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Guest Lecture - PATRICK COLM HOGAN (University of Connecticut): "Entangling the Heart: Beauty, Sublimity, and Cinema"

When:Th 07-01-2021 17:00 - 19:00

Entangling the Heart: Beauty, Sublimity, and Cinema
Lecture by Patrick Colm Hogan, Department of English and Program in Cognitive Science, University of Connecticut


When I was 18 or 19, and had seen only the usual movies American teenagers would see, I watched Bernardo Bertolucci’s Before the Revolution (1964). I was overwhelmed by the film as a whole, and utterly transfixed by one sequence in particular. It remains in my memory as a moment of almost inconceivably intense aesthetic delight. This talk is, in part, an attempt to explain that feeling. It sketches the forms of information processing that contribute to aesthetic pleasure, then turns to the emotion systems involved. This leads to some theoretical points about the ways in which these (universal) principles of aesthetic response—contrary to most people’s expectations—lead necessarily to differences between the aesthetic responses of individuals and between any shared aesthetic tendencies of groups (e.g., in different cultural traditions). However, these principles also suggest ways in which we may undertake rational discussion of such differences. I conclude by turning to a very different example, a song sequence from Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s Delhi-6 (2009), and some brief reflections on the variety (or varieties) of aesthetic pleasure called “the sublime.”

About the speaker

Patrick Colm Hogan is Professor of English at the University of Connecticut specializing in cognitive approaches to literary and critical theory as well as postcolonial and world literature and nonwestern theory. He is the author of numerous books, among them Understanding Indian Movies: Culture, Cognition, and Cinematic Imagination (University of Texas Press, 2008), Narrative Discourse: Authors and Narrators in Literature, Film, and Art (Ohio State UP, 2013), Beauty and Sublimity: A Cognitive Aesthetics of Literature and the Arts (Cambridge UP, 2016) and Sexual Identities: A Cognitive Literary Study (Oxford UP, 2018). He is also a member of the Literary Universals Project.