What is now generally known as the paradox of art and negative affect was identified as a paradox by the Abbé Jean-Baptiste Du Bos in 1719. In his attempt to explain how people can admire and enjoy representational works that ‘afflict’ them, Du Bos claims that such representations give rise to ‘artificial’ emotions, provide a pleasurable relief from boredom, and offer us epistemic, artistic, and moral rewards. The paper delineates Du Bos’ proposal, considers the question of Du Bos’ originality, and discusses Hume’s brief comments on Du Bos and Fontenelle.
Copyright © 2013 British Society of Aesthetics
Access to external full text or publisher's version may require subscription.