4. The idea that there are distinctive aesthetic values (beauty, for example) by which works of art—or indeed, experience in general—should be judged is controversial. To what degree and in what terms can aesthetic judgments be regarded as “objective?” What are the alternatives to aesthetic valuation? How does the aesthetic justification stand up to these challenges? (Kant, Bourdieu, Benjamin, Achebe?)
5. For more than two millennia, critics and theorists of literature (and art in general) have worried the question of representation. Does the work of art hold a mirror to its time and place? Or does it express the inner thoughts and feelings of the author? How does even the most literal representation edit and alter what it represents? Most of what we have read and discussed deals at some level with these questions. Starting with Auerbach, discuss some of the approaches to the question of representation, whether explicit or implicit, that we have seen in our readings.
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