The Aesthetics of Murder by Joel Black
A Study in Romantic Literature and Contemporary Culture (Parallax: Re-visions of Culture and Society)

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Synopsis

What connects the Romantic essays of Thomas De Quincey and the violent cinema of Brian De Palma? Or the "beautiful" suicides of Hedda Gabler and Yukio Mishima? Or the shootings of John Lennon and Ronald Reagan? In The Aesthetics of Murder, Joel Black explores the sometimes gruesome interplay between life and art, between actual violence and images of violence in a variety of literary texts, paintings, and films.

Rather than exclude murder from critical consideration by dismissing it as a crime, Black urges us to ponder the killer's artistic role -- and our own experience as audience, witness, or voyeur. Black examines murder as a recurring, obsessive theme in the Romantic tradition, approaching the subject from an aesthetic rather than a moral, psychological, or philosophical perspective. And he brings into his discussion contemporary instances of sensational murders and assassinations, treating these as mimetic or cathartic activities in their own right.

Combining historical documentation with theoretical insights, Black shows that the possibilities of representing violence -- and of experiencing it -- as art were recognized early in the nineteenth century as logical extensions of Romantic theories of the sublime. Since then, both traditional art forms and the modern mass media have contributed to the growing aestheticization of violence.

 

About Joel Black

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Romance author Jayne Ann Krentz was born in Borrego Springs, California on March 28, 1948. She received a B.A. in history from the University of California at Santa Cruz and a Masters degree in library science from San Jose State University. Before becoming a full-time author, she worked as a librarian. Her novels include: Truth or Dare, All Night Long, and Copper Beach. She has written under seven different names: Jayne Bentley, Amanda Glass, Stephanie James, Jayne Taylor, Jayne Castle, Amanda Quick and Jayne Ann Krentz. Her first book, Gentle Pirate, was published in 1980 under the name Jayne Castle. She currently uses only three personas to represent her three specialties. She uses the name Jayne Ann Krentz for her contemporary pieces, Amanda Quick for her historical fiction pieces, and Jayne Castle for her futuristic pieces. She has received numerous awards for her work including the 1995 Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice Award for Trust Me, the 2004 Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice Award for Falling Awake, the Romantic Times Career Achievement Award, the Romantic Times Jane Austen Award, and the Susan Koppelman Award for Feminist Studies for Dangerous Men and Adventurous Women: Romance Writers on the Appeal of the Romance.
 
Published September 1, 1991 by Johns Hopkins University Press. 304 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Literature & Fiction, Humor & Entertainment, Travel. Non-fiction

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