Literary/ Cultural Context Essay

Zoë Kinsley (Liverpool Hope University College)
Download PDF Add to Bookshelf Report an Error

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 essay on Taste), a diffuse term which encompassed several…

2873 words

Citation: Kinsley, Zoë. "Picturesque". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 03 February 2005 [, accessed 05 March 2024.]

863 Picturesque 2 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

Save this article

If you need to create a new bookshelf to save this article in, please make sure that you are logged in, then go to your 'Account' here

Leave Feedback

The Literary Encyclopedia is a living community of scholars. We welcome comments which will help us improve.