December 2010
10 black and white illustrations
160 pages
19.6x12.8 cm
Plumbago Books


Aphorisms, Thoughts and Maxims on Life, Art and Music

Christopher Wintle

Wintle's 'aphorisms, thoughts and maxims' probe life and art - music, song and opera, and are richly augmented with a series of illustrations by the celebrated Anglo-Brazilian artist, Ana Maria Pacheco.
Among the ancients, instruction in drama and letters - poetics - mixed craft, precept and criticism quite freely; in our time, pedagogy, aesthetics and critical theory are usually kept firmly apart. This collection of 'aphorisms, thoughts and maxims' repairs something of the split by organizing the precepts that stand behind the making and reception of the arts into a unified 'metapoetics'. The book reflects on its own lapidary manner, investigates three representative theatres of life (power, love and death), and asserts our continuing need for the Gods and magic. It then moves from life into art, explores art, artists and the ethics of art, argues for the continuing relevance of notions of beauty, truth and genius, ponders style, and probes music, song and opera. Finally it returns to 'life' with thoughts on criticism and its practise. An appendix addresses other arts, notably film. The main text, which is both serious and witty, is illuminated throughout with examples from writings and culture of all periods. The book is richly illustrated with a set of mythic Beasts by the celebrated Anglo-Brazilian artist, Ana Maria Pacheco.
Keywords: MusicPhilosophy


[Reviewed together with 'Towards a Poetics of Music and the Arts'] [T]hese two short books by the distinguished music critic Christopher Wintle [...] seek to revive criticism as a means of thought and not just as a source of judgements and information. [...] What is more, he writes too well to speak only to musicians. [...] We have the example of a thinker for whom all the arts belong together and shed light on each other, something rare in criticism since Goethe and Ruskin pursued their idea of art wherever it led them. CAMBRIDGE QUARTERLY

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