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I. Analysis of the concept of beauty. II. Library work.

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1 I. Analysis of the concept of beauty. II. Library work.
Unit 7 Beauty Susan Songtag Teaching objectives: I. Analysis of the concept of beauty. II. Library work. III. Comprehension of the text. IV. Organization and development. V. Language points. VI. Exercises VII. Further readings

2 I. Background knowledge: Greeks:universe: a delight
Definition of beauty. Greeks:universe: a delight Beauty : a perceptual experience of pleasure, meaning or satisfaction. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Beauty is studied as part of aesthetics, sociology, social psychology and culture. As a cultural creation, beauty has been extremely commercialized.


4 . "beauty" was used to mean "women,"
not muscular or strong. body's contours(轮廓 ): precise technical specification for softness and curvature(弯曲), glossy hair, and lots of it - red lips, a small delicate nose, a face wide at the temples and narrow at the jaw, a dainty neck.

5 2.History of beauty : Aesthetics, branch of philosophy (1)Plato : Plato's thinking had a marked ascetic(禁欲者) strain. (2)Aristotle :Aesthetics was inseparable from morality and politics. (3)Neoplatonism :a life of sense through a rigorous(严格的)ascetic discipline. . Symmetry youthfulness

6 一种至上的美是不合比例的,而且这种美是图画所不能表现的,也不是我们一眼就可以领会的,因此培根对古希腊名画家阿派莱斯和德国画家阿伯特·杜勒提出了批评。

7 阿派莱斯为了画一个美女的图像,选择了城邦内最美的五个少女,融合各个美女最美的部分成一至美的脸面,而杜勒按照严格的几何比例来画人培根嘲笑他们说,这样炮制出来的画像,除了画家本人外,恐怕谁的欢心也赢不到。他主张画家不应该凭借某种公式,而应该凭心灵的巧运和创造性的想像力来完成艺术创作.

8 当时的清教徒认为,艺术是导致道德放荡的的罪魁。培根为诗歌正名,是对柏拉图和中世纪教会。他对诗歌的功用总结道:“至于诗歌的功用,则诗人们表示爱情、情欲、败德、风俗等等的力量,是比哲学家著作的功效大的;说到机智同辞令,诗歌亦是不很弱于演说的雄辩的。”

9 培根的美学与其哲学密切相关,表现出启蒙时代的现实主义、乐观主义、唯物主义、世俗主义和人本主义的精神意蕴。优雅合适的动作是人的内在心灵的外在表现,在培根看来,内在的灵魂美高于外在的形式美。

10 在这个意义上,老年人比年轻人更美,正如拉丁俗语所言“美人的秋天也是美的”。因为年轻人只有外在悦目的颜色和青春的朝气,缺乏老年人因经年的岁月所积淀的内在灵魂的定性和智慧。关于人的内在美与外在美的关系培根总结道:“假如美落在人身上落得适当的话,它是使美德更为光辉,而恶德更加汗颜的。” 培根的人本主义审美观是文艺复兴以来西方美学家的共同观点。

11 Bacon’s Mottoes Of Beauty VIRTUE is like a rich stone, best plain set 美德好比宝石,在朴素背景的衬托下反而更华丽。 Beauty is as summer fruits, which are easy to corrupt, and cannot last.美有如盛夏的水果,而容易腐烂而难保持的。 if it light well, it maketh virtue shine, and vices blush. “假如美落在人身上落得适当的话,它是使美德更为光辉,而恶德更加汗颜的。”

12 (4)Johann Gottlieb Fichte beauty: a moral virtue.
(5)in the 18th and 19th centuries :art as imitation of nature. Jane Austen and Charles Dickens in England and dramatists such as Alexandre Dumas : presented realistic accounts of middle-class life

13 (6) Henrik Ibsen, criticize society and so lead to reform.
In the 19th century, in painting. French impressionists (7)the impressionist objective was to capture the fleeting moment, the optical sensation produced by a chance effect of weather, light, or movement. pointillism点画法:分色主义;点描派:后期印象主义绘画,以19世纪后期法国的乔治·修拉和他的同好为典范,特征为运用颜料以小点或涂绘方式构成画面

14 The Circus by Georges Seurat

15 Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte

16 Seurat’s Trombonist长号手 French artist Georges Seurat’s drawing of a trombonist ( ) in chalk and conte .

17 (8) “art for art's sake (9)John Dewey, human experience :disconnected, fragmentary, full of beginnings without conclusions (10)Marxism and Freudianism: Marxism :art is great only when it is “progressive,” Sigmund Freud art : therapeutic use。 James Joyce: The stream-of-consciousness

18 (11)Existentialism: A philosophy that emphasizes the uniqueness and isolation of the individual experience in a hostile or indifferent universe, regards human existence as unexplainable, and stresses freedom of choice and responsibility for the consequences of one's acts. 存在主义:一种强调在怀有敌意或冷漠的世界中个人经历的独特性和孤立性的哲学,它认为人的存在是不可解释的,并强调调选择的自由和对自己行为的结果负责

19 其最著名和最明确的倡议是萨特的格言:“存在先于本质”(l'existence précède l'essence)、“任何事都是可能的”。他的意思是说,除了人的生存之外没有天经地义的道德或体外的灵魂。道德和灵魂都是人在生存中创造出来的。人没有义务遵守某个道德标准或宗教信仰,人有选择的自由。

20 要评价一个人,要评价他的所作所为,而不是评价他是个什么人物,因为一个人是由他的行动来定义的。存在主义否认神或其它任何预先定义的规则的存在。萨特反对任何人生中“阻力”的因素,因为它们缩小人的自由选择的余地。假如没有这些阻力的话,那么一个人的唯一的要解决的问题是他选择哪一条路走。

21 人生是一场悲剧   在存在主义者看来,人生活在一个与自己对立的、失望的世界之中,人在世界上的地位是不确定的。绝对自由的人也是烦恼和无所依靠的孤独者。人虽然有选择的自由,但他面对的未来的生活却是混沌而没有目标的。他只是盲目地走向未来,他只知道人生的真实的终结就是死亡。死亡作为人生的最后归宿,对于个人的存在具有非常重要的意义。  

22 4.Susan Sontag (January 16, 1933 – December 28, 2004) was an American literary theorist, novelist, filmmaker, and political activist.

23 II.Library work Find out about the difference between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism in the Christian religion(para.4) Roman Catholic Church is Christian church headed by the Pope, the Bishop of Rome. Roman Catholics may be simply defined as Christians in communion with the Pope.

24 Roman Catholicism holds that the Pope and the Bishops have in varying degrees the spiritual authority Christ assigned to his apostles. The voice of the Pope is regarded as infallible when speaking on matters of faith and morals.

25 Protestantism is a special development within Christianity
Protestantism is a special development within Christianity. It is distinct from Roman Catholicism in that it breaks from papal obedience. Protestantism is widely practiced in most northwestern European countries except southern Germany, Ireland, France, and Belgium.

26 What is the definition of “pagan”
What is the definition of “pagan”? In what ways is a pagan different from either a Catholic or a Protestant? A pagan is one of a people or community professing a polytheistic religion, i.e., a religion based on the belief in more than one god. Ancient Romans and Greeks were pagans. A pagan is different from a Roman Catholic and a Protestant in that the latter believe in only one god.

27 III. Organization and development:
1.What can we infer from this etymological study of the word? To Sontag, the change that has occurred in the meaning of the word is not merely an instance of semantic narrowing, but ,more significantly, an instance of the distortion of the lexical meaning of a word which has been inflicted upon it by social prejudice. It is just such social prejudice that the author aims to expose and denounce.

28 2.Can you find where? Her point is made especially clear in the last and conclusive paragraph. This is a justifiable alternative because of the complicated nature of the issue she deals with in the essay.

29 IV. Answer the following questions.
1.How does the notion of beauty held by the ancient Greeks basically differ from the modern one? For the ancient Greeks beauty embraces both inside and outside excellence, a combination of a person’s virtue and good looks. In present-day English beauty refers exclusively to the good looks of a female.

30 2.What does the word “ paradoxical” (para.1) mean?

31 3.In what sense is the word “ beauty” used in the sentence “ we are wary of the enchantments of beauty” (para.2) ? And how do you interpret the sentence? In the overall sense of the word, i.e.,overall excellence. We are more aware (than the ancient Greeks) of the aspects “beauty” has, which we think distinguishable and should be distinguished.

32 4. Did the limitation Christianity placed on the meaning of the word “beauty” give it any sexual bias? No. It was limited to superficial enchantment only.

33 5. What does Sontag mean by “And beauty has continued to lose prestige”(para.3)?
It has lost prestige when its meaning was narrowed down from overall excellence to superficial enchantment. And it further lost prestige when the superficial enchantment it referred to became associated with the fair sex only.

34 6.Do you think Sontag will agree that “handsome” means to men what “ beautiful” does to women?
Not quite, “ handsome” does not have the demeaning overtones “beautiful” has.

35 7. Why does Sontag think that regarding women as the beautiful sex is detrimental to both the notion of beauty and that of women (para.4) It depreciates the notion of beauty itself , and implies a sexually unfair judgment of women.

36 8.Explain “ It does not take someone in the throes of advanced feminist awareness to perceive that…’(para5) One does not have to be a feminist who is painfully aware of the many social biases women have to put up with to perceive that. In other words, virtually anyone can perceive that Songtag’s purpose here is to show the obviousness of the phenomenon.

37 9.What does Sontag refer to by “stereotypes” in the last sentence of para.5? And what have they to do with the “ mixed reputation” beauty enjoys? Fixed notions of the two sexes; what people generally think a man or a woman should be like. The association of beauty with nice looks but dependence and inability, and disassociation with intellect and success give it a mixed reputation.

38 10. How does Sontag show linguistically in para
10.How does Sontag show linguistically in para.5 that social convention plays a role in maintaining feminine stereotypes? Use of the passive : women are taught ; use of indefinite pronoun”everybody”.

39 11.Can you think of any concrete example of what Songtag calls ‘ a flattering idealization of their sex’(para.6)? What effect does such idealization have on women? Winners of a beauty contest , Miss America, sex symbols, Marylin Monroe,some fashion models. Women are encouraged to look as attractive as possible , given the models of what they should and could possibly look like.

40 12. Constrasting para. 6 with para
12.Constrasting para. 6 with para.7 ,do you think (Sontag’s ) society is fair in its expectations of men and women with regard to their looks? Definitely not. For women perfection is the goal; for men a small imperfection is considered favourably.

41 13.What critical view does Songtag take of Cocteau’s remark “ The privileges of beauty are immense”(para.8)? Refer to the paragraph. 14. What /Who has made it a woman’s duty to preen? If a woman succeeds in keeping herself look nice , how would she expect society in general to asses her? Social conventions .Her good looks conceal an empty mind ;superficial allurement is the best asset she can claim.

42 15. Do you agree with Songtag that it is dangerous to consider persons as split between what is ‘inside’ and what is ‘outside’? It is not totally irrational to consider the “ inside “ and “outside” of a person separately for they do not always go together (as in the case of Socrates). However, danger arises when the two aspects are placed at opposite ends and regarded as incompatible. This will entail an erroneous notion of women.

43 16. To get women out of the trap they are caught in, Sontag suggests that they ‘get some critical distance from that excellence and privilege which is beauty’(para.10).What do you think this means? Disassociate themselves from the notion of beauty as far as possible; de-emphasize the notion of beauty in their life.

44 17What does “ the mythology of the feminine” (para.10) mean?
The traditional /conventionalized but false/ not well-grounded notion of what women should be like.

45 How do you interpret the last sentence of the essay?
There should be something we can do so that ‘beauty’ will not be an exclusive superficial feature of women, (let it be shared by men, too); and women will be beautiful in the true sense of the word.

46 V. Paraphrase the following:
One of Socrates’ main pedagogical acts was to be ugly---- and teach those innocent, no doubt splendid-looking disciples of his how full of paradoxes life really was.(ll6-8) The contrast between Socrates’ outward ugliness and his inner strengths served to draw the attention of his naïve and handsome followers to the fact that there were many such strange contrasts in the world.

47 We not only split off--- with the greatest facility ----the “ inside’ (character, intellect) from the “outside”(looks); but we are actually surprised when someone who is beautiful is also intelligent, talented, good.(ll10-12) We tend to resist the idea that inside beauty (character,intellect) can coexist with outside beauty(looks) in one single person, and are in fact taken aback to meet one who is beautiful both inside and outside.

48 Associating beauty with women has put beauty even further on the defensive, morally.(ll18-19)
Beauty, when considered in relation to a female, involves a judgment of not only looks but also character and intellect, making itself a much more controversial issue.

49 If a woman does real work---- and even if she has clambered up to a leading position in politics, law, medicine, business, or whatever—she is always under pressure to confess that she still works at being attractive.(ll61-63) However successful a woman may be in her career as a politician, lawyer, doctor, businesswoman, or whatever, she unavoidably feels compelled to admit to making an effort to look attractive.

50 One could hardly ask for more important evidence of the dangers of considering persons as split between what is “inside” and what is “outside” than that interminable half –comic half-tragic tale’ the oppression of women.(ll66-68)

51 One could hardly ask for more important evidence of the dangers of considering persons as split between what is “inside” and what is “outside” than that interminable half –comic half-tragic tale’ the oppression of women.(ll66-68) The biased attitude towards women –the long story of which is both lamentable and laughable--- is the most powerful proof as to how harmful it can be to judge a person by refusing to put into consideration both inner beauty and outer beauty together.







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