini, Sunday Herald

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780199735976
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
02/26/2010
Pages:
304
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author

John Carey is the Chief Book Reviewer for The Sunday Times (London).

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