The Work of Art: Immanence and Transcendence

The Work of Art: Immanence and Transcendence


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What art is—its very nature—is the subject of this book by one of the most distinguished continental theorists writing today. Informed by the aesthetics of Nelson Goodman and referring to a wide range of cultures, contexts, and media, The Work of Art seeks to discover, explain, and define how art exists and how it works. To this end, Gérard Genette explores the distinction between a work of art's immanence—its physical presence—and transcendence—the experience it induces. That experience may go far beyond the object itself.

Genette situates art within the broad realm of human practices, extending from the fine arts of music, painting, sculpture, and literature to humbler but no less fertile fields such as haute couture and the culinary arts. His discussion touches on a rich array of examples and is bolstered by an extensive knowledge of the technology involved in producing and disseminating a work of art, regardless of whether that dissemination is by performance, reproduction, printing, or recording. Moving beyond examples, Genette proposes schemata for thinking about the different manifestations of a work of art. He also addresses the question of the artwork's duration and mutability.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780801431593
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Publication date: 05/08/1997
Series: 9/28/2005
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.89(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Gérard Genette teaches at l'Ecole des Hautes en Science Sociales, Paris. He is the author of many books, including three published in translation by Cornell. G. M. Goshgarian is the translator of several books from Cornell, including The Jew and the Other and Three Women in Dark Times: Edith Stein, Hannah Arendt, Simone Weil.

What People are Saying About This

Eyal Segal

"The lucidity, elegance, and sophistication that have always characterized Genette's writing are present in his new study as well."

Paisley Livingston

"Genette's exploration of the ontology of art builds a bridge between poststructuralist and analytic work on the theory of the arts. I see Genette's move in the direction of a sophisticated fusion of continental and analytic sources as a highly promising event."

Harold F. Mosher

"One must admire these books for their interesting and well-chosen examples, drawn from a wide-ranging experience in practically all the arts, and for their well-informed thoughtfulness....Those interested in an aesthetic theory applicable to all the arts will find these volumes informative, provocative, challenging, and quite rewarding."

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