Author: Crispin Sartwell
"Beginning with the proposition that not all art is political but all politics is aesthetic, Crispin Sartwell challenges overly sharp distinctions between the domains of art, craft, rhetoric, poetics, and politics. Political Aesthetics is a lively and provocative book highly recommended for all who wish to think deeply about the complex relations between the aesthetic and the political."ùPhilip Alperson, Temple University "Crispin Sartwell's 'poetics of politics' is a fascinating and refreshingly original study of the interplay of aesthetic values and political values. His balance of theory and application results in a book that deserves a wide audience."ùTheodore Gracyk, author of Listening to Popular Music "In Political Aesthetics, Crispin Sartwell writes both clearly and wittily, steers away from gratuitous abstraction, and maintains an engagingly direct tone. Sartwell's work on Nazi aesthetics and Riefenstahl, Speer, and Chaplin is sharp and deft, and his consideration of Republican Classicism in early America offers illuminating ideas about aesthetics of harmony, balance, and repose in relation to classical American concepts of politics and government."ùFrederick M. Dolan, California College of the Arts and University of California, Berkeley, author of Allegories of America Juxtaposing And Connecting the art of states and the art of art historians with vernacular or popular arts such as reggae and hip hop, Crispin Sartwell examines the reach and claims of political aesthetics. Most analysts focus on politics as discursive systems, privileging text and reducing other forms of expression to the merely illustrative. He suggests that we need to take much more seriously the aesthetic environment of political thought and action. Sartwell argues that graphic style, music, and architecture are more than the propaganda arm of political systems; they are its constituents. A noted cultural critic, Sartwell brings together the disciplines of political science and political philosophy, philosophy of art and art history, in a new way, clarifying basic notions of aestheticsùbeauty, sublimity, and representationùand applying them in a political context. A general argument about the fundamental importance of political aesthetics is interspersed with a group of stimulating case studies as disparate as Leni Riefenstahl's films and Black Nationalist aesthetics, the Dead Kennedys and Jeffersonian architecture.