Colette Olive (KCL) - 2020-21 Students

The Living Word of Reality: Introducing the Aesthetics of V. G. Belinsky

This thesis explores the nineteenth century philosopher V. B. Belinsky’s philosophy of art. The approach of the project is to utilise historical theories of art that influenced Belinsky’s work, such as that of Kant and Hegel, and contemporary literature from analytic aesthetics to introduce and unpack Belinsky’s philosophy of art. Several key themes from Belinsky’s work are explored in detail, particularly the relationship between art and truth, ethics and politics in his work. The central tenet of Belinsky’s theory is the claim that art is always a reflection of reality. True artists successfully mirror reality in their work, but also critique it. Consequently, the public are able to learn from art about themselves and the world in a way that is both artistically and cognitively valuable. The thesis represents the largest project on Belinsky’s aesthetics from a philosophical perspective in over 50 years, and is one of the only research projects on Russian philosophy in the United Kingdom. The research makes a crucial and original contribution to the study of the history of philosophy.

Primary supervisor: Dr Sacha Golob, KCL

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