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Early Modern Aesthetics

Early Modern Aesthetics

J. Colin McQuillan


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Early Modern Aesthetics is a concise and accessible guide to the history of aesthetics in the early modern period. J. Colin McQuillan shows how philosophers concerned with art and beauty positioned themselves with respect to the ancients and the moderns, how they thought the arts were to be distinguished and classified, the principles they proposed for art and literary criticism, and how they made aesthetics a part of philosophy in the eighteenth century. The book explores the controversies that arose among philosophers with different views on these issues, their relation to the philosophy, science, and art, and their legacy for contemporary aesthetics.
There is a myth of the origin of modern aesthetics that overemphasizes the British tradition and aesthetics as an independent discipline. Professor J. Colin MacQuillan’s book Early Modern Aesthetics disenchants readers from the myth and convinces them with a more authentic account of the origin of modern aesthetics.
Peng Feng, Professor of Aesthetics at Peking University
J. Colin McQuillan is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at St Mary's Unversity. He is the co-editor, with Joseph Tanke, of the Bloomsbury Anthology of Aesthetics (2012).
This fine book narrates a story of a time before, and after, “aesthetics” became a subdiscipline of philosophy. Colin McQuillan examines “early modern aesthetics” in an engaging manner, informed by diverse philosophical traditions. His account of the various contexts surrounding the generation of proto-aesthetic and aesthetic claims is highly informative. An insightful, lucid, well-documented book.
Robert R. Clewis, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Gwynedd Mercy University