Art for Art's Sake, or Art for Life's Sake? Aestheticism as a 'Substitute Theology'

The Northrop Frye Centre Presents:

Art for Art's Sake, or Art for Life's Sake? Aestheticism as a 'Substitute Theology' 

Art for Art's Sake Poster


Thursday, March 24, 2016 at 4:00PM

Katie Fry, NFC Doctoral Fellow
Northrop Frye Centre (VC102), Old Victoria College Building
(91 Charles Street West)

The doctrine of “art for art’s sake” claims that art is valuable in its own right and that it need not fulfill any external purpose or function.  But is the absolute divorce of art from the concerns of the external world ever truly desirable, or even possible? This talk will examine both endorsements and critiques of l’art pour l’art in an effort to elucidate how this aesthetic principle can become a way of life or even a surrogate religion. 

Katie Fry is a doctoral candidate at the Centre for Comparative Literature and an NFC Doctoral Fellow for 2015-2016. She specializes in aesthetics and fin de siècle literature (English, German and French). Her dissertation examines the relationship between secularization and the role of literature and the arts in late nineteenth-century Europe, focusing on writers who proposed that art could function as a means of redemption in the wake of the 'death of God.'