Encyclopedia of Aesthetics

Encyclopedia of Aesthetics

Encyclopedia of Aesthetics, published in 1998 by Oxford University Press, is an encyclopedia that covers philosophical, historical, sociological, and biographical aspects of Art and Aesthetics worldwide.


Many prominent aesthetics scholars contributed.[1] The encyclopedia aimed to provide "a genealogy of aesthetics sufficient to integrate its philosophical and cultural roles, and that it contributes to a discursive public sphere in which multiple perspectives are articulated, dialogue fostered, and common ground constructed."[1]

The only comparable work is 25 years older: The Dictionary of the History of Ideas: Studies of Selected Pivotal Ideas (New York, NY: Scribner, 1973-74), which had articles on aesthetics and other key topics, written from an interdisciplinary approach.[2] There are other contemporary works that deal with the aesthetics universe, but "from within their respective disciplinary frameworks";[2] they are: The Dictionary of Art (New York, NY: Grove’s Dictionaries, 1996) and Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy (London, England: Routledge, 1998).

The Encyclopedia was written from a comparative perspective, with the traditions of non western societies in view, and re-thought the critical assumptions of western aesthetics.[3] Examples of such perspective are the entries: grotesque; Black Aesthetic, African Aesthetics, Caribbean Aesthetics, Chinese Aesthetics, Indian Aesthetics, Japanese Aesthetics, Islamic Aesthetics, Latin American Aesthetics; Tribal art;[4] Jokes, Camp, Play; Anti-art, Situationist Aesthetics; Gay Aesthetics, Lesbian Aesthetics; Law and Art, Moral Rights of Arts, Cultural Property, Obscenity, Politics and Aesthetics, Morality and Aesthetics.[3] The longest entry, 35 pages, was for Immanuel Kant.[2]


  1. ^ a b Silvers (2000)
  2. ^ a b c Review by Tom Riedel
  3. ^ a b Review by Giuseppe Patella
  4. ^ Dutton, Denis Tribal Art in Encyclopedia of Aesthetics, edited by Michael Kelly (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998).


  • Kelly, Michael (Editor in Chief) (1998) Encyclopedia of Aesthetics. New York, Oxford, Oxford University Press. 4 voll., pp. XVII-521, pp. 555, pp. 536, pp. 572; 2224 total pages; 100 b/w photos; ISBN 978-0-19-511307-5. Covers philosophical, historical, sociological, and biographical aspects of Art and Aesthetics worldwide.
  • Google books entry
  • On the article on Beauty: [1]


  • from The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, Vol. 58, No. 3 (Summer, 2000):
    • Silvers, Anita I. Achievement of Stated Goals; Cultural and Philosophical Missions pp. 291–293 doi:10.2307/432111
    • Donougho, Martin II. Scope and Balance pp. 293–295 doi:10.2307/432112
    • Davis, Whitney III. Historical and Art-Historical Coverage , pp. 295–298 doi:10.2307/432113
    • Moore, Ronald IV. The Encyclopedia as a Learning Tool pp. 298–302 doi:10.2307/432114
  • Budd, Malcolm The Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 97, No. 2 (Feb., 2000), pp. 94–99 doi:10.2307/2678448
  • Patella, Giuseppe (Italian)
  • Riedel, Tom (Regis University)
  • Rowe, M.W. British Journal of Aesthetics, Volume 42, Number 1, 1 January 2002, pp. 83–86(4) 10.1093/bjaesthetics/42.1.83
  • Woodfield, Richard [2] The Art Bulletin, Vol. 83, No. 3 (Sep., 2001), pp. 559–563 doi:10.2307/3177243