Six Names of Beauty  book cover
1st Edition

Six Names of Beauty

ISBN 9781003070757
Published July 24, 2020 by Routledge
160 Pages

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Book Description

Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but it's also in the language we use and everywhere in the world around us. In this elegant, witty, and ultimately profound meditation on what is beautiful, Crispin Sartwell begins with six words from six different cultures - ancient Greek's 'to kalon', the Japanese idea of 'wabi-sabi', Hebrew's 'yapha', the Navajo concept 'hozho', Sanskrit 'sundara', and our own English-language 'beauty'.

Each word becomes a door onto another way of thinking about, and looking at, what is beautiful in the world, and in our lives. In Sartwell's hands these six names of beauty - and there could be thousands more - are revealed as simple and profound ideas about our world and our selves.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments -- Foreword -- 1.Beauty English, the object of longing -- 2.Yapha Hebrew, glow, bloom -- 3.Sundara Sanskrit, holiness -- 4.To Kalon Greek, idea, ideal -- 5.Wabi-Sabi Japanese, humility, imperfection -- 6.Hozho Navajo, health, harmony -- Coda -- Notes -- Illustrations -- Index.

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Crispin Sartwell teaches at Dickinson College. The author of several books, he is also a syndicated columnist whose work appears regularly in the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Los Angeles Times.


"A small book with a large theme, Six Names of Beauty invites the reader to consider the nature of beauty by looking at it through the prism of six different languages/cultures -- English, Hebrew, Sanskrit, Greek, Japanese, and Navajo. Enlightening..
." -- Art Times
"Crispin Sartwell not only speaks with a fresh and distinctive voice, he says fresh and distinctive things. Pursuing the word for beauty through six different cultures, Sartwell illuminates its richness and breadth through a multitude of fascinating meditations that range from the fine arts to the popular ones: from rock to reggae, fireworks and perfume to Grünewald and Brueghel, from Plato and Frege to Emerson and Confucius. SartwellD>'s commentaries are perceptive and often profound but never pretentious, and his personal, informal style is engaging. This book will fascinate the reader who delights in curious but illuminating observations that extend from everyday life and popular culture to philosophy and the insights of non-Western traditions." -- Arnold Berleant, author of Re-thinking Aesthetics: Rogue Essays on Aesthetics and the Arts
"Crispin Sartwell has written a classic book on experiencing the world aesthetically. It is rich with real examples and personal knowledge of the way each of the six names of beauty discloses a different mode of beauty's meaning in human life. The book has the clarity and acuity of philosophy at its best, without jargon or dogma or the kind of heaviness that typically weighs down the discussion of what should be marvelous to think about. I enjoyed it greatly, and would recommend it as an antidote to those that believe aesthetics is marginal or minor, and a treat for those who realize that beauty is what gives value to life at its best." -- Arthur C. Danto, Johnsonian Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at Columbia University, and author of The Abuse of Beauty