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Courses / Modules / PHIL1019 Puzzles about Art and Literature

Puzzles about Art and Literature

When you'll study it
Semester 2
CATS points
ECTS points
Level 4
Module lead
Brian McElwee
Academic year

Module overview

Both individuals and society attach great importance and value to certain works of art, including poems, novels, films, plays, symphonies, and paintings. Most of us spend a considerable amount of our limited time and resources acquiring, creating, experiencing, or promoting the arts. However, art is in several respects puzzling, even frustrating. It is often difficult to know how to interpret an artwork. Should we consult the artist, learn about his or her life and times, or focus only what is within the frame or on the page? Why do we care about art? Is it for the knowledge it provides, the experiences it affords, or the feelings it invokes? And what exactly is art? What distinguishes an unmade bed in the Tate from an unmade bed in a bedroom? The aims of this module are to introduce you to some of the puzzles which reflection on art raises, to encourage you to think critically about those puzzles and the assumptions which lie behind them, and to give you the tools for resolving them.