Transgression and the Aesthetics of Evil

By Taran Kang

© 2022

How do we perceive evil? How do we represent evil?

In Transgression and the Aesthetics of Evil, Taran Kang examines the entanglements of aesthetics and morality. Investigating conceptions and images of evil, Kang identifies a fateful moment of transformation in the eighteenth century that continues to reverberate to the present day. Transgression, once allocated the central place in the constitution of evil, undergoes a startling revaluation in the Enlightenment and its aftermath, one that needs to be understood in relation to emergent ideas in the arts.

Transgression and the Aesthetics of Evil engages with the writings of Edmund Burke, the Marquis de Sade, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Hannah Arendt, among others, as it questions recent calls to "de-aestheticize" evil and insists on a historically informed appreciation of evil’s aesthetic dimensions. Chapters consider the figure of the "evil genius," the paradoxical appeal of the grotesque and the disgusting, and the moral status of spectators who behold scenes of suffering and acts of transgression. In grappling with these issues, Transgression and the Aesthetics of Evil questions the feasibility and desirability of insulating the moral from the aesthetic.

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Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 216 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 1.0in x 9.0in
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SKU# SP006690

  • AVAILABLE FEB 2022

    From: $45.00

    Regular Price: $60.00

    ISBN 9781487529079
  • AVAILABLE FEB 2022

    From: $45.00

    Regular Price: $60.00

Quick Overview

Transgression and the Aesthetics of Evil explores literary representations of evil, pursuing the points of intersection between aesthetics and morality.

Transgression and the Aesthetics of Evil

By Taran Kang

© 2022

How do we perceive evil? How do we represent evil?

In Transgression and the Aesthetics of Evil, Taran Kang examines the entanglements of aesthetics and morality. Investigating conceptions and images of evil, Kang identifies a fateful moment of transformation in the eighteenth century that continues to reverberate to the present day. Transgression, once allocated the central place in the constitution of evil, undergoes a startling revaluation in the Enlightenment and its aftermath, one that needs to be understood in relation to emergent ideas in the arts.

Transgression and the Aesthetics of Evil engages with the writings of Edmund Burke, the Marquis de Sade, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Hannah Arendt, among others, as it questions recent calls to "de-aestheticize" evil and insists on a historically informed appreciation of evil’s aesthetic dimensions. Chapters consider the figure of the "evil genius," the paradoxical appeal of the grotesque and the disgusting, and the moral status of spectators who behold scenes of suffering and acts of transgression. In grappling with these issues, Transgression and the Aesthetics of Evil questions the feasibility and desirability of insulating the moral from the aesthetic.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 216 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 1.0in x 9.0in
  • Author Information

    Taran Kang is an assistant professor of Humanities at Yale-NUS College.
  • Table of contents

    Introduction

    1. Genius and the Spirit of Transgression

    I. Rule-breakers
    II. The Poet and the Devil

    2. Symbols of the Morally Bad

    I. Grotesque Subversions
    II. The Dialectic of Disgust

    3. Evil and the Sublime

    I. Between Elevation and Terror
    II. Representing Radical Evil

    4. Wicked Spectators

    I. The Mirth of Tragedy
    II. Crime and the Connoisseur

    Epilogue

    Bibliography

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