Places anxiety at the heart of the aesthetic experience.
What is the relation of anxiety to aesthetics? Aesthetics of Anxiety brings psychoanalysis into dialogue with aesthetics, providing provocative and original insights into aesthetic theory and experience. From Aristotle's katharsis to the role played by pain and disgust in the aesthetics of the avant-garde, the notion of anxiety helps us understand the particular kind of discontent (or negative pleasure) that accompanies aesthetic experience. Anxiety, articulated through such notions as desire, the unconscious, and the real, is also presented as a productive tool for understanding the Kantian aesthetic categories of pleasure, beauty, the sublime, and genius. Aesthetics of Anxiety goes beyond the idea that there is anxiety in aesthetics to place anxiety at the very heart of aesthetic experience, thus transforming anxiety into a particularly aesthetic affect that becomes part of our understanding of every work of art, every act of creation.
Ruth Ronen is Professor of Philosophy at Tel Aviv University and the author of Possible Worlds in Literary Theory and Representing the Real.
"This book will be useful for readers seeking to locate Kantian aesthetics in the Anglo-American tradition from the vantage point of Heidegger's ontology and Lacan's poststructuralist reworking of psychoanalytic theory." — CHOICE