"A Course on Aesthetics" offers a broad perspective of current scholarship in aesthetics without favouring any one particular school, discipline, or ideology. Written in an elegant and clear style, Barilli's text explores the basic inherent structures of human thought about the classification and evaluation of the arts. Barilli avoids any binding or dogmatic conclusions about artistic assessment in his consideration of both historical and more current art forms such as video and performance art. In doing so, he presents a contemporary account of a scholarly concern. In "A Course on Aesthetics", Barilli examines the aesthetic experience in general, the passage from aesthetics to art, the "user" of art, and the critic. In his brilliant analyses of the phenomenology of various forms of art - from literature to music, from painting to art, from theatre to television - he discusses the relationship between representation and expression, touching on many of the major questions debated in contemporary criticism. A bibliography provides direction for further study of the history of aesthetics as a discipline.
Renato Barilli has published numerous books in Italian on poetics, cultural theory, and contemporary art, including "Culturologia e Fenomenologia Degli Stili", L'Arte Contemporanea", and "Il Ciclo Del Postmoderno". The University of Minnesota Press has also published a translation of his "Rhetoric" (1989). Karen Pinkus is translator of Giorgio Agamben's "Language and Death" (Minnesota, 1991).