Picturesque (2873 words)

Literary/ Cultural Context Essay

  • Zoë Kinsley (Liverpool Hope University College)

The picturesque school emerged from the attempt to formulate in philosophical terms why it is that we peceive certain kinds of phenomena as “beautiful”, or as fit subjects for visual representation. This attempt continues a ghostly life in newspapers and magazines today, but is no longer the occasion for serious philosophical reflection since intellectuals have more or less concluded that “the beautiful” is a just an expression of the values of any particular society. It has no fundamental ground. During the early eighteenth century, however, trying to achieve clarity about what was beautiful and true in works of the imagination, was an increasingly serious concern and focused largely on the notion of “taste” (see our …

Kinsley, Zoë. "Picturesque". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 03 February 2005
[, accessed 27 October 2016.]

Related Groups

  1. Picturesque landscape and gardens
  2. English Landscape Poetry
  3. English Romanticism
  4. European Romanticism