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Homo Aestheticus: Where Art Comes From and Why.

HOMO AESTHETICUS: Where Art Comes From and Why. Ellen Dissanayake. New York: The Free Press (Macmillan, Inc.), 1992. 297 pp., hardcover, $24.95.

This book, like the author's earlier work, What Is Art For?, calls upon the reader to think deeply about the cultural imperative of the arts in this thoughtful study of art as a cultural imperative. In her study of the aesthetic or artistic dimension of humans, Dissanayake discusses ritual, play and art in many cultures as preface to the introduction of Making Special, a concept that characterizes art as the desire to make some things special--a biologically defined need. Not content to rest on her well-researched and referenced cultural/ scientific premise, the writer also stimulates thinking as she delves into the genesis, place and implications of Postmodernism in current critical thought. Not easy reading, but a valuable and convincing argument for viewing the arts as one of the necessities of life.
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Copyright 1992, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Publication:School Arts
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Oct 1, 1992
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