Elements of Criticism
Elements of Criticism is Kamess most influential work. When it first appeared, in 1762, it was the most comprehensive philosophical work on criticism in English, and it was published in five editions during Kamess lifetime and another forty editions over the next century. In America, Elements of Criticism served as a standard text for college students of English.In Elements, Kames sets out his argument that the science of criticism is a rational science, it is a subject of reasoning as well as of taste. By examining human reactions to art and literature, Kames believed that we could enhance our understanding of the human mind, just as an understanding of the mind could enrich our responses to the arts. Volume one explores the nature and causes of the emotions and passions.Volume two delineates principles of rhetoric and literary appreciation, ending with a discussion of the formation of a standard of taste. Kames illustrated both volumes with a vast range of examples from classical literature and the arts of his own day.With this publication, Liberty Fund makes a modern version of this influential work available for a wide readership. The Liberty Fund edition is based on the text of the sixth edition of 1785, which was the last edition authorized by Kames himself.. Henry Home, Lord Kames (16961782), one of the leaders of the Scottish Enlightenment, was a judge in the supremecourts of Scotland and wrote extensively on morals, religion, education, aesthetics, history,political economy, and law, including natural law. His most distinctive contribution came throughhis works on the nature of law, where he sought to combine a philosophical approach with anempirical history of legal evolution.Peter Jones is Professor Emeritus ofPhilosophy at the University ofEdinburgh.Knud Haakonssen is Professor of Intellectual History and Director of the Centre for Intellectual History at the University ofSussex, England.
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