Thierry de Duve's "Aesthetics at Large" w/ Jean-Michel Rabaté

Please join us as we welcome THIERRY DE DUVE
who will discuss his new book AESTHETICS AT LARGE, VOL. 1
with Jean-Michel Rabaté!


Immanuel Kant’s Critique of Judgment, Thierry de Duve argues in the first volume of Aesthetics at Large, is as relevant to the appreciation of art today as it was to the enjoyment of beautiful nature in 1790. Going against the grain of all aesthetic theories situated in the Hegelian tradition, this provocative thesis, which already guided de Duve’s groundbreaking book Kant After Duchamp (1996), is here pursued in order to demonstrate that far from confining aesthetics to a stifling formalism isolated from all worldly concerns, Kant’s guidance urgently opens the understanding of art onto ethics and politics.

Central to de Duve’s re-reading of the Critique of Judgment is Kant’s idea of sensus communis, ultimately interpreted as the mere yet necessary idea that human beings are capable of living in peace with one another. De Duve pushes Kant’s skepticism to its limits by submitting the idea of sensus communis to various tests leading to questions such as: Do artists speak on behalf of all of us? Is art the transcendental ground of democracy? Or, Was Adorno right when he claimed that no poetry could be written after Auschwitz?

Loaded with de Duve’s trademark blend of wit and erudition and written without jargon, these essays radically renew current approaches to some of the most burning issues raised by modern and contemporary art. They are indispensable reading for anyone with a deep interest in art, art history, or philosophical aesthetics.

"Aesthetics at Large is a contemporary rereading of Kant’s third Critique. . . de Duve intends his ‘critique’ of art and aesthetic appreciation to issue in a recovery of a Kantian moral and political thesis apt for our own disturbing time. His proposal is too strong to be ignored: its importance lies in the recovery of the holism of cultural concerns, in a reasoned refusal to treat the aesthetic and the political as easily separated issues, in his novel vindication of the full power of Kant’s thesis for our time."
—Joseph Margolis, Temple University

"In this dazzling collection of essays distinguished by their uncanny combination of authority and accessibility, Thierry de Duve carries on the investigation begun in Kant after Duchamp—here revolving around the implications of Kant’s sensus communis for humanity as an aesthetic, ethical, and political community.  Whether discussing the post-Duchamp condition, Adorno’s problematic Hegelianism, the ethics of the contemporary museum, or the nature of conceptual and minimal art, de Duve establishes himself as possibly the most brilliant art theorist of our time—and certainly the most readable"
—Marjorie Perloff, Stanford University

JEAN-MICHEL RABATÉ, Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Pennsylvania since 1992, is one of editors of the Journal of Modern Literature, chair of the Forum for Philosophy and Literature at the MLA, and co-founder of Slought Foundation, where he organizes exhibitions, conferences, and public conversations. Since 2008, he has been a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Author or editor of more than forty books on modernism, psychoanalysis, philosophy and literary theory, his recent titles include Rust (Bloomsbury, 2018), Kafka L.O.L. (Quodlibet, 2018) and the collection After Derrida (Cambridge U. P., 2018). 

Event date: 
Monday, May 6, 2019 - 6:30pm to 8:00pm
Event address: 
Penn Book Center
130 S. 34th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Aesthetics at Large: Volume 1: Art, Ethics, Politics Cover Image
ISBN: 9780226546735
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: University of Chicago Press - February 27th, 2019

Kant After Duchamp (October Books) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780262540940
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Mit Press - March 2nd, 1998

After Derrida Cover Image
By Jean-Michel Rabate (Editor)
ISBN: 9781108444521
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Cambridge University Press - May 31st, 2018

Rust (Object Lessons) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781501329494
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Bloomsbury Academic - March 8th, 2018