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Frontiers of PleasureModels of Aesthetic Response in Archaic and Classical Greek Thought$
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Anastasia-Erasmia Peponi

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199798322

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199798322.001.0001

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(p.33) 3 Weeping
Frontiers of Pleasure

Anastasia-Erasmia Peponi

Oxford University Press

The pleasure and the pain of the listener are intensely negotiated in the Odyssey, until reconciled in the figure of Odysseus. For a modern reader such issues bring up an instrumental concept discussed by Edward Bullough in the early twentieth century, that of psychical distance. This chapter suggests that contrary to current assumptions, in the Odyssey aesthetic pleasure is steadily sought out in spite of a listener’s lack of psychical distance. Two further points are emphasized. First is the importance of underexamined aspects of Plato’s Philebus for understanding mixed pleasure as an aesthetic type of pleasure. Further comparisons between Platonic and Homeric approaches to a listener’s weeping illuminate the subtleties of the latter. Second are Kant’s sparse and insufficient references to weeping as a mode of response. A modern reader of the Odyssey might trace in Odysseus’s aesthetic response a judgment of taste, despite Kant’s own exclusion of this type of judgment from the realm of emotion.

Keywords:   Edward Bullough, emotion, judgment of taste, mixed pleasure, psychical distance

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