Cover of Singer Alan Singer: Posing Sex

Singer Alan Singer Posing Sex

Toward a Perceptual Ethics for Literary and Visual Art

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Bloomsbury Publishing (USA)


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Posing Sex: Toward a Perceptual Ethics for Literary and Visual Art views the long and provocative tradition of representing the sexual act in Western art as an occasion for challenging assumptions about personhood. It is uncontroversial that what Singer dubs the "sex image," the artist's posing of human figures in the act of coitus, is an enduring compositional armature for artists from antiquity to the present. Singer, however, makes the quite controversial claim that this aesthetic practice, in literature and painting especially, serves as a powerful metier for exploring how the mind is continuous with the sensuously lively body rather than its rationalistic antagonist. Singer draws upon a rich philosophical tradition-from the Greek Stoics, Descartes, Spinoza, and Hegel to contemporary theorists of perception and aesthetic agency-to show how the stakes of aesthetic experience epitomized in the sex image are essentially ethical. Referencing a broad range of image-based artworks-literary, painterly, and cinematic-Singer illustrates the proposition that "posing sex" broadens the scope of our knowledge about how feeling reciprocates with reason-giving.

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