Art and Interpretation
An Anthology of Readings in Aesthetics and the Philosophy of Art
  • Publication Date: February 2, 1999
  • ISBN: 9781551111902 / 155111190X
  • 599 pages; 7¾" x 9¼"
Exam Copy

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Art and Interpretation

An Anthology of Readings in Aesthetics and the Philosophy of Art

  • Publication Date: February 2, 1999
  • ISBN: 9781551111902 / 155111190X
  • 599 pages; 7¾" x 9¼"

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


Part 1. Historical Readings


Selections from Republic Book X
Selections from Symposium


Selections from Poetics

David Hume

Standard of Taste

Immanuel Kant

Selections from Analytic of the Beautiful
Selections from Analytic of the Sublime

Percy Bysshe Shelley

A Defence of Poetry

Friedrich Nietzsche

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

Part 2. Expression and the Aesthetic Object

R.G. Collingwood

The Craft Theory of Art and Art as Expression

John Dewey

Art as Experience

Susanne Langer


Stephen Pepper

The Aesthetic Object and the Consummatory Field

Roman Ingarden

On the Phenomenological Formulation of the Aesthetic Objection

Monroe C. Beardsley

The Aesthetic Point of View

Mary Mothersill

The Judgement of Taste

Christine Battersby

Situating the Aesthetic: A Feminist Defence

Part 3. The Task of Definition

Ludwig Wittgenstein

On Family Resemblance and On Seeing As

Stanley Cavell

Excursus on Wittgenstein’s Vision of Language

Arthur C. Danto

Artworks and Real Things

Barbara Savedoff

The Art Object

George Dickie

The New Institutional Theory of Art

Susan L. Feagin

On Defining and Interpreting Art Intentionalistically

Jerrold Levinson

Defining Art Historically

Jenefer M. Robinson

Style and Personality in the Literary Work

Part 4. Psychology and Interpretation

Sigmund Freud

The Relation of the Poet to Day-Dreaming

Carl Gustav Jung

Psychology and Literature

Ursula K. LeGuin

The Child and the Shadow
Some Thoughts on Narrative

Part 5. Hermeneutics and Interpretation

Martin Heidegger

Selections from Being and Time
The Origin of the Work of Art

Hans-Georg Gadamer

The University of the Hermeneutical Problem

Paul Ricoeur

The Hermeneutical Function of Distanciation

E.D. Hirsch, Jr.

In Defense of the Author

Roland Barthes

The Death of the Author

Rosalind Krauss

Poststructuralism and the Paraliterary

Joseph Margolis

Reinterpreting Interpretation

Part 6. Marxist Theory

Karl Marx

Alienated Labour

Walter Benjamin

The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction

Peter Bürger

The Theory of the Avant-Garde and Critical Literary Science

Herbert Marcuse

The Aesthetic Dimension

Part 7. (Post)modernism

Clement Greenberg

Modernist Painting

Jürgen Habermas

Modernity—An Incomplete Project

Jean-Françis Lyotard

Answering the Question: What is Postmodernism?

Linda Hutcheon

Representing the Postmodern

Ihab Hassan

The Culture of Postmodernism

Part 8. Culture, Gender and Difference

Andrea Huyssen

Mass Culture as Woman: Modernism’s Other

Janet Wolff

Women’s Knowledge and Women’s Art

Christine Battersby

The Margins Within Post-modernism and the Female Author

Naomi Scheman

The Body Politic/The Impolitic Body/Bodily Politics

James Clifford

On Ethnographic Allegory
On Collecting Art and Culture

Frances E. Mascia-Lees, Patricia Sharpe and Ballerino Cohen

The Postmodernist Turn In Anthropology: Cautions from a Feminist Perspective

Jean-Françis Lyotard

Universal History and Cultural Differences

Richard Rorty

Cosmopolitanism Without Emancipation: A Response to Lyotard

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.