History of Aesthetics: Edited by J. Harrell, C. Barrett and D. Petsch
Tatarkiewicz's History of Aesthetics is an extremely comprehensive account of the development of European aesthetics from the time of the ancient Greeks to the 1700s. Published originally in Polish in 1962-7, it achieved bestseller status and acclaim as the best work of its kind in the world. The English translation of 1970-74 is a rare masterpiece. Covering ancient, medieval and modern aesthetics, Tatarkiewicz writes substantial essays on the views of beauty and art through the ages and then goes on to demonstrate these with extracts from original texts from each period. The authors he cites include Homer, Democritus, Plato, St Augustine, Boethius, Thomas Aquinas, Dante, William of Ockham, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Galileo, Bacon, Shakespeare and Rubens. His study is systematic and extremely wide, including the aesthetics of the archaic period, the classical period, Hellenistic aesthetics, Eastern Aesthetics, Western Aesthetics, the Renaissance, sixteenth-century visual arts, poetry and music, Italian, English, Spanish and Polish aesthetics of the sixteenth century, Baroque aesthetics, and theories of painting and architecture in the seventeeth century.
Tatarkiewicz (1886-1981) was the most distinguished Polish historian of philosophy of the twentieth century, with an international reputation as an aesthetician and authority in art criticism, the history of art and classical scholarship. The erudition, lucidity and clarity of his writing make this unique work an accessible and invaluable source for the study of the history of aesthetics.
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