Arnold Berleant’s valuable analysis of ‘negative aesthetics’ in his 2010 book Sensibility and Sense: The Aesthetic Transformation of the Human World provides an analytic framework not only for general investigation of negative aesthetics but for understanding their extension into daily life and literature. It illuminates the work of Japanese novelist Natsuo Kirino (1951- , 夏生桐野), just as her novels illustrate Berleant’s negative aesthetics. In Kirino’s narratives, negatively aesthetic landscapes determine characters’ mindsets, even as they mirror the moral and aesthetic bleakness of society at large, revealing characters’ internal dynamics and the larger social world with the same destructive efficacy Berleant points out—an efficacy we ignore to our peril.

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Aesthetics Commons



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