The Primitive, the Aesthetic, and the Savage: An Enlightenment Problematic (Paperback)
  • The Primitive, the Aesthetic, and the Savage: An Enlightenment Problematic (Paperback)
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The Primitive, the Aesthetic, and the Savage: An Enlightenment Problematic (Paperback)

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£20.99
Paperback 304 Pages / Published: 01/12/2012
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Tony C. Brown examines \u201cthe inescapable yet infinitely troubling figure of the not-quite-nothing\u201d in Enlightenment attempts to think about the aesthetic and the savage. The various texts Brown considers-including the writings of Addison, Rousseau, Kant, and Defoe-turn to exotic figures in order to delimit the aesthetic, and to aesthetics in order to comprehend the savage.In his intriguing exploration Brown discovers that the primitive introduces into the aesthetic and the savage an element that proves necessary yet difficult to conceive. At its most profound, Brown explains, this element engenders a loss of confidence in one\u2019s ability to understand the human\u2019s relation to itself and to the world. That loss of confidence-what Brown refers to as a breach in anthropological security-traces to an inability to maintain a sense of self in the face of the New World. Demonstrating the impact of the primitive on the aesthetic and the savage, he shows how the eighteenth-century writers he focuses on struggle to define the human\u2019s place in the world. As Brown explains, these authors go back again and again to \u201cexotic\u201d examples from the New World-such as Indian burial mounds and Maori tattooing practice-making them so ubiquitous that they come to underwrite, even produce, philosophy and aesthetics.

Publisher: University of Minnesota Press
ISBN: 9780816675630
Number of pages: 304
Weight: 376 g
Dimensions: 216 x 140 x 25 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
"Mounting a strong critique of historicism in recent literary studies for implying causal relations, Tony Brown attends instead to the conditions of possibility of history. In "The Primitive, the Aesthetic, and the Savage", Brown reevaluates the importance of the notion of the primitive in funding an ur-history that can only be conjectural. He points to the interest in the origins of language in making it possible to think in terms of the human capacity to develop and become historical. This is compelling work that suggests the important interconnections among aesthetics and anthropological thought." --Frances Ferguson, Johns Hopkins University

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