Doing Aesthetics with Arendt: How to See Things

Hardcover | August 18, 2015

byCecilia Sjöholm

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Cecilia Sjöholm reads Hannah Arendt as a philosopher of the senses, grappling with questions of vision, hearing, and touch even in her political work. Constructing an Arendtian theory of aesthetics from the philosopher's fragmentary writings on art and perception, Sjöholm begins a vibrant new chapter in Arendt scholarship that expands her relevance for contemporary philosophers.

Arendt wrote thoughtfully about the role of sensibility and aesthetic judgment in political life and on the power of art to enrich human experience. Sjöholm draws a clear line from Arendt's consideration of these subjects to her reflections on aesthetic encounters and works of art mentioned in her published writings and stored among her memorabilia. This delicate effort allows Sjöholm to revisit Arendt's political concepts of freedom, plurality, and judgment from an aesthetic point of view and incorporate Arendt's insight into current discussions of literature, music, theater, and visual art. Though Arendt did not explicitly outline an aesthetics, Sjöholm's work substantively incorporates her perspective into contemporary reckonings with radical politics and their relationship to art.

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Cecilia Sjöholm reads Hannah Arendt as a philosopher of the senses, grappling with questions of vision, hearing, and touch even in her political work. Constructing an Arendtian theory of aesthetics from the philosopher's fragmentary writings on art and perception, Sjöholm begins a vibrant new chapter in Arendt scholarship that expands...

Cecilia Sjöholm is professor of aesthetics at Södertörn University. Her research focuses on issues in phenomenology and aesthetics, with a particular emphasis on the history of aesthetics and its relation to politics. Her books include Regionality/Mondiality: Perspectives on Art, Aesthetics, and Globalization (with Charlotte Bydler); ...

other books by Cecilia Sjöholm

Format:HardcoverDimensions:240 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.98 inPublished:August 18, 2015Publisher:Columbia University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0231173083

ISBN - 13:9780231173087

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Table of Contents

Introduction1. Sensing Space: Art and the Public Sphere2. The Work of Art3. The Encroachment of Others4. Tensions of Law: Tragedy and the Visibility of Lives5. Comedy in the Dark: Arendt, Chaplin, and Anti-SemitismNotesBibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

With its insistent references to the spaces of appearances and new beginnings, to judgment and narrative, and to perspectives and plurality, Hannah Arendt's philosophy is thoroughly and emphatically structured by aesthetic categories, which no reader could have failed to notice. Bringing these categories-and some new ones: the sense of 'realness' and the 'sounding' of the language of love-into orderly, pointed, and illuminating focus, Cecilia Sjöholm has compellingly and beautifully constructed for us Arendt's unwritten aesthetics. By allowing Arendt's aesthetic doctrine to so perspicuously come into view, Sjöholm has placed us all in her debt.