Savoring Disgust: The Foul and the Fair in Aesthetics

Savoring Disgust The Foul and the Fair in Aesthetics Disgust is among the strongest of aversions characterized by involuntary physical recoil and even nausea Yet paradoxically disgusting objects can sometimes exert a grisly allure and this emotion ca

  • Title: Savoring Disgust: The Foul and the Fair in Aesthetics
  • Author: Carolyn Korsmeyer
  • ISBN: 9780199756933
  • Page: 377
  • Format: Paperback
  • Disgust is among the strongest of aversions, characterized by involuntary physical recoil and even nausea Yet paradoxically, disgusting objects can sometimes exert a grisly allure, and this emotion can constitute a positive, appreciative aesthetic response when exploited by works of art a phenomenon labelled here aesthetic disgust While the reactive, visceral qualitDisgust is among the strongest of aversions, characterized by involuntary physical recoil and even nausea Yet paradoxically, disgusting objects can sometimes exert a grisly allure, and this emotion can constitute a positive, appreciative aesthetic response when exploited by works of art a phenomenon labelled here aesthetic disgust While the reactive, visceral quality of disgust contributes to its misleading reputation as a relatively primitive response mechanism, it is this feature that also gives it a particular aesthetic power when manifest in art Most treatments of disgust mistakenly interpret it as only an extreme response, thereby neglecting the many subtle ways that it operates aesthetically This study calls attention to the diversity and depth of its uses, analyzing the emotion in detail and considering the enormous variety of aesthetic forms it can assume in works of art and unexpectedly even in foods In the process of articulating a positive role for disgust, this book examines the nature of aesthetic apprehension and argues for the distinctive mode of cognition that disgust affords an intimate apprehension of physical mortality Despite some commonalities attached to the meaning of disgust, this emotion assumes many aesthetic forms it can be funny, profound, witty, ironic, unsettling, sorrowful, or gross To demonstrate this diversity, several chapters review examples of disgust as it is aroused by art The book ends by investigating to what extent disgust can be discovered in art that is also considered beautiful.

    One thought on “Savoring Disgust: The Foul and the Fair in Aesthetics”

    1. Disgust is a fascinating emotion. It is visceral and immediate. One cannot reason one's way out of feeling it and its sudden emergence is automatic. It is in disgusts very nature to repel, to draw one away from its object; much like fear. However, Fear, unlike disgust, is repelling but it is not necessarily repulsive. We can fear and not be moved to look away, we can often cognitively bypass fear and even enjoy fear in cheap thrills or the experience of the sublime. Fear can be incorporated in a [...]

    2. This book is so interesting. I really appreciate the way Korsmeyer shows how far back the evocation of disgust goes in Western art, because I think there's a tacit assumption that it "really" is a "new" thing. It would make interesting reading alongside Siebers' "Disability Aesthetics" article.

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