Art Foundation Week 17

Reflection on books read this term:

Brave New World - Alfred Huxley

themes: utopia; dystopia; genetic engineering;

The novel offers a seemingly perfect way of managing society: the stripping of emotional attachment, the use of hypnopaedia and other methods of indoctrination to condition and stabilise the mind and the predetermination of one's appearance, personality and ability through test-tube 'hatching' etc.

While the utopia is seemingly convincing with its well-considered policies and management, Huxley tears through its perfection to question the many sacrifices made: is a model society where censorship and dictatorship suppresses the individual of strong emotions and independent thought truly better than in one which people are free to make selfish but instinctive decisions that may have unprecedented consequences? Can coerced harmony and happiness fulfil man's innate egoistical needs?

Impact on my work? brought it to a temporary halt

Personal impact? Novel made me more wary of flaws and sacrifices we make in life in order to progress -induced several self-contradictory crisis in which I once again explore essentialism in living.

No Exit & The Flies - Jean-Paul Sartre

'No Exit' themes: death; afterlife; hell

Unique portrayal of the afterlife where three people gather to discuss their lives and reflect.

'The Flies' themes: faith; pride;

Modern twist on the story of Orestes and Electra

The Portrait of the Artist as A Young Man - James Joyce

themes: consciousness; religion; aesthetics;

Joyce's signature 'stream of consciousness' is used to show the protagonist's development of the mind, from childhoold to adulthood.

Impact on my work? none

Personal impact? I feel as if I've adopted Joyce's style in my everyday mumbling.

The Sorrows of Young Werther - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

themes: love; consciousness;

Similar stream of 'consciousness' through the format of personal letters, walking the reader through the psychological development of Werther as he is being pushed to his death by an unrequited love.

Impact on my work? none

Personal impact? none

Books read previous term:

On Being An Artist - Michael Craig-Martin

A Little History of Philosophy - Nigel Warburton

The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction - Walter Benjamin

The Outsider - Albert Camus

The Old Man and the Sea - Ernest Hemingway


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