Varieties of Aesthetic Disgust

Carolyn Korsmeyer

in Savoring Disgust

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780199756940
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199895212 | DOI:
Varieties of Aesthetic Disgust

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Much contemporary art is notorious for its deliberate arousal of disgust, but the phenomenon is hardly new, and the artworks this chapter considers span centuries, genres, and media. Literature, paintings, movies, performance—all present examples in which disgust is provocatively evoked. Sometimes the disgust aroused by art remains an aversion, as with the recoil inspired by horror movies. Other times disgust rivets attention and invites savor of repulsive qualities. The chapter reviews a range of works of art including feminist painting and war narratives, as well as other examples that demonstrate the huge range of appreciative responses that employ disgust. The diversity of forms of aesthetic disgust sustains the book's thesis that no single account of the “enjoyment” of disgust will suffice to explain all cases.

Keywords: disgust in art; feminist art; horror movies; literature; poetry; sculpture; painting

Chapter.  10462 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy

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