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The Beauty of Choice: On Women, Art, and Freedom

$ 35.00

In The Beauty of Choice, the renowned cultural critic Wendy Steiner offers a dazzling new account of aesthetics grounded in female agency. Through a series of linked meditations on canonical and contemporary literature and art, she casts women’s taste as the engine of liberal values.

Steiner reframes long-standing questions surrounding desire, art, sexual assault, and beauty in light of #MeToo. Beginning with an opera she wrote based on Chaucer’s “The Wife of Bath’s Tale,” she presents women’s sexual choices as fundamentally aesthetic in nature—expressions of their taste—and artworks as stagings of choice in courtship, coquetry, consent, marriage, and liberation. A merger of art criticism, evolutionary theory, political history, and aesthetics, this book paints the struggle between female autonomy and patriarchal violence and extremism as the essence of art.

Wendy Steiner
Columbia University Press
Hardcover, 277 pages

ISBN 9780231215268

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