What Good are the Arts?

Front Cover
Oxford University Press, 2006 - Art - 286 pages
Hailed as "exhilarating and suggestive" (Spectator), "thought-provoking and entertaining" (David Lodge, Sunday Times), and "incisive and inspirational" (Guardian), What Good are the Arts? offers a delightfully skeptical look at the nature of art. John Carey--one of Britain's most respected literary critics--here cuts through the cant surrounding the fine arts, debunking claims that the arts make us better people or that judgments about art are anything more than personal opinion. But Carey does argue strongly for the value of art as an activity and for the superiority of one art in particular: literature. Literature, he contends, is the only art capable of reasoning, and the only art that can criticize. Literature has the ability to inspire the mind and the heart towards practical ends far better than any work of conceptual art. Here then is a lively and stimulating invitation to debate the value of art, a provocative book that "anyone seriously interested in the arts should read" (Michael Dirda, The Washington Post).
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - demot - LibraryThing

This book is not quite what you might think from the cover. It suggests it may be an enquiry into The Arts, but in fact it is a 100 page defence of the value of literary fiction and poetry, prefaced ... Read full review

What good are the arts?

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

"People in the West have been saying extravagant things about the arts for two and a half centuries," sighs Carey, Professor of English at Oxford and eminent critic, at the outset of this witty and ... Read full review

Contents

The Case for Literature
169
Afterword
249
Bibliography
261
Notes
271
Index
279
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About the author (2006)

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John Carey is the Chief Book Reviewer for The Sunday Times (London).

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