The Aesthetic Dimension: Toward a Critique of Marxist Aesthetics
The Aesthetic Dimension: Toward a Critique of Marxist Aesthetics (Boston: Beacon, 1978), 88 pages.
Translation of Die Permanenz der Kunst (Munich: Hanser, 1977). English version translated
and revised by Herbert Marcuse and Erica Shereover © 1978. (Boston: Beacon Press, 1978), 88 pages.
- expanded translation of Permanenz der Kunst (1977)
- Reader Elliott Green (German major at Princeton, MPhil student in Development
Studies at the London School of Economics) wrote on Amazon: "Herbert
Marcuse, original member of the so-called 'Frankfurt School', here
presents a critique of Marxist aesthetics in one of his last books.
Although only 72 pages long, the book is powerful in its argument
against the orthodox Marxist view that 'art represents its the interests
and world outlook of particular social classes.' Marcuse argues
for the importance of art in itself, apart from its source, writing,
'the criteria for the progressive character of art are given only
in the work itself as a whole: in what it says and how it says it.'
He truly believes that art's place in the world is not to change
the world directly but to influence how people perceive the world
and thereby lead them to change it. Marcuse also touches upon other
aspects of aesthetics, like his belief in a constant standard allowing
us to distinguish between high and low art and the question of the
'end of art' as posited by Bertolt Brecht and others. Nevertheless
his main argument is most powerful: he ends the book by praising
art's role in representing 'the ultimate goal of all revolutions:
the freedom and happiness of the individual.' Truly a valuable book
for all students of art, aesthetics and philosophy."