Art & Reality
Art & Reality
John Anderson
Sydney University Press
ISBN: 9781743325094

Art & Reality is a collection of general theoretical reflections and particular critical studies, in which John Anderson asserts the essential role of art and aesthetics in intellectual life.

‘An artist is not a person who can be put into a uniform … The greatest poetry is always heretical.’
—John Anderson, from ‘Poetry and Society’

Rejecting the notion that artistic appreciation is simply a matter of spontaneous response or ‘personal taste’, Anderson argues that genuine criticism requires the application of general aesthetic principles and an awareness of the relationship between art and nature. In exploring how beauty is experienced and defined, he considers a wide range of authors, from Homer to Joyce, Melville to Dostoevsky, Shakespeare to Shaw. He outlines his underlying theory of aesthetics and offers commentary on some key controversies of his day, including psychoanalytic criticism, the Ern Malley hoax, and the censorship of Ulysses in Australia.

With characteristic rigour and originality, Anderson proposes a philosophical way of approaching works of art, one which can lead us to a more meaningful and thoughtful engagement with literature.

About the author

John Anderson (1893–1962) was Challis Professor of Philosophy at the University of Sydney from 1927 until 1958. Regarded as the most important philosopher to have worked in Australia, Anderson founded the empirical brand of philosophy known as Australian realism and strongly influenced Sydney’s social and cultural life. His students included not only academic philosophers but also important figures in politics, law and journalism.

Digital editions

Digital editions of Art & Reality will be available soon for Google Play and the iBookstore. If you would like more information, or to request another format, please email us.




1 Some Questions in Aesthetics

2 Biography

3 Classicism versus Romanticism

4 Romanticism and Classicism

5 Psycho-Analysis and Romanticism

6 The Comic

7 The Nature of Poetry

8 Poetry and Society

9 Art and Morality

10 Ulysses

11 The Banning of Ulysses

12 James Joyce

13 James Joyce: Finnegans Wake

14 Exiles

15 The Applecart

16 George Bernard Shaw

17 The Perfect Wagnerite

18 Emperor and Galilean

19 Kenneth Grahame

20 Kipling

21 George Meredith

22 The Enormous Room

23 H. G.Wells

24 Thomas Love Peacock

25 Herman Melville

26 Feodor Dostoevsky

27 R. H. Benson

28 The Detective Story

29 Orage and the New Age Circle

30 Music and Emotion

31 Art and Morals

32 Australian Culture

33 Literature and Life

34 Literary Criticism

35 Further Questions in Aesthetics: Beauty

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