1st Edition

Tolstoy on Aesthetics
What is Art?

ISBN 9781138703292
Published November 27, 2019 by Routledge
124 Pages

USD $115.00

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

This title was first published in 2001: Tolstoy's view of art is discussed in most courses in aesthetics, particularly his main text What is Art? He believed that the importance of art lies not in its purely aesthetic qualities but in its connection with life, and that art becomes decadent where this connection is lost. This view has often been misconceived and its strength overlooked. This book presents a clear exposition of Tolstoy's What is Art?, highlighting the value and importance of Tolstoy's views in relation to aesthetics. Mounce considers the problems which exercised Tolstoy and explains their fundamental importance in contemporary disputes. Having viewed these problems of aesthetics as they arise in a classic work, Howard Mounce affords readers fresh insights not simply into the problems of aesthetics themselves, but also into their contemporary treatment. Students and interested readers of aesthetics and philosophy, as well as those exploring the works of Tolstoy in literature, will find this book of particular interest and will discover that reading What is Art? with attention, affords something of the excitement found in removing the grime from an oil painting - gradually from underneath there appears an authentic masterpiece.

Table of Contents

Preface; The background; Art and society; The problem; The central features; Art and morality; Art in history; Decadent art; Wagner; Summary and elaboration; Alternative theories; Shakespeare; Afterword; Bibliography.

View More



H.O. Mounce


'... this effort must be applauded, for it gives any contemporary aesthetician accustomed to dismissing outright Tolstoy's aesthetics pause to consider.' Mind