[lit-ideas] Arthur Danto

  • From: Robert Paul <rpaul@xxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Mon, 28 Oct 2013 20:39:11 -0700

Arthur Danto, as JL has helpfully noted, wrote many things. Among them are two works in the philosophy of art, that are still read and discussed by followers of that discipline:

'The Artworld,' Journal of Philosophy, October 1964, later presented as part of a symposium on 'The Work of Art,' at the annual meeting of the Easter Division meeting of the American Philosophical Association, December 1964

'The Transfiguration of the Commonplace,' Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, Winter 1974.

This is available at


In an afterword, Danto notes that

'The title of this essay was the title of the famous
book written by Sister Helena of the Transfigura-
tion (née Sandy Stranger) in Muriel Spark's The
Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. I have coveted the title,
and resolved to steal it the moment I wrote some-
thing it might fit. There has always been a question
in my mind as to what the book contained, its con-
tent's no more being given in the book which men-
tions it than Fafnir's biology is available to a close
reader of Wagner's libretto. In personal correspond-
ance, Mrs. Spark informs me "I invented the title because
I felt it was a description of creative art as
I myself practice it" (Letter, 23 November, 1973). It
is also a description of creative art as practiced by
me. For earlier relevant works of mine, see "The
Artworld," Journal of Philosophy (1964), 571-584,
and "Artworks and Real Things," Theoria (1973) 1-17.'


Robert Paul
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