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Benedetto Croce (1866–1952)

Author of Aesthetic

230+ Works 1,621 Members 13 Reviews 2 Favorited

About the Author

Benedetto Croce was born in Pescasseroli, Italy on February 25, 1866. He studied literature and philosophy in Rome and Naples and in 1902 published Estetica. In 1903, he established the journal La Critica. He became a senator in 1910 and served as Minister of Education from 1920 to 1921. He was show more fiercely opposed to the Fascist regime and was ousted from public life by Benito Mussolini. After World War II, he returned to politics and became a member of the Constituent Assembly. In 1947, he was elected president of the Italian Liberal Party. He was also a historian, humanist, and foremost Italian philosopher of the first half of the 20th century. His most influential work, Aesthetic as Science of Expression and General Linguistic, was published in 1902. His other works include Logic As the Science of the Pure Concept, Philosophy of the Practical: Economic and Ethic, and History: Its Theory and Practice. He died on November 20, 1952 at the age of 86. (Bowker Author Biography) show less
Image credit: cultura.panorama.it

Works by Benedetto Croce

Aesthetic (1909) 218 copies
Guide to Aesthetics (1928) — Author — 150 copies
Storie e leggende napoletane (1948) — Author — 54 copies
Etica e politica (1945) 23 copies
La poesia di Dante (1922) — Author — 18 copies
Elementi di politica (1949) 17 copies
Ariosto, Shakespeare e Corneille (1920) — Author — 14 copies
Liberismo e liberalismo (2011) 13 copies
Il concetto della storia (1956) 12 copies
Poesia e non poesia (1955) 11 copies
Ariosto (1991) 11 copies
Goethe (1970) 10 copies
Nuovi saggi di estetica (1948) 10 copies
I teatri di Napoli (1992) 7 copies
Poesia antica e moderna. Interpretazioni (2009) — Author — 7 copies
An Autobiograpy (1977) 6 copies
Essays on Marx and Russia (1966) 6 copies
The Essence of Aesthetic (2015) 6 copies
The Conduct of Life (1967) 4 copies
Dal libro dei pensieri (2002) — Author — 4 copies
Orientamenti 3 copies
Carteggio, v. 1: 1904-1910 (1990) — Author — 3 copies
Ultimi saggi (2012) 3 copies
Una famiglia di patrioti (2010) 3 copies
Curiosita storiche (1921) 3 copies
Carteggio Croce-Vossler, 1899-1949 (1991) — Author — 3 copies
Il brigante Angiolillo (1986) 2 copies
Shakespeare (2020) 2 copies
Essays 2 copies
Carteggio, 1899-1905 (2006) — Author — 2 copies
Discorsi parlamentari (2002) 2 copies
Leonardo filosofo (2021) 1 copy
Estetik 1 copy
Conversazioni critiche — Author — 1 copy
Conversazioni critiche — Author — 1 copy
Carteggio Croce-Borchardt (1997) — Author — 1 copy
Carteggio Croce-Laurini (2005) — Author — 1 copy
Dialogo su Dio: carteggio 1941-1952 (2007) — Author — 1 copy
Letture Di Poeti (1950) 1 copy
Conversazioni Critiche (1924) 1 copy
Logica 1 copy
Polities and morals (1945) 1 copy
Frammenti di etica (1922) 1 copy
Carteggio 1 copy
La borghesia 1 copy
Pescasseroli 1 copy

Associated Works

Il Pentamerone: The Tale of Tales (1970) — Editor, some editions — 413 copies
The Age of Analysis: The 20th Century Philosophers (1955) — Contributor — 402 copies
Critical Theory Since Plato (1971) — Contributor, some editions — 393 copies
The Philosophy of History in Our Time (1959) — Contributor — 214 copies
Lectures in Criticism (1961) — Contributor — 13 copies
Aristodemo — Editor, some editions — 3 copies
Lirici marinisti — Editor — 2 copies


Common Knowledge



luvucenanzo06 | Sep 7, 2023 |
A delightful read. A gem to return to again and again; lots to mediate upon, lots to learn. Benedetto Croce is an outstanding philosopher, and to my way of thinking; a brilliant essayist. He has a way of presenting the long sentence in a simple manner, if you’ll take the time to follow. I admire his doctrine on the philosophy of spirit and I look forward for reading more of his works.
Michael-18 | Oct 28, 2019 |
PAFM | Oct 19, 2019 |

Italian philosopher Benedetto Croce (1866-1952) placed great importance on art, beauty, intuition and the imagination. A number of his key ideas are put forth in this short work – The Essence of Aesthetic, with four main headings: 1) What Is Art? 2) Prejudices Relating to Art 3) The Place of Art in the Spirit and in Human Society 4) Criticism and the History of Art. I will focus on Part 4, Criticism and the History of Art, since this section touches on what we are engaged with on this site: reading books and writing reviews. Below are five quotes from Croce’s The Essence of Aesthetic coupled with my brief comments.

"Artists do not know what criticism is, expecting from it favors which it is not in a position to grant, and injuries which it is not in a position to inflict: since it is clear that no critic can make an artist of one who is not an artist, so no critic can ever undo, overthrow, or even slightly injure an artist who is really an artist." --------- Although it is true a critic cannot make an artist out of a non-artist and vice versa, a critic can most definitely, via a glowing review, provide the artist with a wider audience. Stephen King wrote such a glowing review of The Goldfinch in the New York Times. I am quite certain his review boosted Donna Tartt’s readership. My sense is artists/writers are concerned with what reviewers will say for exactly this reason.

"Self-styled critics, who do actually present themselves as pedagogues, as oracles, as guides of art, as legislators, seers, and prophets; they command artists to do this or that, they assign themes to them and declare that certain subjects are poetical and certain others not; they are discontented with the art at present produced, and would prefer one similar to that prevailing at this or that epoch of the past, or at another of which they declare they catch a glimpse in the near or remote future; they will reprove Tasso for not being Ariosto." --------- This is poison for a reviewer: judging a work by some preconceived yardstick or preconceived idea of how the play (for example) should be performed (perhaps another production they enjoyed) and will use that previous production/interpretation as the gold standard for the play they are viewing.

I don’t see this happening so much on book reviews but I’ve seen it happen frequently in theater reviews. For example, a reviewer has a preconceived notion of how The Merchant of Venice or Comedy of Errors should be performed and when a director/acting troupe treats the material with an unconventional, creative twist, the reviewer pans them. I recall John Cage noting how after listening to an orchestra play a Brahms symphony, the little girl sitting the seat in front of him turned to her father and said, “That’s not the way it goes.” Much wiser to keep it fresh – view a book or performance or painting on its own terms.

"Those capricious critics are not so much critics as artists: artists who have failed and who aspire to a certain form of art, which they are unable to attain, either because their aspiration was contradictory, or because their power was not sufficient and failed them; and thus, preserving in their soul the bitterness of the unrealized ideal, they can speak of nothing else, lamenting everywhere its absence, and everywhere invoking its presence." ---------- Croce does not care for critics who are critics because they are failed artists. Such failed artists, he notes, tend to be bitter and hypercritical of other artists and artworks. Perhaps this is true, however, there are many critics and reviewers who prefer to review rather than paint or write novels. Criticism and reviewing, in each of the arts – visual arts, performing arts, music, literature – has its own rich tradition and is an art-form and creative expression in its own right. Think of art critic Robert Hughes or literary critic Burton Rascoe - incredibly imaginative, perceptive, talented people whose prime mode of expression was reviewing.

"Is there really need of criticism in order to distinguish the beautiful from the ugly? The production itself of art is never anything but this distinguishing, because the artist arrives at purity of expression precisely by eliminating the ugly which threatens to invade it." ---------- Actually, there is a place for criticism and reviewing in judging what is worth the reader’s time; matter of fact, such judging is a prime reason for writing and reading reviews in the first place.

"There is criticism as interpretation or comment, which makes itself small before works of art and limits itself to the duty of dusting, placing in a good light, furnishing information as to the period at which a picture was painted and what it represents, explaining linguistic forms, historical allusions, the presumptions of fact and of idea in a poem; and in both cases, its duty performed, permits the art to act spontaneously within the soul of the onlooker and of the reader." ---------- This is one strength a reviewer or critic can bring to the review – to appraise the work from a particular, creative point of view, for example, philosophical, historical, psychological or comparative. If I may be so bold, by way of example, in my review of Poe's The Cask of Amontillado I used Schopenhauer's essay on revenge as the framework for analyzing this classic tale.

This twenty-eight page essay can be read by following this link: https://www.google.com/#q=the essence of aesthetic pdf

Literature and its influence on various dimensions of modern life is a subject very much alive and kicking. Evgeny Morozov delivering a lecture on literature and technology.
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Glenn_Russell | 1 other review | Nov 13, 2018 |



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