Aesthetic evaluation and film

By Andrew Klevan

Aesthetic evaluation and film


  • eBook
  • Hardcover

Book Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-1-7849-9125-8
  • Pages: 256
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £16.99
  • Published Date: August 2018
  • BIC Category: The arts / Film: styles & genres, The arts / Film theory & criticism, The arts / Films, cinema, Films, cinema, PERFORMING ARTS / Film & Video / General, PERFORMING ARTS / Film & Video / History & Criticism


This book provides an in-depth, holistic examination of evaluative aesthetics and criticism as they apply to film. Organised around the explanation of key concepts, it illuminates connections between the work of philosophers, theorists and critics, and demonstrates the evaluation of form through the close analysis of film sequences. The book advocates that aesthetic evaluation should be flexibly informed by a cluster of concerns including medium, convention, prominence, pattern and relation; and rather than privileging a particular theory or film style, it models a type of approach, attention, process and discourse. Suitable for students of film studies and philosophical aesthetics at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels, Aesthetic evaluation and film also provides a framework for academics researching or teaching in the area. At the same time, the crisp and lucid style will make the book accessible to a wider readership.


'This book is a Film as Film for our times. But it is also more than that. Film and cultural studies are increasingly focused on knowing the price of everything in their disciplinary turns towards media-industry studies, and a book that brings genuine and rigorous illumination to questions of value and the skills of evaluation is more necessary than ever. Andrew Klevan's study of evaluative aesthetics and the practices of aesthetic criticism and evaluation of film succeeds magisterially in its aim of being sufficiently general to apply to all types of films, as well as to cultural forms beyond cinema and screen media, too. It also affords great clarity, perspicacity and detail to its central concepts and cinematic concerns. The chapters on film-focused examples of aesthetic criticism - "the practical wing of evaluative aesthetics" - are more than worth the cover price alone. A complete and, above all, deeply useful tour de force on behalf of the film-critical endeavour.'
Professor Catherine Grant, Birkbeck, University of London

'I cannot overestimate how important and timely this book is for the still-nascent discipline of film aesthetics. The study does a remarkable job in carving out a space for scholarly work in criticism and aesthetic evaluation, both in general and specifically in relation to film, setting out the essential concepts and principles of this field with incisive reference to key thinkers and critics. One particular strength is the clarity with which concepts are outlined and illustrated with examples of criticism. Another is the way those textual examples are concisely and deftly queried, refined or built upon, so that the book becomes not just an overview but a model of critical engagement in itself. This will make it essential reading for students taking classes in criticism and aesthetics, and a touchstone for academics working in the area of film style.'
Dr Alex Clayton, University of Bristol


PART I: What is evaluative aesthetics?
1.1 The origin and definition of aesthetics
1.2 The aesthetic attitude
1.3 Aesthetic taste
1.4 Sensory immediacy
1.5 Aesthetic pleasure
1.6 Seeking agreement
1.7 Imagination
1.8 Aesthetic appreciation
1.9 Form and style
1.10 Aesthetic qualities
1.11 Specificity
PART II: What is aesthetic criticism?
2.1 Evaluation
2.2 Understanding and interpretation
2.3 Perception
2.4 Experience
2.5 Particularity and responsiveness
2.6 Description and analysis
2.7 Close reading
2.8 Comparison, category, and context
2.9 Intention, achievement, and skill
2.10 Evaluative criteria
2.11 Reasons, argument, and objectivity
2.12 Subjectivity, contingency, and the relational
PART III: The aesthetic evaluation of film
3.1 Medium
3.2 Constraint
3.3 Convention
3.4 Choice and expectation
3.5 Encouraging perceptual activity
3.6 Prominence
3.7 Pattern
3.8 Relation
A note on pedagogy


Andrew Klevan is Associate Professor of Film Studies at the University of Oxford. He is the author of Barbara Stanwyck (2013), Film Performance: From Achievement to Appreciation (2005) and Disclosure of the Everyday: Undramatic Achievement in Narrative Film (2000).

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