Jonathan Rée reviews Roger Scruton's book on beauty:
After laying out his conception of beauty and its relation to morality and sacredness, Scruton sets off to explore it in its various forms, starting with the beauties of nature. He maintains, for instance, that the beauty of unspoilt wildernessof mountains and plains and open skiesdepends on an evident absence of any fixed centre, a lack of prescribed edges. If you go up the hill or round the corner, or simply hang around watching the light change, there will always be new views to admire. The beauty of birds, animals and flowers, on the other hand, is rooted in their existence as self-defining entities with boundaries of their own. And the special beauty of the human body belongs not to a mere assemblage of body parts but to the personality that finds expression in it, especially through the face. Even a stony-hearted cynic is liable to be impressed by the sight of a graceful child or a moonlit sky with scudding clouds, or by coming upon a demure cowslip or spotting the blended plumage of a pheasant. Natural beauty gives you “an enhanced sense of belonging,” as Scruton puts ita sense that “a world that makes room for such things makes room for you.”
(Image by flickr user James Jordan)
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.