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On Beauty and Being Just Summary
Elaine Scarry

Everything you need to understand or teach On Beauty and Being Just by Elaine Scarry.

  • On Beauty and Being Just Summary & Study Guide
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On Beauty and Being Just Summary

Plot Summary

In On Beauty and Being Just, Elaine Scarry fights against the prevailing mid-1990s academic sentiment that beauty was not only unworthy of being studied but also potentially harmful or dangerous to appreciate in and of itself. She begins her argument with a section titled "On Beauty and Being Wrong," in which she examines how we perceive beauty - especially when we make a mistake in our judgments about what is or is not beautiful (she believes that more people have made mistakes in this area than in intellectual or academic matters). Scarry takes the example of a palm frond in Matisse's prints, which she never noticed at first; once she had seen the palm frond in one print, she saw more and more of them, eventually coming to notice that by the end of his career, this motif dominated more than half the surface area of his...

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