England and Its Aesthetes: Biography and Taste
In this volume David Carrier assembles selections from the autobiographies of John Ruskin, Walter Pater and Adrian Stokes. Three of the greatest ... Show synopsis In this volume David Carrier assembles selections from the autobiographies of John Ruskin, Walter Pater and Adrian Stokes. Three of the greatest English writers about painting and sculpture, these influential aesthetes were not only concerned with appreciation of art and an aesthetic approach to everyday life, but also with issues of desire, identity and politics. Revolutionary in their radically democratic ways of thinking, they believed that proper experience of visual art had great social value. In their autobiographies the three men describe in highly personal ways why they came to find aesthetic experience so important. Setting Ruskin, Pater and Stokes in their social and cultural environments, Carrier points out how the ways of thinking of these aesthetes continue, now as much as in their own time, to influence our thinking about the function and history of art, while showing the present day reader what he can learn from these writers. David Carrier's commentary reveals the complexity that lies beyond the surfaces of these highly personal narratives, and demonstrates how the concerns of the aesthete relate closely to those of philosophy, psychoanalytic theory and sociology.