HOW TO BE BEAUTIFUL
Keats wrote that truth and beauty were interchangeable, and at about the same time Kant was making claims that beauty could be objectively established. Since then we've fallen back into the notion that beauty lies in the eye of the beholder; that it's profoundly subjective. Beauty has become democratised, but has something been lost? Has beauty become useless? Are they ways of reclaiming absolute beauty that aren't just dogmatic?This talk will look at the history of what has counted as ‘beautiful’ in art, music, literature and fashion, and then expand out to explore the underlying philosophy. Finally, picking up from his recent book on Freud and art, Robert will explain the links between beauty and pleasure and show how they imply that there might still be a universal standard of what beauty is.
Robert Rowland Smith spent the first part of his career as a Prize Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, and the second as a partner in a leading firm of management consultants. He has published on philosophy, literature and psychoanalysis, including Derrida and Autobiography; and is a founding editor of the award-winning journal, Angelaki. He has lectured at universities throughout the UK, Europe and US. In recent years, Robert has spoken at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, the Hayward Gallery, the French Institute, and the London School of Economics. He has written for The Independent, been profiled in The Sunday Telegraph Magazine, contributed to books on philosophy for children, and broadcast for BBC Radio 3. He has a regular column in Sunday Times Style and contributes to The School of Life’s Life Class column in the Evening Standard Magazine.