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Edited by: John J. Joughin and Simon Malpas

The interest in aesthetics in philosophy, literary and cultural studies is growing rapidly. This book contains exemplary essays by key practitioners in these fields which demonstrate the importance of this area of enquiry. New aestheticism remains a troubled term and in current parlance it already comes loaded with the baggage of the 'philistine controversy' which first emerged in an exchange that originally that took place in the New Left Review during the mid-1990s. A serious aesthetic education is necessary for resisting the advance of 'philistinism'. Contemporary aesthetic production may be decentred and belonging to the past, but that is not a reason to underestimate what great works do that nothing else can. Despite well-established feminist work in literary criticism, film theory and art history, feminist aesthetics 'is a relatively young discipline, dating from the early 1990s'. The book focuses on the critical interrogation of the historical status of mimesis in the context of a gendered and racial politics of modernity. Throughout the history of literary and art criticism the focus has fallen on the creation or reception of works and texts. The book also identifies a fragmentary Romantic residue in contemporary aesthetics. The Alexandrian aesthetic underlies the experience of the 'allegorical'. 'Cultural poetics' makes clear the expansion of 'poetics' into a domain that is no longer strictly associated with 'poetry'. The book also presents an account of a Kantian aesthetic criticism, discussing Critique of Pure Reason, Critique of Aesthetic Judgement and Critique of Judgement.

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Thomas Docherty

practised by the elders; for reality, being the amassing of experiences (Erfahrung) is what, by definition, the youth has not yet attained. 24 Positions Benjamin’s point, arising from this, is that such thinking is precisely what substantiates and validates the philistinism of a culture whose terms are defined by the elders: ‘herein lies his secret: because he has never raised his eyes to the great and the meaningful, the philistine has taken experience as his gospel’. Benjamin thus wants here to stake a claim for something ‘other-than-experience’, something

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The new aestheticism

An introduction

John J. Joughin and Simon Malpas

regressive tendency which in its ‘pursuit of art and judgement’ focused on ‘ethical abstraction’ to the exclusion of ‘the pleasures of the body and the problems of contemporary art’ – pleasures and brutalities that philistinism was better placed to explore as the ‘definitional other’ or the spectre of aesthetics.3 Jay Bernstein and Andrew Bowie have by now made their own response as participants in the original debate,4 but on reflection it is increasingly apparent that the two formations share a good deal of common ground: each is certainly opposed to the rootless

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Intimate stranger

The early British films of Joseph Losey

Neil Sinyard

paralysing hierarchy of prison life in The Criminal that duplicates all that is wrong in the outside world. And certainly this film lays bare quite a number of contemporary malaises, which range from legalised execution, to irresponsible parenting, to a destructive combination of puritanism (Ann Todd) and philistinism (Leo McKern) that makes for a highly combustible marriage of elements in the English

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Scattered and diverse

Irish poetry since 1990

Jerzy Jarniewicz and John McDonagh

love your different self.11 While Durcan can be accused of over-stating the optimistic response to Robinson’s election, it serves as a useful marker for the emergence of a polyphony of voices on the poetic scene in the Republic. Durcan’s targets frequently include the Catholic Church along with what he perceived to be the creeping philistinism of Irish society. A critic can easily trace the contours of Ireland’s economic, social, cultural and religious development in Durcan’s satirical and surreal verse. What also marks him out for special attention is the fact that

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Brian Pullan and Michele Abendstern

philistinism had overtaken a great liberal institution. It seemed that the Rylands book sale was being coupled with another pragmatic decision, which concerned Tabley House near Knutsford. The owner of the estate, Lieutenant-Colonel John Leicester-Warren, had bequeathed the house to the National Trust, which was unable to accept it, and it had passed, about 1976, to the University as residuary legatee. The University had decided to lease a large part of the house for 125 years to Cygnet Health Care, a company which proposed to open a home for elderly people. But the

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Brian Pullan and Michele Abendstern

vital part of universities’ wider function to help create a society that values reasoned debate, analytical rigour, and intellectual originality . . . History is of use as a defence against the misuse of history. The clearest and most critical understanding of the past is crucial, as we confront a complex and difficult present.’ Dennis Welland, addressing the Arts graduands of 1983, attacked the ‘new philistinism’ embodied in a tasteless advertisement issued by the Equal Opportunities Commission. The Commission’s object, to attract girls into careers in science, might

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The pulpit and the pen

Clergy, orality and print in the Scottish Gaelic world

Series:

Donald Meek

many beneficial effects, the Gaelic Bible, and especially the Gaelic Old Testament, helped to steer Gaelic writing away from the repressive corsetry of catechisms and doctrinal treatises. ‘Westminster Gaelic’, however politically and doctrinally correct, was challenged and displaced as the preeminent register of Gaelic prose. The Goliath of stylistic philistinism – and Puritanism – was neatly slain by the David of the vernacular Gaelic world, as the description of Goliath indicates (1 Samuel 17:4–7): 4. Agus thàinig curaidh a mach a camp nam Philisteach d’am b’ ainm