Savoring Disgust: The Foul And The Fair In Aesthetics

Paperback | March 14, 2011

byCarolyn Korsmeyer

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Disgust is among the strongest of aversions, characterized by involuntary physical recoil and even nausea. Yet paradoxically, disgusting objects can sometimes exert a grisly allure, and this emotion can constitute a positive, appreciative aesthetic response when exploited by works of art - aphenomenon labelled here "aesthetic disgust." While the reactive, visceral quality of disgust contributes to its misleading reputation as a relatively "primitive" response mechanism, it is this feature that also gives it a particular aesthetic power when manifest in art. Most treatments of disgust mistakenly interpret it as only an extreme response, thereby neglecting the many subtle ways that it operates aesthetically. This study calls attention to the diversity and depth of its uses, analyzing the emotion in detail and considering the enormous variety of aestheticforms it can assume in works of art and - unexpectedly - even in foods. In the process of articulating a positive role for disgust, this book examines the nature of aesthetic apprehension and argues for the distinctive mode of cognition that disgust affords - an intimate apprehension of physical mortality. Despite some commonalities attached to the meaning of disgust,this emotion assumes many aesthetic forms: it can be funny, profound, witty, ironic, unsettling, sorrowful, or gross. To demonstrate this diversity, several chapters review examples of disgust as it is aroused by art. The book ends by investigating to what extent disgust can be discovered in artthat is also considered beautiful.

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Disgust is among the strongest of aversions, characterized by involuntary physical recoil and even nausea. Yet paradoxically, disgusting objects can sometimes exert a grisly allure, and this emotion can constitute a positive, appreciative aesthetic response when exploited by works of art - aphenomenon labelled here "aesthetic disgust."...

Carolyn Korsmeyer is Professor of Philosophy at the University at Buffalo. She is the author of numerous works in philosophy, especially aesthetics and philosophy of art, including Making Sense of Taste: Food and Philosophy (1999) and Gender and Aesthetics: An Introduction (2004). She is a past president of the American Society for Ae...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:208 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.68 inPublished:March 14, 2011Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199756937

ISBN - 13:9780199756933

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Table of Contents

Introduction1. What is Disgust?2. Attractive Aversions3. Delightful, Delicious, Disgusting4. Varieties of Aesthetic Disgust5. The Magnetism of Disgust6. Hearts7. The Foul and the FairBibliographyIndex