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Art and Interpretation 

Art and Interpretation

An Anthology of Readings in Aesthetics and the Philosophy of Art

Edited by: Eric Dayton

Publication Date: January 01, 1999
599pp • Paperback
ISBN: 9781551111902 / 155111190X

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Art and Interpretation is a comprehensive anthology of readings on aesthetics. Its aim is to present fundamental philosophical issues in such a way as to create a common vocabulary for those from diverse backgrounds to communicate meaningfully about aesthetic issues. To that end, the editor has provided selections from a wide variety of challenging works in aesthetic theory, both classical and modern. The approach is often cross-disciplinary. Within the discipline of philosophy it seeks to balance readings from the analytic tradition with continental European, hermeneutical postmodern (including deconstructionist), and feminist readings. 

The anthology is thus broadly conceived, but by grouping the readings into sections such as ‘Expression and Aesthetic object,’ ‘Psychology and Interpretation,’ ‘Marxist Theory,’ and ‘Culture, Gender, and Difference,’ it aims as well to provide depth of coverage for each topic or issue. The book opens with a historical section containing substantial selections from Plato, Aristotle, Hume, Kant, Shelley and Nietzsche; these readings introduce themes that recur and are developed in the remainder of the anthology.


"A very intelligent and wide-ranging collection." - Ronald Moore, University of Washington, co-author, Puzzles in Art

Eric Dayton is a professor and former Chair of the Department of Philosophy at the University of Saskatchewan. He has published extensively on such diverse topics as pragmatism, Wittgenstein, and the philosophy of C. I. Lewis. 

Academics please note that this is a title classified as having a restricted allocation of complimentary copies. While the availability of bound complimentary copies is restricted to desk copies only, electronic complimentary copies are readily available for those professors wishing to consider this title for possible course adoption. Should you choose to adopt the book after viewing an electronic copy we will be happy to provide a bound desk copy.

Table of Contents: [Back to Top]


Part I: Historical Readings



  1. Selections from Republic Book X
  2. Selections from Symposium


  1. Selections from Poetics

David Hume

  1. Standard of Taste

Immanuel Kant

  1. Selections from Analytic of the Beautiful
  2. Selections from Analytic of the Sublime

Percy Bysshe Shelley

  1. A Defense of Poetry

Friedrich Nietzsche

  1. Selections from The Birth of Tragedy
  2. On Truth and Lies in a Non-Moral Sense

Part II: Expression and Aesthetic Object


R.G. Collingwood

  1. The Craft Theory of Art and Art as Expression

John Dewey

  1. Art as Experience

Susanne Langer

  1. Expressiveness

Stephen Pepper

  1. The Aesthetic Object and the Consummatory Field

Roman Ingarden

  1. On the Phenomenological Formation of the Aesthetic Object

Monroe C. Beardsley

  1. The Aesthetic Point of View

Mary Mothersill

  1. The Judgement of Taste

Christine Battersby

  1. Situating the Aesthetic: A Feminist Defence

Part III: The Task of Definition


Ludwig Wittgenstein

  1. On Family Resemblance and On Seeing As

Stanley Cavell

  1. Excursus on Wittgenstein's Vision of Language

Arthur C. Danto

  1. Artworks and Real Things

Barbara Savedoff

  1. The Art Object

George Dickie

  1. The New Institutional Theory of Art

Susan L. Feagin

  1. On Defining and Interpreting Art Intentionalistically

Jerrold Levinson

  1. Defining Art Historically

Jenefer M. Robinson

  1. Style and Personality in the Literary Work

Part IV: Psychology and Interpretation


Sigmund Freud

  1. The Relation of the Poet to Day-Dreaming

Carl Gustav Jung

  1. Psychology and Literature

Ursula K. LeGuin

  1. The Child and the Shadow
  2. Some Thoughts on Narrative

Part V: Hermeneutics and Interpretation


Martin Heidegger

  1. Selections from Being and Time
  2. The Origin of the Work of Art

Hans-Georg Gadamer

  1. The Universality of the Hermeneutical Problem

Paul Ricoeur

  1. The Hermeneutical Function of Distanciation

E.D. Hirsch, Jr.

  1. In Defense of the Author

Roland Barthes

  1. The Death of the Author

Rosalind Krauss

  1. Poststructuralism and the Paraliterary

Joseph Margolis

  1. Reinterpreting Interpretation

Part VI: Marxist Theory


Karl Marx

  1. Alienated Labour

Walter Benjamin

  1. The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction

Peter Burger

  1. Theory of the Avant-Garde and Critical Literary Science

Herbert Marcuse

  1. The Aesthetic Dimension

Part VII: (Post)modernism


Clement Greenberg

  1. Modernist Painting

Jurgen Habermas

  1. Modernity--An Incomplete Project

Jean-Francois Lyotard

  1. Answering the Question: What is Postmodernism?

Linda Hutcheon

  1. Representing the Postmodern

Ihab Hassan

  1. The Culture of Postmodernism

Part VIII: Culture, Gender, and Difference


Andreas Huyssen

  1. Mass Culture as Woman: Modernism's Other

Janet Wolff

  1. Women's Knowledge and Women's Art

Christine Battersby

  1. The Margins Within Post-modernism and the Female Author

Naomi Scheman

  1. The Body Politc/The Impolitic Body/Bodily Politics

James Clifford

  1. An Ethnographic Allegory
  2. On Collecting Art and Culture

Frances E. Mascia-Lees, Patricia Sharpe, & Colleen Ballerino Cohen

  1. The Postmodernist Turn in Anthropology: Caustions from a Feminist Perspective

Jean-Francois Lyotard

  1. Universal History and Cultural Differences

Richard Rorty

  1. Cosmopolitanism Without Emancipation: A Response to Lyotard

Academics teaching relevant courses may request examination copies of titles to consider for text adoption. We ask that you limit your examination copy requests to three or fewer at a time; if you are not confident that you will adopt the book, please help us keep costs down by ordering it instead. If in the future you do decide to assign as a course text a book you have previously ordered personally, Broadview Press will be happy to refund your money.

Art and Interpretation

1999 • 599pp • Paperback • 9781551111902 / 155111190X

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Broadview Press acknowledges the financial support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund, and also acknowledges the support of the Ontario Media Development Corporation. Freehand Books, an imprint of Broadview, acknowledges the support of the Canadian Council of the Arts.