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The Beautiful An Introduction to Psychological Aesthetics   By: (1856-1935)

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First Page:

[Note: for this online edition I have moved the Table of Contents to the beginning of the text and slightly modified it to conform with the online format. I have also made two spelling corrections: "chippendale" to "Chippendale" and "closely interpendent" to "closely interdependent."]





Author of "Beauty and Ugliness" "Laurus Nobilis" etc.

Cambridge: at the University Press New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons 1913

[Illustration: title page]

With the exception of the coat of arms at the foot, the design on the title page is a reproduction of one used by the earliest known Cambridge printer, John Siberch, 1521


Preface and Apology v I. The Adjective "Beautiful" 1 II. Contemplative Satisfaction 8 III. Aspects versus Things 14 IV. Sensations 22 V. Perception of Relations 29 VI. Elements of Shape 35 VII. Facility and Difficulty of Grasping 48 VIII. Subject and Object, or, Nominative and Accusative 55 IX. Empathy (Einf├╝hlung) 61 X. The Movement of Lines 70 XI. The Character of Shapes 78 XII. From the Shape to the Thing 84 XIII. From the Thing to the Shape 90 XIV. The Aims of Art 98 XV. Attention to Shapes 106 XVI. Information about Things 111 XVII. Co operation of Things and Shapes 117 XVIII. Aesthetic Responsiveness 128 XIX. The Storage and Transfer of Emotion 139 XX. Aesthetic Irradiation and Purification 147 XXI. Conclusion (Evolutional) 153 Bibliography 156 Index 157


I HAVE tried in this little volume to explain aesthetic preference, particularly as regards visible shapes, by the facts of mental science. But my explanation is addressed to readers in whom I have no right to expect a previous knowledge of psychology, particularly in its more modern developments. I have therefore based my explanation of the problems of aesthetics as much as possible upon mental facts familiar, or at all events easily intelligible, to the lay reader. Now mental facts thus available are by no means the elementary processes with which analytical and, especially experimental, psychology has dealings. They are, on the contrary, the everyday, superficial and often extremely confused views which practical life and its wholly unscientific vocabulary present of those ascertained or hypothetical scientific facts. I have indeed endeavoured (for instance in the analysis of perception as distinguished from sensation) to impart some rudiments of psychology in the course of my aesthetical explanation, and I have avoided, as much as possible, misleading the reader about such fearful complexes and cruxes as memory, association and imagination. But I have been obliged to speak in terms intelligible to the lay reader, and I am fully aware that these terms correspond only very approximately to what is, or at present passes as, psychological fact. I would therefore beg the psychologist (to whom I offer this little volume as a possible slight addition even to his stock of facts and hypotheses) to understand that in speaking, for instance, of Empathy as involving a thought of certain activities, I mean merely that whatever happens has the same result as if we thought ; and that the processes, whatever they may be (also in the case of measuring, comparing and co ordinating), translate themselves, when they are detected, into thoughts; but that I do not in the least pre judge the question whether the processes, the "thoughts," the measuring, comparing etc... Continue reading book >>

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