9781137426734The Centre for Medical Humanities is delighted to announce the publication of The Recovery of Beauty: Arts, Medicine, Culture, edited by Corinne Saunders, Jane Macnaughton, and David Fuller. It is a collection that developed from a public lecture series called The Recovery of Beauty, which was hosted by the Centre in collaboration with Durham University’s Department of English Studies and Institute of Advanced Study. Fourteen contributors ranging from award-winning poets to choreographers, literary scholars, historians and philosophers, explore 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 more than a shifting cultural construction, to probe its constants and its value. You can download and read an exclusive excerpt from the Introduction.

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?

Table of Contents
List of illustrations
Notes on the contributors
Introduction; David Fuller, Corinne Saunders, Jane Macnaughton

1. Beautiful Ideas: The Visibility of Truth; Mark McIntosh
2. Beauty, Virtue and Danger in Medieval English Romance; Corinne Saunders
3.Bathing for Beauty in the Middle Ages; Elizabeth Archibald
4. Posture is Beauty; Sander Gilman

5. Beauty, Pain, and Violence: Through Lessing and Nietzsche to King Lear; David Fuller
6. Beauty Writes Literary History: Revisiting the Myth of Bloomsbury; Patricia Waugh
7. ‘Raising Sparks’; An Interview with Michael Symmons Roberts
8. ‘More natural than nature, more artificial than art’; An Interview with David Bintley

9. ‘Elegant’ Surgery: The Beauty of Clinical Expertise; Jane Macnaughton
10. Portraiture, Beauty, Pain; Ludmilla Jordanova
11. War and Beauty: The Act of Unmasking in Pat Barker’s Toby’s Room and Louisa Young’s My Dear, I Wanted to Tell You; Anne Whitehead

12. Beauty in the Brain of the Beholder: Art, Neural Plasticity and Visual Pleasure; John Onians
13. The Pendulum of Taste: Architecture and the Rise of a State Aesthetic; Simon Thurley
14. Beauty and the Sacred; Roger Scruton



This new edition is part of an ongoing work related to the public lecture series called The Recovery of Beauty and joins the previous two titles:

The Body and the Arts
edited by Corinne Saunders, Ulrike Maude and Jane Macnaughton
Read blog post here.

Madness and Creativity in Literature and Culture
edited by Corinne Saunders and Jane Macnaughton



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