We are pleased to offer for review ‘The Recovery of Beauty: Arts, Culture Medicine‘ edited by Professors Corinne Saunders, Jane Macnaughton, and David Fuller of the Centre for Medical Humanities (Palgrave, 2015).
The Recovery of Beauty comprises fourteen essays exploring what constitutes beauty across time in Western thought and art, its shaping and sustained cultural role, and its relation to a fully human existence. The book engages with the need to rescue beauty, not just to keep alive traditions of thought, but also to reinstate beauty as something more than a shifting cultural construction, to probe its constants and its value.
Many of the essays engage with the cultural history of beauty and of its recovery, exploring the development of conceptions of beauty across time, the ways in which tensions are inherent in cultural understandings of beauty, the differences and continuities between past and present ideas of beauty, and the intersection of the aesthetic with the moral and spiritual. Literature provides a particular focus, but the book engages too with medicine and cosmetic surgery, philosophy, theology, visual arts, architecture and dance. Recurrent themes are the human need for beauty, its links to truth and understanding, and also its deceptive dangers. Finally, the book asks: does beauty have a restorative or healing agency?
If you would like to review ‘The Recovery of Beauty‘ (no more than 1,000 words in length), then please consult our reviewer’s guidelines and email our reviews editor with a short explanation of why you are well placed to review the book.