By Grabes, Herbert

This compact, integral evaluate solutions a vexed query: Why accomplish that many works of contemporary and postmodern literature and paintings look designed to seem 'strange', and the way can they nonetheless reason excitement within the beholder? to assist conquer the preliminary barrier because of this 'strangeness', the overall reader is given an preliminary, non-technical description of the 'aesthetic of the unusual' because it is skilled within the studying or viewing method. There follows a wide survey of recent and postmodern tendencies, illustrating their brilliant style and making undeniable the manifold tools and techniques followed through writers and artists to 'make it strange'. The ebook closes with a scientific precis of the theoretical underpinnings of the 'aesthetic of the strange', focussing at the ways that it differs from either the sooner 'aesthetic of the gorgeous' and the 'aesthetic of the sublime'. it's made amply transparent that the strangeness attribute of contemporary and postmodern artwork has ushered in a completely new, 'third' form of aesthetic - one who has gone through extra transformation during the last 20 years. past its usefulness as a pragmatic creation to the 'aesthetic of the strange', the current learn additionally takes up the latest, state of the art points of scholarly debate, whereas initiates are provided an unique method of the theoretical implications of this seminal phenomenon

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19 The only problem was that the viewer – and I will discuss this point more extensively at a later point – could not easily infer this from the paintings without a knowledge of the theosophical speculations of the artist. What he saw were strict geometrical lines and colours in a wellbalanced combination – which indeed could have been regarded as possessing a certain beauty if they had not been so unusual. Despite a number of similar tendencies, in the realm of the literary it was fundamentally not possible to achieve total abstraction.

20 It is for this reason that estrangement results more exclusively from the encounter with the strange itself and not from practical fears connected with it in other areas of life. By the same token, the process of dealing with strangeness can take place in a more relaxed fashion because there is no pressure for it to be successful. This process allows us to develop our creativity freely and allows us to reflect upon our own reaction to what appears strange to us, since we are neither under time pressure nor under the pressure of having to make a practical decision.

Faced, however, with the real destructive violence of the First World War, this celebration – in the name of vitalism – of destructive irrational powers quickly turned into just as expressive conjurations of pure horror (Wilhelm Klemm, “Schlacht an der Marne”; Albert Ehrenstein, “Der Kriegsgott”) and later even to ecstatic visions of peace (Alfred Wolfenstein, “Die Friedensstadt”; René Schickele, “Abschwur”). These were linguistic metaphors for desires, visions of horror, and an emotionally loaded experience of reality – they are separated from romantic portraits of the soul by an abyss.

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