Paul's pick for February is "Infecting, Simulating, Judging: Tolstoy's Search for an Aesthetic Standard" by Tatyana Gershkovich. The article appears in latest issue of the Journal of the History of Ideas.
Much of the previous scholarship on What is Art? has examined the criteria Tolstoy uses to judge works of art. In this article, in contrast, I interrogate his argument for the very possibility of aesthetic judgment at all. On what grounds does he claim that one artwork ought to please everyone more than another? I argue that many of the paradoxes and contradictions of Tolstoy’s aesthetic worldview grow out of his attempt to establish a nonarbitrary, universal aesthetic standard.
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Check the Penn Press Log in March for Paul's next pick.