Literary Aesthetics: A Reader, edited by Allen Dunn and Alan Singer, was published by Wiley-Blackwell in 2001. It is one of the ironies of contemporary literary study that as it has moved toward greater interdisciplinarity it has grown sceptical of the aesthetic. This anthology reasserts the continuing relevance of the aesthetic and to reintegrate it into the widening repertoire of contemporary literary critical practices.
From its inception literary aesthetics has been engaged in the full range of debates generated by the criticism of culture. Unlike the more restricted discourse of philosophical aesthetics, it has explored the ways in which value commitments extend across disciplinary domains by reckoning with the practical concerns of art production and consumption.The readings in this anthology reach back to classical sources of philosophical aesthetics and forward to the most current accounts of the utility/value of the literary artwork in post-modern culture. The organization of the text is designed to engage the reader in the shaping debates of literary aesthetic theory and demonstrate their continuing relevance for our understanding of the ways literature sustains and critiques culture.
“This volume can be strongly recommended as a first reader in aesthetics for interested students of literature.” Reference Reviews