The Return of Beauty - About the relationship of memory and aesthetic experience



Year of publication 2019
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description According to the famous Stendhal’s statement, “in beauty there is the memory of bliss”. Through the experience of beauty, we are given another kind of beauty that is stored in our memory. However, there is an opposite possibility. In my contribution The Return of Beauty I will discuss the relationship of memory and aesthetic experience. The first part of the paper will focus on the issue of aesthetic experience based on two famous analyses by H. G. Gadamer and John Dewey. Both of these approaches will be criticized, revised, and finally set to the third. In this model, I distinguish two types of aesthetic experience: the first type of experience takes place at the time when we contemplate the aesthetic object. The second type of experience is a kind of personal quality, a kind of cultural capital that has been formed on the basis of the experience of the first type. In this part of the paper, the basic concepts and terms related to aesthetic experience (contemplation, perception, distance and lack of interest) will be discussed. The second part will introduce the issue of memory and its relation to the above presented types of aesthetic experience. Everything will be demonstrated by the method of analytical interpretation of Marcel Proust’s artistic practice (In Search of Lost Time) and theory (Contra Saint-Beuve). The distribution of reception of the work, its action, and the responding phase will be discussed. An additional moment will be assigned to them, and that is the re-opening and re-emergence of beauty. The main question of the paper is the following: is there a way of knowing the beauty through recollection? Is it possible to reunite with beauty? How does aesthetic experience change over time? Does a new beauty appear, or does the beauty experienced earlier change?
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