The Esthetic Vacuum of Our Age
In this radio talk, Ayn Rand explains her theory of esthetics (the branch of philosophy concerned with art), discussing the role that art and literature play in human life. “Do not make the mistake of concluding that the purpose of art is education or enlightenment or propaganda, or any kind of narrow didactic message,” Rand observes. “Art is the expression of men’s deepest, most fundamental, most philosophical values.” She examines how the school of Naturalism replaced Romanticism in the twentieth century, creating a vacuum that deprives modern man of needed spiritual fuel.
In a separate program, Rand answers questions raised by her talk, addressing such topics as the accuracy of various definitions of “Romanticism,” the role of conceptual thinking and plot in Romantic art, the nature of tragedy and tragic character flaws, Shakespeare’s works and Homeric heroes.
The lecture lasts 59 minutes, and the Q&A program lasts 38 minutes.