•  
  •  
 

Abstract

This paper is an attempt to apply speech act theory to aesthetics. In particular, it purports to be a contribution to reception theory by drawing attention to certain similarities between the contextual structure of performatives and the structure of the reception of art. It hopes to locate the auditor or spectator of artworks in what J. L. Austin calls “the total context” to help explain how certain aspects of artworks can be taken personally, somehow being about and seemingly directed at “me.” It is one way the so-called paradox of fiction can be by-passed by showing how the emotive aspects of artworks are not primarily a matter of our caring about the fictional characters portrayed therein, but directly about members of the viewing or listening audience. Concentrating on the performatives of warnings and threats, this paper details the writings of Austin to help explain why some people can relate to characters or situations presented by art while others are barely moved.

Included in

Esthetics Commons

Share

COinS
 

To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.