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Encyclopedia of Aesthetics

Edited by Michael Kelly (1998)

Encyclopedia of Aesthetics

  • RUSA Outstanding Reference Source
  • Choice Outstanding Academic Title

The Encyclopedia of Aesthetics is the most substantial English-language reference work devoted solely to the exploration of this subject. Featuring more than 600 articles by more than 500 globally recognized art historians, philosophers, and theorists, this encyclopedia provides coverage of historical accounts and critical discussions on the subject. While aesthetics is often thought of as a Western tradition beginning in the 18th century, the roots of an interdisciplinary critical approach to art and culture run far deeper – from the Classical era through the Renaissance and up to the present day. From Plato to Heidegger, Romanticism to Post-Modernism, Beauty to Ugliness, this authoritative source provides an even representation of the wide range of competing ideas in the field today. This encyclopedia surveys the full breadth of critical thought on art, culture, and society; it is a comprehensive survey of major concepts, thinkers, and debates about the meaning, uses, and value of all the arts – from painting and sculpture to literature, music, theater, dance, television, film, and popular culture. Of special interest are in-depth surveys of Western aesthetics and broad coverage of non-Western traditions and theories of art. The full text of this reference work is available and searchable within Oxford Art Online, and is cross-searchable with other resources.

The 2nd edition of the encyclopedia published in 2014, and this resource is available online through Oxford Reference, the multi-disciplinary platform for Oxford’s reference publications.


"This is the first comprehensive reference source available in an area that concerns several academic disciplines...authoritative and accessible, providing scholars and students, practicing artists, and social scientists with an illuminating guide to historical and contemporary scholarship."
Library Journal

"Will become an immediate reference classic . . . an essential purchase for academic libraries, arts and humanities collections, and larger public libraries."

"This outstanding work offers depth and breadth, exploring thoroughly the core issues of aesthetics and offering informative overviews of related fields....A unique work of splendid scholarship, readable and reliable, highly recommended for the collection of any library serving a liberal arts program, undergraduate or graduate level."

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