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Monthly Book Challenge > History of Beauty

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message 1: by Heather (new)

Heather | 4 comments History of Beauty will be our next book read starting December 1, 2010 to January 31, 2011. Since it has a little over 400 pages, we can read around 50 pages/week and finish by the end of January. I think this book looks like it's going to be a good one! HAPPY READING!

"'What is beauty? What is art? What is taste and fashion? Is beauty something to be observed coolly and rationally or is it something dangerously involving? So begins Umberto Eco's journey into the aesthetics of beauty, a journey in which he explores the ever-changing concept of the beautiful from the ancient Greeks to today and questions the values that accompany the way we today register beauty, both past and present. While closely examining the development of the visual arts, and drawing on works of literature from each era, he broadens his enquiries to consider a range of concepts, including the idea of love, the unattainable woman, natural inspiration versus numeric formulas, and the continuing importance of ugliness, cruelty, and even the demonic." In this, his first illustrated book, Professor Eco offers a layered approach that includes a running narrative, abundant examples of painting and sculpture, and lengthy quotations from writers and philosophers of each age, in addition to comparative tables."


message 2: by Heather (new)

Heather | 4 comments How are we today? This should be the first day to start reading History of Beauty. No worries if you haven't been able to get your hands on it yet, I haven't either! We can start the comments regarding what we've read in the first 50 pages next Wednesday.

Hope everyone enjoys the book, I, for one, am looking forward to reading it!

Happy Reading!!!


message 3: by Carol (new)

Carol (goodreadscomcarolann) | 1140 comments Aesthetic Ideal in Ancient Greece --


Laocoon, Athenodoros, Agesander, and Polydorus, first century BC, marble, Vatican City, Musei Vaticani


A close up of Lacoon’s face (flipped image) depicts his physical and psychological pain.

Lacoon was a Trojan Priest who warned the Trojans not to accept the Greek wooded horse. He inserted his spear into one side of the Trojan Horse to see if it was empty. In order to prevent Laocoon from discovering the Greeks inside the horse, Poseidon and Athena immediately sent 2 serpents to kill him and his sons. Advancing straight to the spot where Laocoon stood with his two sons, the serpents wrapped their coils around the children. Laocoon struggled to tear them away, but they overpowered him and strangled him and his sons.


message 4: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 1948 comments This is a late work though, from the Hellenistic period, when Greek sculpture finally lost its cool, calm, rationalistic beauty and allowed the expression of emotion and beauty that was not carved from a set of standard ideals.


message 5: by Heather (new)

Heather | 4 comments How's the reading coming? I still don't have the book, I think I'm getting it for Christmas. Hopefully I can catch up on the reading for the month of December!

Does anyone have any comments so far? Thank you Ruth and Carol for the interesting info. I love that particular sculpture, but of course sculpture is my medium of choice!


message 6: by Monica (new)

Monica | 909 comments I don't even have the book yet!


message 7: by Kelley (new)

Kelley (kelleyls) | 23 comments I'm afraid I just returned it to the library. It's well-covered ground and de Kooning: An American Master is calling.


message 8: by Natasha (new)

Natasha | 5 comments I'm afraid of being an offense to smb's feelings, but for me this book is like the illustrated children's book. If I were 9, I would enjoy reading it. The author's tried to embrace the unembraceable. Besides, in my view, it's not correct to compare works of Ancient Greek arts to photos of movie stars.
What I like about "History of Beauty" is that it makes me go deep into the matter and use other sources of information.
These are only my first impressions...Perhaps, I'll appreciate the book a lot more then I think I will.


message 9: by Heather (new)

Heather | 4 comments Well, it's been two weeks since we started reading The History of Beauty. We should be on or around pg 100 by now. I still don't have the book. It's supposed to come in the mail any day now.

I'm sorry Kelly and Natalie, that you were disappointed in this book. I hope there are other group members who will find it an enjoyable and educating read. I am still looking forward to reading it! Hopefully soon I will be able to contribute to a discussion.


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