Bathing in reeking wounds

The liberal arts, beauty, and war

Catharine Stimpson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    A historic dialectic exists between the beautiful and the bestial. The bestial destroys the beautiful, but in a bloody miracle, the beautiful emerges from the womb of the bestial, the 'terrible beauty' of which the poet W. B. Yeats wrote. The liberal arts, so often thought to dwell in a remote ivory tower, embody this dialectic. Wars and disasters have spurred their evolution. Even more important, the liberal arts are at once the dialectic's most energetic and sensitive explorers. Shakespeare's gory tragedy about war and warriors, Macbeth, is a springboard for such explorations, dramatizing a dialectic between war and love, destruction and redemption, savagery and poetry. We bathe in reeking wounds. Because of their diversity, liberal artisans, practitioners of the liberal arts, are now uniquely prepared to engage with this dialectic. They can also inoculate us against the diseases of the allure of war, blood lust, and propaganda.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)128-140
    Number of pages13
    JournalArts and Humanities in Higher Education
    Volume13
    Issue number1-2
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Feb 1 2014

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    beauty
    dialectics
    art
    propaganda
    poetry
    love
    disaster
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    Liberal Arts
    Dialectics
    Disease

    Keywords

    • Gertrude Stein
    • Liberal arts
    • Macbeth
    • Martin Luther King Jr
    • Riverbend
    • Shakespeare
    • War
    • William James

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Education
    • Visual Arts and Performing Arts

    Cite this

    Bathing in reeking wounds : The liberal arts, beauty, and war. / Stimpson, Catharine.

    In: Arts and Humanities in Higher Education, Vol. 13, No. 1-2, 01.02.2014, p. 128-140.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Stimpson, Catharine. / Bathing in reeking wounds : The liberal arts, beauty, and war. In: Arts and Humanities in Higher Education. 2014 ; Vol. 13, No. 1-2. pp. 128-140.
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