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Ben Nicholson Bookjacket for Adrian Stokes, The Stones of Rimini c.1935 Victoria and Albert Museum, on white cover, by Ridinghouse.

The Outwardness of Art

Selected Writings of Adrian Stokes

Edited by Thomas Evans


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  • Adrian Stokes (1902–1972) was one of the twentieth century’s great prose stylists and most nuanced aesthetic theorists
  • 2022 marks the 50th anniversary of Stokes's death, and 50 years since the last selected writings was published (edited by Richard Wollheim). This book builds on it, offering entire chapters and essays rather than extracts and selections, introducing him to a new audience
  • Includes posthumously published material and a broad introduction to Stokes's writing on art and ballet
Full Description

“The Outwardness of Art is a single-volume compendium of some of the best words ever written by this most subtle and wide-ranging of aesthetic theorists.” – Michael Glover, Hyperallergic

Immensely influential, and long beloved by artists, writers and theorists alike, Adrian Stokes (1902–1972) was at once the last of the great British amateur art writers and – as the first art theorist to substantially synthesise aesthetics and psychoanalysis – among the first of the moderns.

Since the publication of his groundbreaking books The Quattro Cento and Stones of Rimini in the 1930s, Stokes’s writing has enjoyed a readership across disciplines from psychoanalysis to literature and art. Contemporary admirers ranged from Ernst Gombrich to Dore Ashton, Ben Nicholson to Philip Guston, Ezra Pound to John Ashbery – reflecting the diverse milieus in which Stokes moved.

And yet it has been nearly 45 years since a broad introduction to his work has been commercially available. In the wake of a recent biography, new critical studies and reprintings of individual books, this volume presents a substantial selection from Stokes’s published writings – including important posthumously published texts as well as his superb ballet writings of the 1920s – highlighting him as a pioneering thinker on art and a virtuoso of the essay form.

About the Author

British-born artist Thomas Evans is the author of Furniture without Rest: Introduction to a Pedestrian Thought Theatre. He was previously the editor of poetry magazine Tolling Elves.

14th Apr 2022
Paperback / softback
World excluding USA & Canada
225.43 mm x 149.23 mm
592 Pages
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