London ; New York : Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, 2014.
Book — xvii, 191 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.
Introduction: The Eyes of the Beholders
1 Moral Aesthetics: What is the Ugly?
2 Comeliness, Glamour, Ugliness: Physical Distinctions and Moral Implications
3 Reading Faces, Reading Souls: Johann Caspar Lavater's New Physiognomy
4 The Ugly Made Beautiful: The Meaning and Appearance of Mendelssohn Conclusion.
(source: Nielsen Book Data)
The Ugliness of Moses Mendelssohn examines the idea of ugliness through four angles: philosophical aesthetics, early anthropology, physiognomy and portraiture in the eighteenth-century. Highlighting a theory that describes the benefit of encountering ugly objects in art and nature, eighteenth-century German Jewish philosopher Moses Mendelssohn recasts ugliness as a positive force for moral education and social progress. According to his theory, ugly objects cause us to think more and thus exercise-and expand-our mental abilities. Known as ugly himself, he was nevertheless portrayed in portraits and in physiognomy as an image of wisdom, gentility, and tolerance. That seeming contradiction-an ugly object (Mendelssohn) made beautiful-illustrates his theory's possibility: ugliness itself is a positive, even redeeming characteristic of great opportunity. Presenting a novel approach to eighteenth century aesthetics, this book will be of interest to students and scholars in the fields of Jewish Studies, Philosophy and History. (source: Nielsen Book Data)