Choreographies of the Living explores the implications of shifting from viewing art as an exclusively human undertaking to recognizing it as an activity that all living creatures enact. Carrie Rohman reveals the aesthetic impulse itself to be profoundly trans-species, and in doing so she revises our received wisdom about the value and functions of artistic capacities. Countering the long history of aesthetic theory in the West-beginning with Plato and
Aristotle, and moving up through the recent claims of "neuroaesthetics"-Rohman challenges the likening of aesthetic experience to an exclusively human form of judgment.
Turning toward the animal in new frameworks for understanding aesthetic impulses, Rohman emphasizes a deep coincidence of humans' and animals' elaborations of fundamental life forces. Examining a range of literary, visual, dance, and performance works and processes by modernist and contemporary figures such as Isadora Duncan, D. H. Lawrence, Virginia Woolf, and Merce Cunningham, Rohman reconceives the aesthetic itself not as a distinction separating humans from other animals, but rather as a
framework connecting embodied beings. Her view challenges our species to acknowledge the shared status of art-making, one of our most hallowed and formerly exceptional activities.
Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
Number of pages: 200
Weight: 276 g
Dimensions: 234 x 158 x 12 mm
Drawing on her intimate knowledge of dance as much as on her scholarly studies of literature, art, and performance, Rohman elaborates the thesis that in fact art has deep roots in the nonhuman world, and that the same creative force that impels us to make it also courses through the non-human animals from whom it-and we-are descended [...] Rohman makes clear, bioaesthetics calls for nothing less than a radical revision to our understanding of art [...] Rohman
presents her ideas with merciful clarity, and the book should be accessible to the art-curious from all disciplines [...] In an era that's witnessing a growing respect for the intelligence of the body, the bioaesthetic call for a rethinking of art could hardly be more timely. * The Brooklyn Rail *
Choreographies of the Living constitutes a highly important and original intervention into the field of animal studies in the humanities. Carrie Rohman has carried existing arguments about the centrality of animality to aesthetic activity a significant step further, arguing that, in her terms, the aesthetic is animal...an ambitious argument but one that Rohman makes very persuasively. * Marianne DeKoven, Professor Emerita of English, Rutgers University *
Given its clear, accessible style and its focus on engagements with animality in 20th- and 21st- century literature, art, and performance, Choreographies of the Living promises to have broad appeal for specialists and students across the arts and humanities...This watershed study will be relevant not only for readers based in animal studies and modernist, postmodernist, and/or contemporary literature, but also for readers interested in dance, theater and
performance studies, cultural studies, history, and philosophy. * David Herman, author of Narratology beyond the Human: Storytelling and Animal Life (OUP 2018) *