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American Literature's Aesthetic Dimensions$
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Cindy Weinstein and Christopher Looby

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780231156172

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231156172.001.0001

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Are Aesthetic Models the Best Way to Talk About the Artfulness of Literary Texts?

(p.393) Afterword
American Literature's Aesthetic Dimensions

Charles Altieri

Columbia University Press

This afterword takes a skeptical and even contentious approach some of the other contributions in this volume rather than politely reviewing and synthesizing them as afterwords more often do. It suggests that essays in the preceding chapters by and large deal with materials for which “the aesthetic is not in fact central,” mostly because works whose fundamental medium is language are not what aesthetic philosophy was created to understand. It insists that the essays may attend to specific aesthetic properties of particular works of art, but, always with an eye to the social or political utility of those properties; they “build predicates for social use into the very definition of ‘aesthetic’ from the start”.

Keywords:   aesthetics, language, aesthetic philosophy

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