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Herbert Marcuse: An Aesthetics of Liberation…
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Herbert Marcuse: An Aesthetics of Liberation (Modern European Thinkers) (edição: 2011)

de Malcolm Miles (Autor)

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"When capitalism is clearly catastrophically out of control and its excesses cannot be sustained socially or ecologically, the ideas of Herbert Marcuse become as relevant as they were in the 1960s. This is the first English introduction to Marcuse to be published for decades, and deals specifically with his aesthetic theories and their relation to a critical theory of society. Although Marcuse is best known as a critic of consumer society, epitomised in the classic One-Dimensional Man, Malcolm Miles provides an insight into how Marcuse's aesthetic theories evolved within his broader attitudes, from his anxiety at the rise of fascism in the 1930s through heady optimism of the 1960s, to acceptance in the 1970s that radical art becomes an invaluable progressive force when political change has become deadlocked. Marcuse's aesthetics of liberation, in which art assumes a primary role in interrupting the operation of capitalism, made him a key figure for the student movement in the 1960s. As diverse forms of resistance rise once more, a new generation of students, scholars and activists will find Marcuse's radical theory essential to their struggle"--Publisher's website.… (mais)
Membro:Dale_Jacquette
Título:Herbert Marcuse: An Aesthetics of Liberation (Modern European Thinkers)
Autores:Malcolm Miles (Autor)
Informação:Pluto Press (2012), 208 pages
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Herbert Marcuse: An Aesthetics of Liberation de Malcolm Miles

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In our contemporary world where books on philosophy and philosophers tend to be overly analytic and highly technical, specialists writing for specialists, Malcolm Miles is most refreshing. This is a book that can be read and understood and enjoyed by anybody with an interest in Herbert Marcuse specifically or the social and cultural interplay of art, aesthetics and creative protest more generally. In order to give a taste of the insights a reader can expect, I will cite direct quotes from the book along with my brief comments.

In the first chapter, Aesthetics and the Reconstruction of Society, Miles gives us an overview of Marcuse's view of art's social function. We read, "I think that Marcuse argues that aesthetics is politics, taking a world of fiction - or imagined reality - as an oblique route to real change. Art has a potential to rupture the codes and categories of how the world is seen, to imagine the world not as it is but as it might be. There is an alternative to the way things are. It begins in imagination; the problem is how imagined worlds become material worlds."

Malcolm Miles provides us with the historical and cultural framework within which Marcuse worked from the 1930s right through the 1970s, including Marxism's theory on the role of art. Also included are Marcuse's views on Marxism. Miles writes: "Marcuse rejects Socialist Realism, as a devise for social control; the possibility for art is to rupture such mechanisms."

In The Artist and Social Theory, Miles reflects on Marcuse's thesis on the novel with references to such German and non-German authors as Goethe, Mann, Dostoevsky, Gorkey, Baudelaire. He writes: "What emerges is the significance of art for Marcuse, not merely as a profession but as a vehicle for negation of unfreedom when political conditions are not open to radical change."



Miles then touches on other subjects, including Marcuse's association with the Frankford School, the first Marxist-oriented research center in Germany, a research center whose members included Theodor W. Adorno and Max Horkheimer. Again, the author writes on the historical and social context of Marcuse's philosophical development, alluding to, for example, how the school came into conflict with the Nazis in the 1930s and was closed down.

My favorite chapter is where the author reconsiders Marcuse's response to the student movement of the 1960s. with particular focus on Marcuse's idea of a society as a work of art. Included in those mentioned from these colorful, wild times are the Merry Pranksters, Allen Ginsberg, Timothy Leary, Joan Didion and the San Francisco Mime Troupe. Addressing a crowd of hippies, intellectuals and political activists in 1971, Miles quotes Marcuse as saying, "I am very happy to see so many flowers here and that is why I want to remind you that flowers, by themselves, have no power whatsoever, other than the power of men and women who protect them and take care of them against aggression and destruction."

Miles adds that Marcuse continued his speech by highlighting the need to liberate both the intellect and the body and "that liberation emerges from within a system as a product of the falseness of the system's values."

This rings true for me on a personal level since all of my life as an American I have had to fight through the system of mass culture - intolerable muzak, pop and rock, insipid advertisements, mindless television, suffocating conformity - in order to liberate my mind and body via philosophy, literature, classical and world music, the arts, meditation and yoga.

What would society as a work of art look like? The author notes how Marcuse "speculates that play and imagination will reconfigure the cities and the countryside, restoring nature after its exploitation in capitalism. But this also involves provision of space for privacy and tranquility, and the elimination of noise, captive audiences, of enforced togetherness, of pollution, ugliness."

Well, my goodness! How much has our world increased in pollution, ugliness and noise over the past forty years since Marcuse's words? What a different world it would be if more people and institutions took Marcuse to heart!

In conclusion, here are my favorites two quote:

"The shock-effect represented by Heartfield was necessary, exposing the contradictions of Nazi rhetoric in ways which were both visually sophisticated and genuinely funny."

How true! The German artist Helmut Herzfeld changed his name to John Heartfield in protest of German anti-English sentiments and John Heartfield's montages of Hitler and other Nazis as twisted, ugly specimens of mechanized overstuffed humanity are spot-on.

On the English group Freee Art Collective and their work within the past ten years: "What I respect in their refusal to let go of the idea that history might be driven by protest, or that to say this is contagious. Within art's world, but contesting its values, Freee offer one example of how contemporary art can interrupt, and in process enact other, more democratic but also personal ideas of what the world might be, against capital's rhetoric that there is no alternative. Money may drive most history now; but to claim that protest drives it is revolutionary art."

( )
  Glenn_Russell | Nov 13, 2018 |
In our contemporary world where books on philosophy and philosophers tend to be overly analytic and highly technical, specialists writing for specialists, Malcolm Miles is most refreshing. This is a book that can be read and understood and enjoyed by anybody with an interest in Herbert Marcuse specifically or the social and cultural interplay of art, aesthetics and creative protest more generally. In order to give a taste of the insights a reader can expect, I will cite a quote or two or three from several chapters along with my brief comments.

In the first chapter, Aesthetics and the Reconstruction of Society, the author gives us an overview of Marcuse's view of art's function within society, We read: "I think that Marcuse argues that aesthetics is politics, taking a world of fiction - or imagined reality - as an oblique route to real change. . . . art has a potential to rupture the codes and categories of how the world is seen, to imagine the world not as it is but as it might be. There is an alternative to the way things are. It begins in imagination; the problem is how imagined worlds become material worlds." Malcolm Miles also gives us the historical and cultural framework within which Marcuse worked from the 1930s right through the 1970s, including Marxism's view of the role of art. Marcuse's views on Marxism and the forms of art in this period are also included. Miles writes: "Marcuse rejects Socialist Realism, as a devise for social control; the possibility for art is to rupture such mechanisms."

In The Artist and Social Theory, Miles reflects on Marcuse's thesis on the German artist novel the philosopher wrote in 1922, with references to such German and non-German authors as Goethe, Mann, Dostoevsky, Gorkey, Baudelaire. We read: "What emerges is the significance of art for Marcuse, not merely as a profession but as a vehicle for negation of unfreedom when political conditions are not open to radical change." Miles then touches on other subjects, including Marcuse's association with the Frankford School, the first Marxist-oriented research center in Germany, which included the likes of Theodor W. Adorno and Max Horkheimer. Again, the author writes on the historical and social context of Marcuse's philosophical development, alluding to, for example, how the school came into conflict with the Nazis in the 1930s and was closed down.

My favorite chapter is where the author reconsiders Marcuse's response to the student movement of the 1960s. with particular focus on Marcuse's idea of a society as a work of art. Included in those mentioned from these colorful and wild times are the Merry Pranksters, Allen Ginsberg, Timothy Leary, Joan Didion and the San Francisco Mime Troupe. Addressing a crowd of hippies, intellectuals and political activists in 1971 Miles quotes Marcuse as saying, "I am very happy to see so many flowers here and that is why I want to remind you that flowers, by themselves, have no power whatsoever, other than the power of men and women who protect them and take care of them against aggression and destruction."

Miles adds that Marcuse continued his speech by highlighting the need to liberate both the intellect and the body and 'that liberation emerges from within a system as a product of the falseness of the system's values.'" This rings true for me on a personal level since all of my life as an American I have had to fight through the system of mass culture - intolerable muzak, pop and rock, insipid advertisements, mindless television, suffocating conformity - in order to liberate my mind and body via philosophy, literature, classical and world music, the arts, meditation and yoga.

What would society as a work of art look like? The author notes how Marcuse "speculates that play and imagination will reconfigure the cities and the countryside, restoring nature after its exploitation in capitalism. But this also involves provision of space for privacy and tranquility, and `the elimination of noise, captive audiences, of enforced togetherness, of pollution, ugliness.'" Well, my goodness! How much has our world increased in pollution, ugliness and noise over the past 40 years since Marcuse's words? What a different world it would be if more people and institutions took Marcuse to heart!

In conclusion, here are two of my favorites from the book:

1) Miles writes about his own position "the shock-effect represented by Heartfield was necessary, exposing the contradictions of Nazi rhetoric in ways which were both visually sophisticated and genuinely funny." How true! The German artist Helmut Herzfeld changed his name to John Heartfield in protest of German anti-English sentiments and John Heartfield's montages of Hitler and other Nazis as twisted, evil, ugly specimens of mechanized overstuffed humanity are spot-on.

2) He ends his book with words on the Freee Art Collective's work within the past 10 years; "What I respect in their refusal to let go of the idea that history might be driven by protest, or that to say this is contagious. Within art's world, but contesting its values, Freee offer one example of how contemporary art can interrupt, and in process enact other, more democratic but also personal ideas of what the world might be, against capital's rhetoric that there is no alternative. Money may drive most history now; but to claim that protest drives it is revolutionary art."

( )
  GlennRussell | Feb 16, 2017 |
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"When capitalism is clearly catastrophically out of control and its excesses cannot be sustained socially or ecologically, the ideas of Herbert Marcuse become as relevant as they were in the 1960s. This is the first English introduction to Marcuse to be published for decades, and deals specifically with his aesthetic theories and their relation to a critical theory of society. Although Marcuse is best known as a critic of consumer society, epitomised in the classic One-Dimensional Man, Malcolm Miles provides an insight into how Marcuse's aesthetic theories evolved within his broader attitudes, from his anxiety at the rise of fascism in the 1930s through heady optimism of the 1960s, to acceptance in the 1970s that radical art becomes an invaluable progressive force when political change has become deadlocked. Marcuse's aesthetics of liberation, in which art assumes a primary role in interrupting the operation of capitalism, made him a key figure for the student movement in the 1960s. As diverse forms of resistance rise once more, a new generation of students, scholars and activists will find Marcuse's radical theory essential to their struggle"--Publisher's website.

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