Jerz: Media Aesthetics


1 March 2005

Essay 1 Draft

Investigate an issue that has arisen from the class discussion of the texts we have looked at so far.

Length: 3-4 pages, not counting the works cited list.

Your paper should investigate a non-obvious claim (your "thesis") on some area of media aesthetics, using brief quotations from and direct reference to some of the texts we have examined this term.

Handouts:
Follow MLA Style
Short Research Papers
Thesis Statements
Integrating Good Sources

An academic argument should include the best evidence against the point you want to argue, as well as evidence in favor. You don't "win" an academic argument by making the other side look weak. (That's the "straw man" fallacy.)

I expect you to do your own reading, beyond the assigned texts.

Use peer-reviewed academic sources to provide context for your claims. (For instance, if you want to pit Plato against Aristotle on a partiuclar point, chances are someone else has investigated the disagreement before; your paper will gain authority if you cite the existing discussion, as it was presented in published scholarship.)

You may choose to use other classical or historical documents that we did not discuss in class (other chapters of The Republic, for example).

If your paper builds on a point someone else made in class, you should cite that person's contribution as best you can.

I encourage you to post your draft in sections on your weblog -- a 4-page paper will be too long to read online, and it won't be easy for readers to post comments. If you break your paper up into manageable chunks, and devote a blog entry to each of your supporting points, the result will be much easier to read.

If you do post something online in the next couple days, I might see it and give you some feedback before the due date. (If you post a comment or trackback to this entry, I'll see it and respond as soon as I can.)

Shelton, ''The Aesthetic Realism of Oscar Wilde's Dorian Gray''

Waldrep, Shelton. "The Aesthetic Realism of Oscar Wilde's Dorian Gray." Studies in the Literary Imagination 29:1 (1996). 10p. Academic Search Elite. Reeves Library, Seton Hill University. reeveslib.setonhill.edu 18 Feb 2006.

Wilde's views on realism can perhaps best be described as contradictory. Although he takes realism to task in "The Decay of Lying" and seems to move toward a version of formalism in "The Critic as Artist," in his earlier writings he was often in favor of deploying realism for certain artistic and social ends. Wilde's mentor Walter Pater referred to Attic Greece as "an age clearly of faithful observation, of what we call realism . . . . Its workmen are close students . . . of the living form as such . . ." (Greek Studies 301). With Pater, Wilde developed the idea that England's culture should become Hellenic. Greece was seen as the ultimate type of a new Renaissance of the arts. Wilde considered his work to be the precursor of this new style, an aesthetics that would combine the best of the Greek with the best of the new--realism being an important connection between the two. As he says in "The English Renaissance of Art," "to the Greek, pure artist, that work is most instinct with spiritual life which conforms most clearly to the perfect facts of physical life" (248).