A succinct philosophical discussion on the history and development of aesthetics.

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Brutus (Important Nonsense, 2012) presents a slim, concise volume covering a broad history of aesthetics ranging from the ancient philosophers to the postmodern era.

Brutus supplies an excellent, thorough introduction to the philosophy of art. He draws upon a variety of sources across the ages, including both Eastern and Western thinkers. The author rightly notes that conversations surrounding aesthetics and art can be difficult from the start, given the various opinions on whether it’s a subject that should even be broached. Despite these difficulties and differences, Brutus uses a clear, readable style that renders this complex topic accessible. This is not surprising since he spends a fair amount of time analyzing the barriers the human language can present when attempting to grasp such a historically ungraspable concept. His selection of quotes demonstrates how even famously articulate people have trouble finding “the right words to express the urgent things we want to say.” Perhaps the author’s experience as a teacher enables him to condense so many big ideas into such tightly worded paragraphs. This may also explain his uncharacteristically passionate commentary on the efforts of totalitarian societies to restrict and reduce art to mere propaganda, especially through education. He notes, “Much of what passes for ‘education’ in human history is more accurately described as mind control by means of physical and psychological torture.” Brutus includes several pages of quotes and commentaries from those who did find the right words to express the urgent things they wanted to say about the age-old questions about art, and all of them provide rich ideas to ponder.

A succinct philosophical discussion on the history and development of aesthetics.

Pub Date: Aug. 11, 2012

ISBN: 978-1470167035

Page Count: 126

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2013



Dillard’s story reflects maturity and understanding from someone who was forced to mature and understand too much too soon.

A measured memoir from a daughter of the famous family.

Growing up in the Institute of Basic Life Principles community, which she came to realize was “a cult, thriving on a culture of fear and manipulation,” Duggar and her 18 siblings were raised never to question parental authority. As the author recalls, she felt no need to, describing the loving home of her girlhood. When a documentary crew approached her father, Jim Bob, and proposed first a series of TV specials that would be called 17 Kids and Counting (later 18 and 19 Kids and Counting), he agreed, telling his family that this was a chance to share their conservative Christian faith. It was also a chance to become wealthy, but Jill, who was dedicated to following the rules, didn’t question where the money went. A key to her falling out with her family was orchestrated by Jim Bob, who introduced her to missionary Derick Dillard. Their wedding was one of the most-watched episodes of the series. Even though she was an adult, Jill’s parents and the show continued to expect more of the young couple. When they attempted to say no to filming some aspects of their lives, Jill discovered that a sheet of paper her father asked her to sign the day before her wedding was part of a contract in which she had unwittingly agreed to full cooperation. Writing about her sex offender brother, Josh, and the legal action she and Derick had to take to get their questions answered, Jill describes how she was finally able—through therapy, prayer, and the establishment of boundaries—to reconcile love for her parents with Jim Bob’s deception and reframe her faith outside the IBLP.

Dillard’s story reflects maturity and understanding from someone who was forced to mature and understand too much too soon.

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2023

ISBN: 9781668024447

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 27, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2023



This a book of earlier, philosophical essays concerned with the essential "absurdity" of life and the concept that- to overcome the strong tendency to suicide in every thoughtful man-one must accept life on its own terms with its values of revolt, liberty and passion. A dreary thesis- derived from and distorting the beliefs of the founders of existentialism, Jaspers, Heldegger and Kierkegaard, etc., the point of view seems peculiarly outmoded. It is based on the experience of war and the resistance, liberally laced with Andre Gide's excessive intellectualism. The younger existentialists such as Sartre and Camus, with their gift for the terse novel or intense drama, seem to have omitted from their philosophy all the deep religiosity which permeates the work of the great existentialist thinkers. This contributes to a basic lack of vitality in themselves, in these essays, and ten years after the war Camus seems unaware that the life force has healed old wounds... Largely for avant garde aesthetes and his special coterie.

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 1955

ISBN: 0679733736

Page Count: 228

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1955

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