Elaine Scarry Writing Styles in On Beauty and Being Just

Elaine Scarry
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Perspective

While a treaty on Beauty may seem strange to contemporary readers, Scarry situates her argument within a particular academic and intellectual context such that the reader can see exactly why she found it necessary to write such a text. In the mid-1990s, beauty was seen as, at best, irrelevant to academic discussion and, at worst, harmful, as it distracted from greater social issues. At this time, doctrines like post-feminism and post-colonialism dominated academic thought; by focusing on the social, they ignored or disavowed the aesthetic. By writing this text (which originally was given as a series of lectures at Yale), Scarry attempts to debunk the idea of beauty and prove its importance, especially in visual and literary studies. She takes the perspective of an academic, yet also makes reference to her friends, colleagues, and students throughout the book. In addition, she often cites various authors, ranging from...

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This section contains 485 words
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