Keith Miller reviews four new books on beauty:
There have been certain identifiable refrains in Western writing on beauty. One is that it must be apprehended disinterestedly: that you have to step back from the pleasure part, or rather sternly set aside the liking for pleasure we usually call desire. Beauty should somehow be its own reward rather than something which stimulates or satisfies an appetite for something else. This is easier said than done: Greek statues perturbed Kant sexually; Dutch still lifes made Schopenhauer feel hungry. Love comes in at the eye, says Yeats in “A Drinking Song”, echoing the Neoplatonists of fifteenth-century Italy; and so should beauty, engaging nothing of us below the neck, let alone the waist.
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