A Theory of Art

A Theory of Art

3.75 (8 ratings by Goodreads)
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What, if anything, has art to do with the rest of our lives, and in particular with those ethical and political issues that matter to us most? Will art created today be likely to play a role in our lives as profound as that of the best art of the past? A Theory of Art shifts the focus of aesthetics from the traditional debate of "what is art?" to the engaging question of "what is art for?" Skillfully describing the social and historical situation of art today, author Karol Berger argues that music exemplifies the current condition of art in a radical, acute, and revealing fashion. He also uniquely combines aesthetics with poetics and hermeneutics. Offering a careful synthesis of a wide breadth of scholarship from art history, musicology, literary studies, political philosophy, ethics, and metaphysics, and written in a clear, accessible style, this book will appeal to anyone with a serious interest in the arts.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 302 pages
  • 144.8 x 228.6 x 22.9mm | 453.6g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Revised ed.
  • 0195158520
  • 9780195158526
  • 591,148

Review quote

"This is an excellent and well-reasoned book which wades into the current debate about the relationship between aesthetics and ethics...Referencing Ricoeur, MacIntyre, and Gadamer, Berger perceives art as an invitation to new ways of being human as one enters a world which is embodied in stone, pigment, and sound...Berger concludes that art teaches us how to listen to and come into conversation with others in a way that encourages discernment and judgement of taste; it is a way of seeing through the pluralism of the postmodern world to a place worth bringing into being."-Religious Studies Review "Not content simply to repeat or reformulate what others have said before him, Berger aims to show us how we can view art in a new way. Berger writes with great elegance, and has the uncanny ability to spin an elaborate web of ideas from the most basic premises. His concern with the function of art makes his book particularly relevant in light of current debates about public funding for the arts and about the place of art in our school curricula. Berger's A Theory of Art is a convincingly argued, richly textured, and timely book that will speak powerfully not only to academics in the various humanistic disciplines, but to anyone seriously interested in the arts."-John Daverio, Professor of Music, Boston University "Berger's A Theory of Art is a tour de force of breadth, comprehension, and coverage. Its argumentative style is eminently lucid, accessible, and honest."-Lydia Goehr, Professor of Philosophy, Columbia University "This book is an intellectual feast. Berger argues with such clarity that even when one disagrees one learns. He's playing in the same league as the authors he cites: Hegel, Kant, Schopenhauer, and especially Aristotle. He deserves their company."-Richard Taruskin, Class of 1955 Professor of Music, University of California, Berkeley "Here, musicologist Berger does nothing less than pull back the reins of postmodernism in favor of what could be called a balanced modernism."-Library Journal "Berger provides his 21st-century readers with an articulate and accessible restatement of 19th-century aesthetic propositions....General readers."-Choice "Berger's goal in this book is to explain how art functions, and what is its purpose. By doing so, he hopes to provide a framework in which political debates (as well as philosophical ones) about the meaning and importance of art can become more fruitful....The book reveals an author of formidable intellectual power and erudition."-he Trenton Timesshow more

About Karol Berger

Karol Berger Is Osgood Hooker Professor in Fine Arts at Stanford University. He is the author of numerous studies in the history of music aesthetics and theory, vocal pholyphony from 1400 to 1600, and instrumental music from 1780 to 1850. His Musica Ficta (1987) won the Otto Kinkeldey Award of the American Musicological Society.show more

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8 ratings
3.75 out of 5 stars
5 0% (0)
4 88% (7)
3 0% (0)
2 12% (1)
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