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Savoring Disgust – The Foul and the Fair in Aesthetics - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Savoring Disgust: The Foul and the Fair in Aesthetics

Carolyn Korsmeyer


Disgust is among the strongest of aversions, characterized by involuntary physical recoil and even nausea. Yet paradoxically, disgusting objects can sometimes exert a grisly allure, and this emotion can constitute a positive, appreciative aesthetic response when exploited by works of art—a phenomenon we might consider “aesthetic disgust.” While the reactive, visceral power of disgust contributes to its misleading reputation as a relatively “primitive” response mechanism, it is this feature that also gives it a particular aesthetic power when manifest in art. Most treatments of disgust mistaken ... More

Keywords: aesthetics, disgust, aesthetic appreciation, emotions in art, disgusting food, sublime, beauty

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2011 Print ISBN-13: 9780199756940
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199756940.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Carolyn Korsmeyer, author
University at Buffalo
Author Webpage

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