The notion of beauty as a point of transit between the sensuous and the ideal is well-established in the history of Western philosophy. Describing this transition and seeking to rethink the ways in which humans understand the things they find beautiful in life, Harry Underwood?s The Experience of Beauty approaches the notion of beauty through the insights of major but distinctively individual philosophers and artists. In seven essays and a dialogue, Underwood considers the principal instances of beauty as it reveals itself in everyday experience, as a concept in the mind of the philosopher, as the artist?s vision, and as the shining image of the ideal. Considering the perspectives of many notable figures in the Western canon of philosophy and literature for whom beauty and the imagination have mattered, including Plato, Nietzsche, Auden, Coleridge, Proust, and Iris Murdoch, Underwood draws out a rounded sense of beauty. It is shown, on one view, to be inherent in a perceptible order and, on another, to be an expression of the will to confer meaning on a meaningless world. In art, beauty reveals itself to be both perceived and created, and a world-disclosing, truth-relaying force. As a final matter, Underwood asks what it means to embrace your own vision of beauty and apply it to your life?s work. A quietly provocative meditation on the mystery of beauty, this collection of essays contends that beauty serves life as an inspiration, not merely as an ornament.
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