Books about Aesthetics

  1. The Picture of Dorian Gray

    by Oscar Wilde
    A Faustian tale of a man who trades his soul for eternal youth and beauty.

    The Picture of Dorian Gray begins on a beautiful summer day in Victorian England, where Lord Henry Wotton, an opinionated man, is observing the sensitive artist Basil Hallward painting the portrait ... (Wikipedia)

  2. The Elegance of the Hedgehog

    by Muriel Barbery
    A story of two unlikely outcasts who find solace and comfort in each other's company.

    The story revolves mainly around the characters of Renée Michel and Paloma Josse, residents of an upper-middle class Left Bank apartment building at 7 Rue de Grenelle – one of the most elegant ... (Wikipedia)

  3. Gourmet Rhapsody

    by Muriel Barbery
    A renowned food critic searches for the taste of a forgotten childhood dish before his death.

    A French food critic faces his mortality in an “entertaining [and] witty” novel by the New York Times–bestselling author of, The Elegance of the Hedgehog, (,Newsday,). In the heart of Paris, in the ... (Barnes & Noble)

  4. The Tempest

    by William Shakespeare
    A story of magical revenge, redemption, and forgiveness set on a remote island.

    A ship is caught in a powerful storm, there is terror and confusion on board, and the vessel is shipwrecked. But the storm is a magical creation carried out by the spirit Ariel , and caused by the ... (Wikipedia)

  5. Death in Venice

    by Thomas Mann
    A writer's journey of self-discovery in an Italian city, through a tangled web of art, beauty, and passion.

    The main character is Gustav von Aschenbach , a famous author in his early fifties who has recently been ennobled in honor of his artistic achievement (thus acquiring the aristocratic " von " in his ... (Wikipedia)

  6. The Story of Art

    by E.H. Gombrich
    Comprehensive overview of art history, from prehistoric to modern times.

    The Story of Art, one of the most famous and popular books on art ever written, has been a world bestseller for over four decades. Attracted by the simplicity and clarity of his writing, readers of ... (Goodreads)

  7. Les Fleurs du Mal

    by Charles Baudelaire
    Collection of poems exploring the beauty and depravity of human nature.

    Charles Baudelaire's 1857 masterwork was scandalous in its day for its portrayals of sex, same-sex love, death, the corrupting and oppressive power of the modern city and lost innocence, Les Fleurs ... (Goodreads)

  8. Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling

    by Ross King
    An exploration of the artistic genius of Michelangelo, and the turbulent politics behind the Sistine Chapel.

    In 1508, despite strong advice to the contrary, the powerful Pope Julius II commissioned Michelangelo to paint the ceiling of the newly restored Sistine Chapel. With little experience as a painter ... (Goodreads)

  9. Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats

    by T.S. Eliot
    Collection of whimsical poems about cats, each one unique in its own way.

    These loveable cat poems were written by T.S. Eliot for his godchildren and friends in the thirties. They have delighted generations of children since, and inspired Andrew Lloyd Webber's brilliant ... (Goodreads)

  10. A Little History of Philosophy

    by Nigel Warburton
    A comprehensive overview of major philosophical thinkers and movements from ancient times to the present.

    Philosophy begins with questions about the nature of reality and how we should live. These were the concerns of Socrates, who spent his days in the ancient Athenian marketplace asking awkward ... (Goodreads)

  11. Death in Venice and Other Tales

    by Thomas Mann
    A collection of stories exploring the interplay of beauty, mortality and morality.

    Featuring his world-famous masterpiece, "Death in Venice," this new collection of Nobel laureate Thomas Mann's stories and novellas reveals his artistic evolution. In this new, widely acclaimed ... (Goodreads)

  12. Art in Theory, 1900–2000: An Anthology of Changing Ideas

    by Charles Harrison
    A comprehensive collection of writings on art theory and criticism from the 20th century, exploring the evolution of artistic ideas and movements.

    This popular anthology of twentieth-century art theoretical texts has now been expanded to take account of new research, and to include significant contributions to art theory from the 1990s. New ... (Goodreads)

  13. The Orchid Thief

    by Susan Orlean
    A captivating story of obsession, intrigue, and the beauty of the rare flower.

    The Orchid Thief is Susan Orlean’s tale of an amazing obsession. Determined to clone an endangered flower—the rare ghost orchid Polyrrhiza lindenii— a deeply eccentric and oddly attractive man named ... (Goodreads)

  14. Poetics

    by Aristotle
    A philosophical treatise on the nature of tragedy and its effects on audiences.

    ‘The plot is the source and the soul of tragedy’ In his near-contemporary account of Greek tragedy, Aristotle examines the dramatic elements of plot, character, language and spectacle that combine to ... (Goodreads)

  15. Art Through the Ages

    by Helen Gardner
    Comprehensive survey of art history, from prehistoric times to modern day. Includes analysis of major works and movements.

    The market-leading text for the art history survey course, GARDNER'S ART THROUGH THE AGES has served as a comprehensive and thoughtfully crafted guide to the defining phases of the world's artistic ... (Goodreads)

  16. History of Beauty

    by Umberto Eco
    An exploration of the concept of beauty throughout time, from antiquity to the present day.

    Umberto Eco’s groundbreaking and much-acclaimed first illustrated book has been a critical success since its first publication in 2004. What is beauty? Umberto Eco, among Italy’s finest and most ... (Goodreads)

  17. Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery

    by Garr Reynolds
    Guide to creating effective and engaging presentations through engaging visuals and storytelling.

    Garr Reynolds, author of the best-selling book on presentation design and delivery, is back with this newly revised edition of this classic book, Presentation Zen . Showing us there is a better way ... (Barnes & Noble)

  18. Andy Goldsworthy: A Collaboration with Nature

    by Andy Goldsworthy
    Exploring nature through art, and the beauty of the environment.

    Illustrates outdoor sculptures created with a range of natural materials, including snow, ice, leaves, rock, clay, stones, feathers, and twigs. ... (Goodreads)

  19. Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas

    by Tim Burton
    Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King, discovers Christmas Town and decides to take over the holiday. Chaos ensues.

    Halloween Town is a fantasy world filled with various monsters and supernatural beings associated with the holiday. Jack Skellington , respected by the citizens as the "Pumpkin King", leads them in ... (Wikipedia)

  20. The Work of Art in the Age of Its Technological Reproducibility, and Other Writings on Media

    by Walter Benjamin
    Reflection on the impact of technology on art, culture and society.

    Benjamin’s famous 'Work of Art' essay sets out his boldest thoughts–on media and on culture in general--in their most realized form, while retaining an edge that gets under the skin of everyone who ... (Goodreads)

  21. Gustav Klimt: 1862-1918

    by Gilles Néret
    A comprehensive overview of Klimt's life, work, and influence on the art world.

    Cult of pleasure: Feminine sensuality by the Vienna Secession's greatest proponent Gustav Klimt's ornate, sensual, and decadent style made him not only the most prominent of the Vienna Secessionists ... (Goodreads)

  22. Complete Works of Oscar Wilde

    by Oscar Wilde
    Collection of witty, satirical and thought-provoking works from the iconic playwright.

    The Collins Complete Works of Oscar Wilde is the only truly complete and authoritative single-volume edition of Oscar Wilde’s works.Continuously in print since 1948, the Collins Complete Works of ... (Barnes & Noble)

  23. The Picture of Dorian Gray: A Graphic Novel

    by Ian Edginton
    An adaptation of the classic novel, exploring themes of beauty, morality and consequence.

    “ Youth! Youth! There is absolutely nothing in the world worth having but youth! ” The Picture of Dorian Gray is a graphic adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s classic work, stunningly re-imagined by writer ... (Goodreads)

  24. Oscar Wilde

    by Richard Ellmann
    A comprehensive biography of the life and works of Oscar Wilde, exploring his wit, charm, and tragic downfall.

    The biography sensitive to the tragic pattern of the story of a great subject: Oscar Wilde - psychologically and sexually complicated, enormously quotable, central to an. alluring cultural world and ... (Goodreads)

  25. The Secret Lives of Color

    by Kassia St. Clair
    A fascinating exploration of the history, cultural significance, and symbolism of 75 different colors.

    The Secret Lives of Color tells the unusual stories of seventy-five fascinating shades, dyes, and hues. From blonde to ginger, the brown that changed the way battles were fought to the white that ... (Goodreads)

  26. The Architecture of Happiness

    by Alain de Botton
    A philosophical exploration of how architecture shapes our emotions and how we can create living spaces that are both beautiful and meaningful.

    The Achitecture of Happiness is a dazzling and generously illustrated journey through the philosophy and psychology of architecture and the indelible connection between our identities and our ... (Barnes & Noble)

  27. The Temple of the Golden Pavilion

    by Yukio Mishima
    A young Buddhist monk's descent into obsession and tragedy, in a search for beauty and perfection.

    The protagonist, Mizoguchi, is the son of a consumptive Buddhist priest who lives and works on the remote Cape Nariu on the north coast of Honshū . As a child, the narrator lives with his uncle at ... (Wikipedia)

  28. The Power of Art

    by Simon Schama
    Exploration of the ways in which art has shaped the world, from antiquity to the present.

    "Great art has dreadful manners," Simon Schama observes wryly at the start of his epic and explosive exploration of the power, and whole point, of art. "The hushed reverence of the gallery can fool ... (Goodreads)

  29. The Art Book

    by Phaidon Press
    A comprehensive guide to 500 of the world's greatest works of art.

    An A to Z guide to 500 great painters and sculptors from medieval to modern times, it debunks art historical classifications by throwing together brilliant examples of all periods, schools, visions ... (Goodreads)

  30. Just My Type: A Book about Fonts

    by Simon Garfield
    Exploration of the fascinating history and variety of typefaces that have shaped our world.

    What’s your type? Suddenly everyone’s obsessed with fonts. Whether you’re enraged by Ikea’s Verdanagate, want to know what the Beach Boys have in common with easy Jet or why it’s okay to like Comic ... (Goodreads)

  31. Hitchcock

    by François Truffaut
    A series of interviews with Alfred Hitchcock, exploring his life, career, and filmmaking techniques.

    Any book-length interview with Alfred Hitchcock is valuable, but considering that this volume's interlocutor is François Truffaut, the conversation is remarkable indeed. Here is a rare opportunity to ... (Goodreads)

  32. Against Nature

    by Joris-Karl Huysmans
    A decadent exploration of art and beauty, challenging the conventions of society.

    The epigraph is a quotation from Jan van Ruysbroeck ('Ruysbroeck the Admirable'), the fourteenth-century Flemish mystic: Jean des Esseintes is the last member of a powerful and once proud noble ... (Wikipedia)

  33. Wind, Sand and Stars

    by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
    A reflection on the poetic beauty and harsh realities of life as an aviator.

    Recipient of the Grand Prix of the Académie Française, Wind, Sand and Stars captures the grandeur, danger, and isolation of flight. Its exciting account of air adventure, combined with lyrical prose ... (Goodreads)

  34. Chasing Vermeer

    by Blue Balliett
    An artistic mystery that unravels through a series of clues and puzzles.

    The book begins with a mysterious letter that is delivered to three unknown recipients, two women and one man. The letter tells them they are of great need to the sender, but begs them not to tell ... (Wikipedia)

  35. The Book of Tea

    by Kakuzō Okakura
    A philosophical treatise on the art of tea and its role in Japanese culture, exploring the harmony between nature, art, and humanity.

    Now available in a gorgeous hardcover slipcase edition, this "object d'art" will be sure to add grace and elegance to tea shelves, coffee tables and bookshelves. A keepsake enjoyed by tea lovers for ... (Goodreads)

  36. Wabi-Sabi: For Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers

    by Leonard Koren
    An exploration of the Japanese aesthetic philosophy of Wabi-Sabi, finding beauty in imperfection and simplicity.

    Describes the principles of wabi-sabi, a Japanese aesthetic associated with Japanese tea ceremonies and based on the belief that true beauty comes from imperfection and incompletion, through text and ... (Goodreads)

  37. A Natural History of the Senses

    by Diane Ackerman
    A poetic exploration of the five senses and their role in human experience, from the science of smell to the art of touch.

    Diane Ackerman's lusciously written grand tour of the realm of the senses includes conversations with an iceberg in Antarctica and a professional nose in New York, along with dissertations on kisses ... (Goodreads)

  38. On Ugliness

    by Umberto Eco
    A philosophical exploration of the concept of ugliness in art, culture, and society, challenging our perceptions and prejudices.

    In the mold of his acclaimed "History of Beauty," renowned cultural critic Umberto Eco's "On Ugliness" is an exploration of the monstrous and the repellant in visual culture and the arts. What is the ... (Goodreads)

  39. The Birth of Tragedy

    by Friedrich Nietzsche
    A philosophical exploration of the nature of tragedy, and its role in the development of culture & civilization.

    A compelling argument for the necessity for art in life, Nietzsche's first book is fuelled by his enthusiasms for Greek tragedy, for the philosophy of Schopenhauer and for the music of Wagner, to ... (Goodreads)

  40. What to Listen for in Music

    by Aaron Copland
    A guide to understanding and appreciating music, exploring its elements and how they work together to create meaning and emotion.

    In this fascinating analysis of how to listen to music intelligently, Aaron Copland raises two basic questions: Are you hearing everything that is going on? Are you really being sensitive to it? If ... (Goodreads)

  41. Concerning the Spiritual in Art

    by Wassily Kandinsky
    A philosophical examination of the spiritual and creative power of art.

    A pioneering work in the movement to free art from its traditional bonds to material reality, this book is one of the most important documents in the history of modern art. Written by the famous ... (Goodreads)

  42. What Are You Looking At?: 150 Years of Modern Art in a Nutshell

    by Will Gompertz
    A witty and accessible guide to modern art, exploring the movements, artists and ideas that shaped it.

    In the tradition of Eats, Shoots & Leaves , art history with a sense of humor Every year, millions of museum and gallery visitors ponder the modern art on display and secretly ask themselves, "Is ... (Goodreads)

  43. The Elements of Typographic Style

    by Robert Bringhurst
    A comprehensive guide to typography, exploring the art and science of arranging type to make written language legible, readable, and appealing.

    Renowned typographer and poet Robert Bringhurst brings clarity to the art of typography with this masterful style guide. Combining practical, theoretical, and historical, this book is a must for ... (Goodreads)

  44. Finder, Vol. 1: Target in the Finder

    by Ayano Yamane
    Akihito Takaba, a freelance photographer, becomes the obsession of Ryuichi Asami, a powerful yakuza boss.

    Twenty-three-year-old Akihito Takaba (高羽 秋仁 Takaba Akihito ) is a young freelance photographer who takes pride in his work and seeks to get a major " scoop ". After he takes photographs of the ... (Wikipedia)

  45. History of Art

    by H.W. Janson
    Comprehensive overview of art history, from prehistoric times to modern day. Includes analysis of major works and movements.

    For 1000s of art lovers both amateur & professional, esthetic life began with Janson, as his History of Art is often called. In the 1st edition, published in 1962, he spoke to that perennial reader ... (Goodreads)

  46. Fargo Rock City: A Heavy Metal Odyssey in Rural North Dakota

    by Chuck Klosterman
    A humorous and nostalgic look back at the heavy metal culture of the early 1990s.

    Empirically proving that – no matter where you are -- kids wanna rock, this is Chuck Klosterman's hilarious memoir of growing up as a shameless metalhead in Wyndmere, North Dakotoa (population: 498). ... (Goodreads)

  47. Jeeves and the Tie That Binds

    by P.G. Wodehouse
    Bertie Wooster's attempts to help his friend Eustace reunite with his estranged father are complicated by a stolen tie. Classic Wodehouse humor ensues.

    A Bertie and Jeeves classic, featuring the Junior Ganymede, a Market Snodsbury election, and the Observer crossword puzzle. Jeeves, who has saved Bertie Wooster so often in the past, may finally ... (Goodreads)

  48. In Praise of Shadows

    by Jun'ichirō Tanizaki
    A contemplative essay on the beauty of shadows and the traditional Japanese aesthetic. It contrasts Western and Eastern cultures' approach to light and darkness.

    An essay on aesthetics by the Japanese novelist, this book explores architecture, jade, food, and even toilets, combining an acute sense of the use of space in buildings. The book also includes ... (Goodreads)

  49. Art as Experience

    by John Dewey
    Art is not just an object, but an experience that enriches our lives and helps us understand the world around us.

    Based on John Dewey's lectures on esthetics, delivered as the first William James Lecturer at Harvard in 1932, Art as Experience has grown to be considered internationally as the most distinguished ... (Goodreads)

  50. The Collected Oscar Wilde

    by Oscar Wilde
    A collection of Wilde's most famous works, including "The Picture of Dorian Gray" and "The Importance of Being Earnest."

    The Collected Oscar Wilde, by Oscar Wilde, is part of the Barnes & Noble Classics series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new ... (Barnes & Noble)

  51. Art Forms in Nature

    by Ernst Haeckel
    A collection of intricate and beautiful illustrations of various organisms, showcasing the artistry of nature.

    The geometric shapes and natural forms, captured with exceptional precision in Ernst Haeckel's prints, still influence artists and designers to this day. This volume highlights the research and ... (Goodreads)

  52. Art and Illusion: A Study in the Psychology of Pictorial Representation

    by E.H. Gombrich
    A comprehensive analysis of the psychology behind pictorial representation in art, exploring the illusions created by artists throughout history.

    Described by Kenneth Clark as 'one of the most brilliant books of art criticism that I have ever read', Art and Illusion is a classic study of image-making. It seeks to answer a simple question: why ... (Goodreads)

  53. Tonio Kröger

    by Thomas Mann
    A story of a young artist's struggle to reconcile his artistic aspirations with his bourgeois background and societal expectations.

    The narrative follows the course of a man's life from his schoolboy days to his adulthood. The son of a north German merchant and a "Southern" mother (Consuelo) with artistic talents, Tonio inherited ... (Wikipedia)

  54. Fables: Covers

    by James Jean
    A collection of stunningly beautiful cover art from the comic book series "Fables". Each piece tells a story of its own.

    Now, for the first time, the exquisite Fables covers by James Jean, winner of multiple Eisner and Harvey Awards , whose diverse clients include Prada and Pepsi, are collected in one extraordinary ... (Goodreads)

  55. Annie Leibovitz at Work

    by Annie Leibovitz
    A behind-the-scenes look at the iconic photographer's creative process, featuring her most famous portraits and personal anecdotes.

    Annie Leibovitz, our most celebrated living photographer, explains how her pictures are made Leibovitz addresses young photographers and readers interested in what photographers do, but any reader ... (Barnes & Noble)

  56. The 20th Century Art Book

    by Phaidon Press
    A comprehensive guide to the most influential artists of the 20th century, featuring their most iconic works and biographical information.

    Covering the international nature of the modern art scene, this title encompasses established, iconic works of art and the classics of the future. It presents 500 artists in an alphabetical order, ... (Goodreads)

  57. Aphrodite: A Memoir of the Senses

    by Isabel Allende
    A sensual journey through the history of Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and beauty, exploring the power of desire and pleasure.

    New York Times, bestselling author of, The House of the Spirits,, Isabel Allende celebrates the pleasures of the sensual life in this rich, joyful and slyly humorous book, a combination of personal ... (Goodreads)

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