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What is a detailed description of Stephen Dedalus's aesthetic theory?

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umeed4u | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 15, 2009 at 6:43 PM via web

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What is a detailed description of Stephen Dedalus's aesthetic theory?

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nedsneebly | Student , Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted March 24, 2009 at 1:20 AM (Answer #1)

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Stephen supports his aesthetic theory or his theory of art and the artist's place in society with the classical teachings of aquinas, plato, and aristotle. Stephen delinates between the art that envokes an emotional or soulful response and the art that is purely physical. Stephen states that the emotional or the art that is involved in the mind or contemplation is the higher art, and the physical art is low art. He goes on to describe the process of art, like a creation, comparing it to when God created man. Stephen also suggests that the artist actually becomes part of the art he creates. In the end he states that he must alienate himself from Ireland or society to become an artist, suggesting that artists need to isolation.

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mitchrich4199 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted January 28, 2011 at 6:54 PM (Answer #2)

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One of the most important events regarding Stephen's theory of aesthetics is when he explains it to his friend Lynch in Chapter 5. In this section, it is evident that he is still trying to get his theory straight in his own mind. There's a specific section of Chapter 5, from the point where Joyce writes, "They lit their cigarettes and turned to the right," through the end of that section, where he says: "Her heart, simple and wilful as a bird's heart." The section is about 12 pages long. In this section is where Stephen explains his theory to Lynch.

As he's explaining, it's noted that Lynch is hung over, having been out on a "yellow drunk" the night before. Lynch isn't the smartest cat in the tree to begin with, so he serves as a perfect audience for Stephen to attempt to explain his theory. There are points, especially at the beginning in which he corrects himself or second guesses himself. For instance, in explaining the "tragic emotion," he corrects himself: "You see I use the word arrest. I mean that the tragic emotion is static. Or rather the dramatic emotion is." It's a very difficult process to explain this, but in my mind, he's practicing on Lynch, so he can get it straight. Lynch gives him ideas as to where the questions and holes lie in his theory.

In essence, his theory can be summed up in the following passage from this section: "When we come to the new phenomena of artistic conception, artistic gestation and artistic reproduction I require a new terminology and a new experience." Through Stephen, Joyce is pushing the envelope of aesthetic beauty, requiring something new of people. As we know, Joyce himself lived up to that requirement in his writings.

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jayadurgasomu | Student , Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 16, 2010 at 10:14 PM (Answer #3)

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Stephen supports his aesthetic theory or his theory of art and the artist's place in society with the classical teachings of aquinas, plato, and aristotle. Stephen delinates between the art that envokes an emotional or soulful response and the art that is purely physical. Stephen states that the emotional or the art that is involved in the mind or contemplation is the higher art, and the physical art is low art. He goes on to describe the process of art, like a creation, comparing it to when God created man. Stephen also suggests that the artist actually becomes part of the art he creates. In the end he states that he must alienate himself from Ireland or society to become an artist, suggesting that artists need to isolation.

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