Approaching Aesthetics and Literature with William Desmond
The first book-length examination of the prominent contemporary philosopher William Desmond's approach to aesthetics, art, and literature.
William Desmond argues that philosophy, religion, and art begin in wonder. Desmond is widely recognized for his original metaphysics and his provocative philosophy of religion. Desmond's extensive writings on aesthetics, art, and literature, however, have received much less attention. Wonder Strikes is the first book-length examination of these dimensions of Desmond's thought. It offers nuanced commentary on his treatment of beauty and the sublime; his accounts of tragedy and comedy; and his argument that, having asked "too much" of art in modernity, we now ask "too little." Desmond claims that art, philosophy, and religion must recover their ancient kinship and their shared roots in wonder if they are to counter the destructive instrumentalism of our time.
Steven E. Knepper is Associate Professor in the Department of English, Rhetoric, and Humanistic Studies at the Virginia Military Institute.
"Wonder Strikes would serve very well as an overall introduction to my work, as well as a particular illumination of its aesthetic concerns, and all through the elegant writing of a thinker whose attentive mind and searching grasp add to the exploration their own eloquent thoughtfulness. I would recommend the work as an excellent introduction in those terms, and yet it has its own singular register, which comes across through its special focus on aesthetic concerns." — William Desmond, from the foreword
"Knepper has written a beautifully crafted study of the work of William Desmond, particularly the thread within the distinguished Irish philosopher's work concerned with how and why philosophy relates to art and religion and how it is impoverished without having constructive relations with them, even if it is not determined by either. Wonder Strikes is not only informative and judicious in its selections of topics in Desmond and apt in quotation, it is throughout a pleasure to read." — Cyril O'Regan, University of Notre Dame