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Avenues to Beauty : Eight Essays in Aesthetics

Sushil Kumar Saxena, Sangeet Natak Akademi, 2009, ix, 243 p, ISBN : 9788124605332, $32.00 (Includes free airmail shipping)

Avenues to Beauty : Eight Essays in Aesthetics

Contents: Preface. 1. Aesthetics Today. 2. Embodiment and the Quest for Key Aesthetic Concepts. 3. The Aesthetic Attitude. 4. Aesthetic Theory and Hindustani Rhythm. 5. Music and Silence. 6. Hindustani Rhythm and an Aesthetical Issue. 7. Attenborough’s Gandhi : An Essay in Understanding. 8. The Rasa Theory : Its Meaning and Relevance. Bibliography. Index.

This book may well be expected to interest one and all, if only because of the diversity of its content and the way it has been presented.

It has something of value for lovers of both contemporary and traditional thinking on the arts. Essays on Aesthetics Today, The Quest for Key Aesthetic Concepts and The Aesthetic Attitude relate explicitly to present-day aesthetics; and the one on Rasa Theory may well be able to provide some new insights to those who are not averse to looking anew at this impressive foray of traditional Indian thinkers into the region of aesthetics.

However, the essay which is most likely to draw and hold readers attention because of the tantalizing appearance, so to say, of its very subject is the one on Music and Silence. Very few aestheticians have written on it so far; and nowhere, except in this book, is the reference all along to Hindustani music. Nor has our rhythm ever been written on in the way it appears in this book, in terms of the following essays: Hindustani Rhythm and Aesthetic Theory and Hindustani Rhythm and an Aesthetical Issue.

As for the essay on Attenborough’s classic film Gandhi, it may well make readers realize, in happy wonderment, how much they failed to mark when they saw it. Indeed, there is no reason why analytic writing on art should not make us ever more sensitive to the numberless creative devices it employs with delightful effect.

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