I am delighted that this book has just arrived. I have been listening to "The Name of the Rose" as an audiobook narrated by Sean Barrett. It is captivating. I have read also Eco's, "On Literature'. He was a remarkable writer. His words have such vivacity and clarity. I am also awaiting his "Postscript to The Name of the Rose" to arrive in the post. Whilst listening to "Name of the Rose" I was absolutely taken by the discussions of medieval theology and the remarkable disputes between all sorts of people inside and outside of the Catholic Church. The book is populated with all sorts of ideas and curious characters. This period, just prior to the period we call the renaissance, in Northern Italy, was a time of astounding creativity that often gets eclipsed by the perhaps more astounding fifteenth century happenings in the area. I am pleased to embark on reading this book as I am fascinated with finding meaning through art. Aquinas is one of the pivotal philosophers and his work has had a profound effect on our civilisation. This book is perhaps the only one in English that specifically explores Aquinas's work on aesthetics. As it states on the inner cover page:
"Eco examines Aquinas's conception of transcendental beauty, his theory of aesthetic perceptions or visio, and his account of the three conditions of beauty - integrity, proportion, and clarity"
I look forward to examining further the ideas of integrity, proportion, and clarity in particular. The world is now, perhaps more than ever, in dire need of beauty in its myriad forms. Beauty is far greater then we can grasp or delineate. We need to seek it and help create it. Beauty, as a magnificent, vast and central reality, has been misunderstood, denigrated and reduced to crass commercialism for too long now.
I absolutely love the look and feel of this book too. Sometimes the book as an object can just be so satisfying. The font is fantastic. And I am delighted that the cover uses for its illustration, "The Entry into Jerusalem" by Duccio, a painting that I remember seeing and writing about in my student days.
PS. The preface begins with some amusing self-effacement...