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At the Royal Academy

Peter deBolla: Abstract Expressionism, 15 December 2016

... perhaps, is his Still Life on Table, which gets more of its visual language from Cubism via Miró. De Kooning’s Untitled (1939) could almost be a low-wattage Matisse. These artists hadn’t yet dared to ask themselves what might transpire were they to push yet further and leave semiosis itself behind. The answers they eventually came up with are ...

In the Butcher’s Shop

Peter deBolla: Deleuze on Bacon, 23 September 2004

Francis Bacon: The Logic of Sensation 
by Gilles Deleuze, translated by Daniel Smith.
Continuum, 209 pp., £9.99, March 2004, 0 8264 7318 0
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... of sensing the world. The recent translation of Gilles Deleuze’s Francis Bacon: Logique de la sensation ought to revivify debates about aesthetics, but it’s likely to meet with the same response from English speakers as previous translations of Deleuze’s extraordinary oeuvre: bewilderment. This response would certainly have surprised Deleuze’s ...

Why We Weep

Peter deBolla: Looking and Feeling, 6 March 2003

Pictures & Tears: A History of People Who Have Cried in Front of Paintings 
by James Elkins.
Routledge, 272 pp., £14.99, October 2001, 0 415 93713 2
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... What are experiences of artworks like? Kant’s Critique of Judgment is relatively clear on this point: aesthetic judgments prompt what he calls an ‘agitation of the mind’. How agitated should it be? Is one kind of agitation, say frustration at not being able to understand a work, equivalent to another, say a feeling of joy or wonder? Does the absence of agitation signal something of importance in respect of the artwork, or is it merely an indication that my perceptual faculties are not tuned in? Some days I may get all choked up listening to Mahler; on others I seem to be indifferent ...

Bloom’s Giant Forms

Mark Edmundson, 1 June 1989

Ruin the sacred truths: Poetry and Belief from the Bible to the Present 
by Harold Bloom.
Harvard, 204 pp., £15.95, February 1989, 0 674 78027 2
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Harold Bloom: Towards Historical Rhetorics 
by Peter deBolla.
Routledge, 155 pp., £25, October 1988, 0 415 00899 9
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... or ‘pragmatic’ criticism. This latest move runs directly counter to the way that Peter deBolla’s book Harold Bloom: Towards Historical Rhetorics wants to take Bloom’s work. De Bolla’s clear, thoughtful description of Bloom’s career thus far is ...

What Henry Knew

Michael Wood: Literature and the Taste of Knowledge, 18 December 2003

... brief statement of its current force, and a way of holding the whole issue before our minds, in Peter deBolla’s book Art Matters.2 De Bolla is looking at a Barnett Newman painting (Vir Heroicus Sublimis) in the Museum of Modern Art in New York. He has decided that the usual ...

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