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The Aesthetics of Murder : A Study in Romantic Literature and Contemporary Culture - Joel Black

The Aesthetics of Murder

A Study in Romantic Literature and Contemporary Culture

Paperback Published: 1st September 1991
ISBN: 9780801841811
Number Of Pages: 304
For Ages: 22+ years old

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What connects the Romantic essays of Thomas De Quincey and the violent cinema of Brian De Palma? Or the "beautiful" suicides of Hedda Gabler and Yukio Mishima? Or the shootings of John Lennon and Ronald Reagan? In The Aesthetics of Murder, Joel Black explores the sometimes gruesome interplay between life and art, between actual violence and images of violence in a variety of literary texts, paintings, and films.

Rather than exclude murder from critical consideration by dismissing it as a crime, Black urges us to ponder the killer's artistic role -- and our own experience as audience, witness, or voyeur. Black examines murder as a recurring, obsessive theme in the Romantic tradition, approaching the subject from an aesthetic rather than a moral, psychological, or philosophical perspective. And he brings into his discussion contemporary instances of sensational murders and assassinations, treating these as mimetic or cathartic activities in their own right.

Combining historical documentation with theoretical insights, Black shows that the possibilities of representing violence -- and of experiencing it -- as art were recognized early in the nineteenth century as logical extensions of Romantic theories of the sublime. Since then, both traditional art forms and the modern mass media have contributed to the growing aestheticization of violence.

Industry Reviews

Well-written and often brilliant. * Virginia Quarterly Review * Chances are that you'll have a hard time fighting his suasive thesis. * Voice Literary Supplement *

Murder as (Fine) Art
Murder as (Pure) Action
Murder as (Carnal) Knowledge
Mimesis and Murder
Catharsis and Murder
Writing after Murder
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780801841811
ISBN-10: 080184181X
Series: Parallax: Re-visions of Culture and Society
Audience: Professional
For Ages: 22+ years old
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 304
Published: 1st September 1991
Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 21.6 x 15.2  x 2.54
Weight (kg): 0.45