Recent decades have witnessed an explosion in neuroscientific and related research treating aesthetic response. This book integrates this research with insights from philosophical aesthetics to propose new answers to longstanding questions about beauty and sublimity. Hogan begins by distinguishing what we respond to as beautiful from what we count socially as beautiful. He goes on to examine the former in terms of information processing (specifically, prototype approximation and n-habitual pattern recognition) and emotional involvement (especially of the endogeus reward and attachment systems). In the course of the book, Hogan examines such issues as how universal principles of aesthetic response may be reconciled with individual idiosyncrasy, how it is possible to argue rationally over aesthetic response, and what role personal beauty and sublimity might play in the definition of art. To treat these issues, the book considers works by Woolf, Wharton, Shakespeare, Arthur Miller, Beethoven, Matisse, and Kiran Rao, among others.
Patrick Colm Hogan is a professor in the Department of English, the Program in Cognitive Science and the Program in Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies at the University of Connecticut. He is the author of seventeen scholarly books, including What Literature Teaches Us about Emotion (Cambridge, 2011) and How Authors' Minds Make Stories (Cambridge, 2013).