Aarhus Universitetsforlag

The Aesthetics of the Elements

Imaginary Morphologies in Texts and Paintings

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112 pages ill.
ISBN 87 7288 543 2



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About the book

The Aesthetics of the Elements introduces a semiotic and phenomenological understanding of the four elements: earth, air, fire, water, as they appear in description and depiction. It develops a theory of the imaginary in human thought, and examines the occurrence of the elements, not in their role as trivial contents of the imaginary, but rather as aspects of its constitutive background - as material dimensions giving rise to direct and dynamic cognitive structure. The elements thus evoke universally evaluated sensations, and provide simple schematic conceptual primitives, in contrast with complex higher-order metaphoric structures which may rely on them. The elements are here understood as a mental palette in perception, as well as in aesthetic and philosophical expression.

Table of contents


1. Elements and Morphologies

2. Phenomenology and Morphology

3. Cognition and Morphology

4. Dynamics and Morphology

5. Imaginary Morphologies

6. Text and Painting

7. An Aesthetics of the Elements: Conclusion



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