Attunement: How We Become Enthralled by Art
Rita Felski, Professor of English, University of Virginia
Reading the opening lines of a novel, coming face to face with a painting, or listening to a few bars of music we may find ourselves captivated or entranced in ways we cannot always explain. We are enthralled by what we did not think we would care for; or we are left cold by what we were eagerly anticipating. This talk will explore why are we drawn to certain artworks – become “attuned” to them – but are stubbornly unmoved by others. It will consider various examples of attunement, both sudden and slow, with a particular focus on Zadie Smith’s response to the music of Joni Mitchell.
A book signing will follow the program.
Speaker bio: Rita Felski is William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of English at the University of Virginia, Niels Bohr Professor at the University of Southern Denmark, and the editor of New Literary History. She has written extensively on literary theory and aesthetics, modernity and postmodernity, feminist theory, and cultural studies. Her most recent books include Uses of Literature (2008), Comparison: Theories, Approaches, Uses (2013), The Limits of Critique (2015) and Critique and Postcritique (2017).Sponsored by the Dresher Center for the Humanities, the American Studies Department, and the English Department.