2008 Student Research Conference:
21st Annual Student Research Conference

Existentialism and the Eucatastrophe: a Review of Existential Despair and Mythopoeic Hope in Various Artistic Works
Keriann Collins
Prof. Shirley McKamie, Faculty Mentor

In the history of aesthetics, the tension between two views of art, expression and mimesis, has been steadily maintained. Expressionists hold that the arts are self-expression, while mimeticists hold that the arts are representations of and offer greater insight into the highest order of reality. This tension resurfaced in the twentieth century and took the form of artistic expressions of existential despair (through modes such as surrealism and the plays of Jean-Paul Sartre) and representations of divinely wrought hope (through works such as Henryk Gòrecki’s Third Symphony). The dichotomy of these views can be traced through the ideas of early twentieth-century existentialists and a group of English writers and Oxford dons, who called themselves "the Inklings." This exploration brings to light several inconsistencies in the philosophy of despair and the fundamental necessity of hope as an aspect of human life.

Keywords: aesthetics, expressionism, existentialism, hope, philosophy, Inklings, mimetics, despair

Topic(s):Interdisciplinary

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 37-3
Location: OP 2210
Time: 1:45

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