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Whitney Davis: Queer Beauty

Whitney Davis: Queer Beauty

Sexuality and Aesthetics from Winckelmann to Freud and Beyond. USA 2010, 354pp. with numerous b/w photographs, hardbound,  48.95
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The pioneering work of Johann Winckelmann identified a homoerotic appreciation of male beauty in classical Greek sculpture, a fascination that endured in Western art since the Greeks. Yet after Winckelmann, the value (even the possibility) of art's queer beauty was often denied. Several theorists, notably the philosopher Immanuel Kant, broke sexual attraction and aesthetic appreciation into separate or duelling domains. In turn, sexual desire and aesthetic pleasure had to be profoundly rethought by later writers. The author follows how such innovative thinkers as John A. Symonds, Foucault, and Richard Wollheim rejoined these two domains, reclaiming earlier insights about the mutual implication of sexuality and aesthetics. Addressing texts by Schopenhauer, Darwin, Oscar Wilde, and Freud, the author criticizes modern approaches.
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