Chapter

Introduction

Fernihough Anne

in D. H. Lawrence

Published in print July 1993 | ISBN: 9780198112358
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191670770 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198112358.003.0001
Introduction

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The term ‘aesthetics’, in its Greek derivation, denotes the study of sense experience rather than the study of art. It is not surprising, therefore, that when aesthetics was founded as a discrete discipline by Alexander Baumgarten in 1735, it focused attention on experiences, perceptions, and judgements of the beautiful, all of which referred primarily to the responding subject, not to the art-work itself. Immanuel Kant, in categorizing aesthetic judgements as ‘judgements of taste’, located the aesthetic squarely within the experiencing subject rather than the artefact. In the Critique of Judgement (1790), he argued that judgements of taste are concerned not with the object as such, but with the pleasure or pain experienced by the subject. D. H. Lawrence almost always uses the term ‘aesthetic’ pejoratively, with an acute awareness of the subjectivist standpoint of traditional art theory. For Lawrence, things themselves have been the blind spot of mainstream aesthetic philosophy.

Keywords: aesthetics; sense experience; art; Immanuel Kant; D. H. Lawrence; judgements; aesthetic philosophy; taste

Chapter.  7053 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)

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