Tatarkiewicz's History of Aesthetics is an extremely comprehensive account of the development of European aesthetics from the time of the ancient Greeks to the 1700s. Published originally in Polish in 1962-7, it achieved bestseller status and acclaim as the best work of its kind in the world. The English translation of 1970-74 is a rare masterpiece. Covering ancient, medieval and modern aesthetics, Tatarkiewicz writes substantial essays on the views of beauty and art through the ages and then goes on to de monstrate these with extracts from original texts from each period. The authors he cites include Homer, Democritus, Plato, St Augustine, Boethius, Thomas Aquinas, Dante, William of Ockham, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Galileo, Bacon, Shakespeare and Rubens. His study is systematic and extremely wide, including the aesthetics of the archaic period, the classical period, Hellenistic aesthetics, Eastern Aesthetics, Western Aesthetics, the Renaissance, sixteenth-century visual arts, poetry and music, Italian, English, Spanish and Polish aesthetics of the sixteenth century, Baroque aesthetics, and theories of painting and architecture in the seventeeth century.
Tatarkiewicz (1886-1981) was the most distinguished Polish historian of philosophy of the twentieth century, with an international reputation as an aesthetician and authority in art criticism, the history of art and classical scholarship. The erudition, lucidity and clarity of his writing make this unique work an accessible and invaluable source for the study of the history of aesthetics.
Table of Contents
Volume 1: Ancient Aesthetics, ed. J. Harrell, 1970: 364pp; Introduction; Aesthetics of the Archaic Period; Aesthetics of the Classical Period; Hellenistic Aesthetics; Name Index; Subject Index; Volume 2: Medieval Aesthetics, ed. C. Barrett, 1970: 328pp; The Aesthetics of the Early Middle Ages; Eastern Aesthetics; Western Aesthetics; The Aesthetics of the High Middle Ages; Name Index; Subject Index; Volume 3: Modern Aesthetics, ed. D. Petsch, 1974: 600pp; Introduction; The Year 1400; The Fifteenth Century; The Year 1500; The Sixteenth Century; The Year 1600; The Seventeenth Century; The Year 1700; The End of the Epoch; Name Index; Subject Index.
Wladyslaw Tatarkiewicz (1886 1981) was Professor of Aesthetics at Warsaw University, and one of the major Polish philosophers of his day. He was editor-in-chief of Przeglad Filozoficzny, the most important philosophical periodical in Poland in the first half of the 20th century.