The Power of Beauty In the Narrative Works of Anton Chekhov

Masterarbeit, 2013

76 Seiten


I. Introduction

II. Theory
1. What Is Beauty?
1.1. Ancient Ideas about Beauty
1.2. Standards of Beauty
1.3. Female Beauty in Russian Literature of the 19th Century
2. Why Is Beauty Important?
2.1. Appearance as Representation of the Inner Self
2.2. Beauty is Genetic
2.3. Beauty as a Sign of Health
3. What Is the Power of Beauty?
3.1. Basic Instincts
3.2. Beauty Is the Best Letter of Introduction and Can Overwhelm Class Distinction. (Aristotle)
3.3. Erotic Capital as the 4th Personal Asset
3.4. The Power of Beauty Is the Combination of Beauty and Brains, the Combination of Erotic and Cultural Capital My Classification of the Relationships between Men and Women Using the Theory of 4 Capitals
3.5. The Power of Beauty: Wife, Friend, Lover, Loser
3.6. The Power of Money: Husband, Friend/ Lover, Sponsor, Loser
4. Criticism of Beauty
4.1. Beauty Is Superficial
4.2. Feministic Failure
5. The Role of a Woman in 19th-Century Russian Society
5.1. Social Position of a Woman in the 19th Century
5.2. Women’s Culture
5.3. Women’s Education in 19th-Century Russia
6. The Classification of Women in Critical Writings on Chekhov’s Stories (Toby W. Clyman ,Carolina de Maegd-Soëp)
6.1. Female Types in Accordance to Deprivation
6.2. The Petty-Bourgeois Housewife/ Blue Stockings/ Frivolous Women

III. Analysis:
My Classification of Women in the Narrative Works of Anton Chekhov. The Power of Beauty
Ladies in the Narrative Works of Anton Chekhov
1. Beautiful Women/ Beauties
1.1. Erotic Capital
1.2. Cultural Capital
1.3. The Power of Beauty
1.4. Chekhov's Literary Techniques for Representing Beauties
1.5. Conclusions
2. Intellectual Women/ Intellectuals
2.1. Erotic Capital
2.2. Cultural Capital
2.3. The Power of Beauty
2.4. Chekhov's Literary Techniques for Representing Intellectuals
2.5. Comparison to the Beauties
2.6. Conclusions
Peasant Women in the Narrative Works of Anton Chekhov
3. Frivolous Women
3.1. Erotic Capital
3.2. Cultural Capital
3.3. The Power of Beauty
3.4. Chekhov's Literary Techniques for Representing Frivolous Women
3.5. Comparison to the Beauties
3.6. Conclusions
4. Hardworking Women/ Hard Workers
4.1. Erotic Capital
4.2. Cultural Capital
4.3. The Power of Beauty
4.4. Chekhov's Literary Techniques for Representing Hardworking Women
4.5. Conclusions

IV. Conclusions

V. Bibliography

‘I am beauty, complete and alone. I speak only through the spirit of him who looks at me. In my absolute simplicity, all thought defeats itself since it loses its limits. All thoughts think together in me, confused, indistinct, identical, like the ripples on rivers as they enter the sea. For him who reflects me, I am the deeper character he assigns me.’

—Venus (the goddess of love and beauty)

I. Introduction

In 2011, Catherine Hakim, a Professor of Sociology from the London Business School, presented a theory about erotic capital being a fourth personal asset alongside economic, social and cultural capital. In her book, Hakim demonstrates the economic and personal advantages of being an attractive person. Professor of Law, Deborah Rhode, and Professor of Economics, Daniel Hamermesh, also published books entitled Beauty Bias and Beauty Pays in the same year; the books discuss the advantages and disadvantages of being beautiful or ugly. Since human beauty has been a critical and popular subject for centuries, and includes the issues of worshiping or denying beauty, the cult of ugliness or beauty and the importance or superficiality of beauty, I decided to investigate the theory of erotic capital in classic Russian literature, specifically the narrative works of Anton Chekhov. I have chosen 26 short stories with either a female title character or a woman protagonist.

As many literary works concerning women show their weakness, powerlessness and desperate situation, my thesis focuses on the advantages of being a woman as well as why it is a privilege. I analysed the narrative works of Chekhov through the sociological theories of Catherine Hakim and Pierre Bourdieu, while also using the works of literary scholars, Mikhail Bachtin and Jurij Lotman.

Following the analysis, I divided all the women characters according to their appearance into two categories: Ladies and Peasant Women. There were numerous differences between these categories of women ranging from how they act, look and sound to how they are treated. If the ladies lived in a world of beauty and love, the peasant women existed in a world of ugliness and sex. Their level of power over men also differs: the ladies had more power and privilege, and the men catered to their every whim but the peasant women were physically and mentally abused, had little influence over men—if they did, it was mostly sexual—and received no financial reward, even if they possessed a high level of social and physical attractiveness.

Besides appearance, what distinguishes a lady from a peasant woman is her cultural capital: the combination of education, intelligence, good manners, an understanding of art and culture, and ethical values. Only cultural capital makes a lady out of a peasant woman. Hence, I divided erotic capital and cultural capital into more distinct categories and identified four types of women according to the power of their beauty. Thus, the Ladies are subdivided into Beauties and Intellectuals, and the Peasant Women into Frivolous Women and Hard Workers.

In this thesis, I would like to address the meaning of beauty, the role it plays in Chekhov’s narrative works, the meaning of cultural capital, and the social position and education of women in 19th-century Russia. Through these discussions, I would also like to comment on the power of a woman. My thesis will demonstrate what kind of women Chekhov liked or disliked as well as his opinions on women’s emancipation and on the usage of beauty to secure economic advantages and manipulate men. Chekhov greatly influenced the literature of the 20th century. Was he right in believing that women’s education would help women gain more legal and social rights? What literary methods did he use to differentiate between the different types of women? In my thesis, the power of beauty is the result of combining erotic and cultural capital, and I would like to show you how it developed in 19th-century Russia.

Beauty is very influential, but intelligence makes it truly supreme. It is not a woman’s appearance alone that matters, but also her social attractiveness, style, education and intelligence. The combination of all these features creates a real power—the Power of Beauty.

II. Theory

‘People should be beautiful in every way—in their faces, in the way they dress, in their thoughts and in their innermost selves.’

—Anton Chekhov

1. What Is Beauty?

1.1. Ancient Ideas about Beauty

‘Ancient ideas about beauty were stated in absolutes. “What is beautiful is good and what is good will soon be beautiful,” said Sappho. “Beauty is truth, and truth beauty,” said Keats. In the postmodern world, all is relative, even beauty. Beauty is solely “in the eyes of the beholder,” constructed by a culture fashioned from idiosyncratic preference.’ (Etcoff 1999:233)

Ancient philosophers thought about beauty in the most common way we know: they regarded symmetry and harmony as being the most important qualities of beauty and believed that it should give aesthetic satisfaction to the beholder. Beauty was thus regarded as a source of pleasure embedded deep in our minds.

‘Plato said that beauty resides in proper measure and proper size, of parts that fit harmoniously into a seamless whole. He extended the idea of proportion to the beautiful in all things and wrote of the best length of a speech, the optimal organization of paintings, and the proper use of language in poetry. To St. Augustine, beauty was synonymous with geometric form and balance. He thought that equilateral triangles were more beautiful then scalene triangles because their parts were more even. Squares, being composed of equal-length segments, were more beautiful still, circles even more beautiful, and the point, invisible and pure, was the most beautiful of all. “What is beauty of the body?” he asked. “A harmony of its parts with a certain pleasing colour.” For Aristotle, beauty resided in “order and symmetry and definiteness.” For Cicero, it was “a certain symmetrical shape of the limbs combined with a certain charm of colouring.” For Plotinus, it was a “symmetry of parts toward each other and towards a whole... the beautiful thing is essentially symmetrical.” Plotinus believed that beauty must be present in details, as well as the whole; “it cannot be constructed out of ugliness, its law must run throughout.” Common to all these theories is the idea that the properties of beauty are the same whether we are seeing a beautiful woman, a flower, a landscape, or a circle.’ (Etcoff 1999:15)

1.2. Standards of Beauty

Fashions for female beauty change from century to the century. However, the basic standards of beauty tend not to vary. Every nation in every period finds clear skin, big eyes, full lips, lustrous hair, and symmetrical and proportional features of the body beautiful.

Youth is beauty and beauty is youth. Women of all ages try to imitate youth because a woman is at her most beautiful and fertile at this time. Moreover, female beauty is strongly associated with fertility. A woman’s appearance indicates whether she is healthy and able to bear a child.

‘Despite the vagaries of fashion, every culture finds the large eyes, small nose, round cheeks and tiny limbs of the baby beautiful. All men and women find lustrous hair, clear taut skin, a woman's cinched waist, and men’s sculptured pectorals attractive. Beauty is one of the ways life perpetuates itself, and love of beauty is deeply rooted in out biology.’ (Etcoff 1999:233-234)

‘Women’s fertility is tied more closely to youth and physical health than is men's. Particular significance attaches to cues about female age, health, and hormonal balance—such as firm breasts, clear skin, lustrous hair and hourglass figures. In contrast, men's reproductive success is linked more closely to their ability to support a family. For them, relevant characteristics have historically been those that suggest access to resources, including physical dominance—as suggested by height and muscles—as well as factors unrelated to appearance that affect the provider’s role.

Concerning facial and body symmetry, clear skin, youth in women and height in men, even members of tribes insulated from the mass media share such preferences, and infants as young as three months prefer faces that are attractive in terms of geometric proportions. Socio-biological frameworks may help explain some research findings that women attach greater importance than men do to financial capacity in potential long-term mates, and that men attach greater importance than women do to youth in physical appearance.’ (Rhode 2010:46)

1.3. Female Beauty in Russian Literature of the 19th Century

In Russian literature, the fashions for female beauty changed with the centuries. At one time, very thin and pale women were in fashion; at other times, full-figured women attracted the attention of writers.

‘Бледность (если не естественная, то создаваемая с большим искусством!) стала обязательным элементом женской привлекательности. Красавица XVIII века пышет здоровьем и ценится дородностью. Людям той поры кажется, что женщина полная - это женщина красивая. Именно крупная, полная женщина считается идеалом красоты — и портретисты, нередко греша против истины, приближают потретируемых к идеалу. Женщина эпохи романтизма должна быть бледной, мечтательной, ей идет грусть. Мужчинам нравилось, чтобы в печальных, мечтательных голубых женских глазах блестели слезы и чтобы женщина, читая стихи, уносилась душой куда-то вдаль — в мир более идеальный, чем тот, который ее окружает.’ (Lotman 2003: 364)

2. Why Is Beauty Important?

‘Beauty is not going anywhere. The idea that beauty is unimportant or a cultural construct is the real beauty myth. We have to understand beauty, or we will always be enslaved by it.’

(Etcoff 1999:243)

Why is beauty important and why has it remained such a striking theme over centuries? There are several answers to this question: the first is sex, the second is that our appearance is the representation of our inner self and the experience of beauty brings us closer to god, and third, not everything in our world should be practical and economic but beautiful as well. Beauty is food for the soul. Experiencing beauty in our lives is very important and it gives us much pleasure.

‘Благодаря эстетическим переживаниям упрочивается единение людей за благими и универсальными началами бытия. При этом эстетические эмоции способствуют обретению человеком свободы и полноты духовной жизни. «Красота открывает человеку путь к совершенству и гармонии, к согласию чувственных и духовных сил.» «Эстетическое состояние» - внутренняя свобода человека, преодолевшего зависимость. Человеку, приобщенному к культурной традиции, важно, что бы находящееся вокруг не оскорбляло его вкус и изо дня в день давало пищу положительным эмоциям. Красота как первичная изначальная эстетическая категория.’ (Chalizev 2005: 30-31)

2.1. Appearance as Representation of the Inner Self

There is no difference between how we are on the inside and how we look on the outside. How other people perceive us is based on our social representation of our inner selves. That is why people try to look their best—to show off their better side. Stendhal said that beauty is a promise of happiness and that the pursuit of beauty can be compared to the pursuit of happiness. Appearance is the most public form of our self, and beauty provides a lot of information about our health, social and economic status, age, origins, tastes and preferences.

‘Appearance is the most public part of the self. It is our sacrament, the visible self that the world assumes to be a mirror of the invisible, inner self. This assumption may not be fair, and not how the best of all moral worlds would conduct itself. But that does not make it any less true. Beauty has consequences that we cannot erase by denial. Beauty will continue to operate—outside jurisdiction, in the lawless world of human attraction. Academics may ban it from intelligent discourse and snobs may scoff that beauty is trivial and shallow, but in the real world the beauty myth quickly collides with reality.’ (Etcoff1999:6-7)

‘Wir stehen zu unserem Körper in einer zweifachen Weise. Einmal sind wir unser Körper – unsere Identität, unser Dasein, unser Fühlen, unsere Handlungen, unser In-der-Welt-Sein ist nur durch den Körper erfahrbar. Wir können uns von unserem Körper auch nicht trennen, wie groß die diesbezüglichen Sehnsüchte, die in manchen Religionen worden sind, auch sein mögen. Und zudem ist der Körper auch der Ort aller primären Lust- und Schmerzerfahrungen, als dieser aber ist er schon doppelt besetzt.’ (Liessman 2009:100)

‘Мои эмоционально-волевые реакции на внешнее тело другого непосредственны, и только по отношению другого непосредственно переживается мною красота человеческого тела, то есть оно начинает жить для меня в совершенно ином ценностном плане, недоступном внутреннему самоощущению и фрагментарному внешнему видению. Воплощен для меня ценностно-эстетически только другой человек. В этом отношении тело не есть нечто самодостаточное, оно нуждается в другом , его признании и формирующей деятельности. Только внутреннее тело — тяжелая плоть — дано самому человеку, внешнее тело другого задано: он должен его активно создать.’ (Bachtin 2003:128)

‘Словесное произведение создается извне каждому из героев, и, читая, следить мы должны извне , а не изнутри за героями . Эстетическое осмысление и устроение внешнего тела и его мира есть дар другого сознания — автора-созерцателя герою, не есть его выражение изнутри его самого, но творческое, созидающее отношение к нему автора - другого . ’ (Bachtin 2003: 167-171)

2.2. Beauty Is Genetic

Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it. —Confucius

‘Beauty is a basic pleasure. Try to imagine that you have become immune to beauty. Chances are, you would consider yourself unwell—stuck in a physical, spiritual, or emotional malaise. The absence of response to physical beauty is one sigh of profound depression—so prevalent that the standard screening measures for depression include their question about changes in the perception of one's own physical attractiveness.’ (Etcoff 1999:8)

Although beauty is genetic, many people are indifferent to it.

‘Beauty can be consoling, disturbing, sacred, and profane; it can be exhilarating, appealing, inspiring, and chilling. It can affect us in an unlimited variety of ways. Yet it is never viewed with indifference: beauty demands to be noticed; it speaks to us directly like the voice of an intimate friend. If there are people who are indifferent to beauty, then it is surely because they do not perceive it.’ (Scruton 2009: IX )

2.3. Beauty as a Sign of Health

Female beauty awakes the reproductive instinct in a man, and if a woman has children, she awakes a protective instinct as well.

‘How can we put beauty in perspective? Let’s keep in mind what good looks tell us. They tell us something about ancestral mate value, just as cuteness tells us about helplessness. They tell us whether a person is potentially fertile, healthy and strong, and might have genes that combine well with ours to make healthy babies.’ (Etcoff 1999:242)

3. What Is the Power of Beauty?

‘All cultures are beauty cultures, and everywhere beauty has been a powerful and subversive force, provoking emotion, reviving attention, and directing action. Every civilization reveres it, pursues it at enormous costs, and endures the tragic and comic consequences of this pursuit.

‘Governments have enacted laws to control sumptuous dress, the Church has railed against vanity, and doctors have expressed horror at the risks and dangers people incur in the name of beauty. None of it has made a dent. Today, there is a deep cultural dissatisfaction with a focus on beauty, but the beauty business shows no signs of abating. A pursuit so ardent, so passionate, so risk-filled, so unquestionable reflects the workings of a basic instinct. To tell people not to take pleasure in beauty is like telling them to stop enjoying food or sex or novelty or love.

Experience of beauty is one of nature’s ways of temporarily turning off the mind's storehouse of “negative evidence” (the knowledge of what not to do). He says that the sight of beauty is a signal to the mind “to stop evaluating, selecting and criticizing”.’ (Etcoff 1999:233-234)

3.1. Basic Instincts

Beauty is connected closely to the sex and awakes sexual desire among men and women. Most beautiful people send out signals to others that they are the most fertile, healthy and have the perfect genes for making babies. In addition, while a woman knows how healthy she is, a man can gauge her health quotient only through her body. Moreover, while money is very important for a man, beauty is the woman’s capital. As Marilyn Monroe’s character said in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, ‘Don’t you know that a man being rich is like a girl being pretty?’

‘Why do both sexes care so much about the looks of their lovers, and why do men seem to care more? The answer is sex. The biological purpose of sex is a reproduction, not fun or friendship, or the community of souls. We are products of evolution and cannot change instincts as quickly as we can change our tastes or update our information. Men's role in reproduction can start and finish within a few minutes of sex with a fertile woman. A woman risks pregnancy, childbirth and a potential lifelong commitment to the baby.

However, evolutionary psychologists would suggest that instincts that have worked for millennia would be very hard to stamp out. The autonomic desire to stare at and desire young female beauty and the sexual attraction of a tall man with a broad chest, a chiselled profile, and money in his volley will not soon become things of the past. It's not clear we would even want them to: what we want is to be more aware of the choices we make and the forces that impel us.’ (Etcoff 1999:69-82)

3.2. Beauty Is the Best Letter of Introduction and Can Overwhelm Class Distinction. (Aristotle)

‘For women, appearance has also played a part in perpetuating gender hierarchies. In contexts where woman's primary identity has been her domestic role, her status has been dependent on her physical attractiveness to a marriage partner, and on his socioeconomic position. Men, who have not been so limited, have had other ways of attracting a spouse and of establishing social and economic status. Such differences in gender roles help explain why attractive women, but not men, have tended to “marry up” the socioeconomic ladder. “Trophy wives” are common; trophy husbands are not.’ (Rhode 2010:48)

‘Erotic capital does enhance value when it is linked to high levels of economic, cultural and social capital. An attractive, well-dressed and charming spouse has greater value for monarchs, presidents and company directors, among whom public display and social networking are prioritized, than for a local plumber or electrician. Erotic capital is thus partially linked to the class system, although it is not determined by it. Higher status people can afford to choose spouses with the highest erotic capital, increasing the likelihood of their children having above-average endowments of erotic capital as well as status and wealth. In the very long run, class differentials in erotic capital may develop. This thesis suggests that sex appeal filters up the class system over generations. On the other hand, emotion management and other social skills filter down the class system over time. Overall, the upper class should have greater erotic capital than the lowest classes. Wealthy families can afford to replenish their stock periodically with beautiful brides and handsome grooms. An attractive young woman with the right style, dress and manner can choose partners with much greater economic, cultural or social capital on terms of parity of exchange .’ (Hakim 2011: 236)

3.3. Erotic Capital as the 4th Personal Asset

‘You never get a second chance to make a good first impression.’

(Hakim 2011:2)

Pierre Bourdieu, a French sociologist, developed a theory about the three forms of capital—economic, social and cultural—and English sociologist Katherine Hakim added one more capital—erotic capital. Therefore, these are the four personal assets of a person; these are also forms of power. During my research, I discovered that while economic capital is of the greatest importance for a man, for a woman, it is her erotic capital. This theory is close to the basic reproductive and protective instincts. So what are these capitals?

All forms of capital are types of power, as is seen in any social exchange. The most obvious exchange is between money and the three other types of capital, but most exchanges are not quite as obvious. (Hakim 2011:22-23)

‘Economic capital is a sum of the resources and assets that people use to produce financial gains—such as money, land or property. Social capital is a sum of resources, actual or potential, that accrue to a person or group from access to a network of relationships and membership in a group, tribe or club that can produce useful relationships—who you know as distanced from what you know. Social capital can be used to climb the social ladder, to exert power and influence or to make money.’ (Hakim 2011:19)

‘Erotic capital combines beauty, sex appeal, liveliness, a talent for dressing well, charm and social skills and sexual competence. It is a mixture of physical and social attractiveness.

1. Beauty (facial attractiveness)
2. Sexual attractiveness (a good body, the way someone moves, talks and behaves)
3. Social presentation (style of dress, make-up, perfume, jewellery or other adornments, hairstyles and various accessories)
4. Social attractiveness (grace, charm, social skills in interaction as well as the ability to make people like you, feel at ease and happy in your company, make them want to know you, and, where relevant, desire you.)
5. Liveliness (mixture of physical fitness, social energy and good humour)
6. Sexuality (Sexual competence, energy, erotic imagination, playfulness and everything else that makes for a sexually satisfying partner. Whether or not someone is a good lover is known only to their partner.)
7. Fertility’ (Hakim 2011: 12-14)

‘Erotic capital is just as valuable as money, education and good contacts, despite being overlooked by Bourdieu and other social scientists.

Young people may be economically poor but rich in erotic capital, lively and very attractive. Older people can be financially rich but physically unattractive. One reason why erotic capital has been overlooked is that the elite cannot monopolize it, so it is in their interest to belittle it and sideline it.’ (Hakim 2011:21)

‘Men can usually make their fortune only through their jobs and businesses. Women can achieve the same wealthy lifestyle and social advantages through marriage as well as through career success. Beautiful men who marry into money are still rare compared to the number of beautiful women who do this. Erotic power is not invariably or mainly about sex appeal or sexual competence. In some contexts, social skills take pride of place. ’ (Hakim 2011:24-25)

3.4. The Power of Beauty Is the Combination of Beauty and Intelligence, the Combination of Erotic and Cultural Capital.

‘Cultural capital includes human capital as defined by economists: educational qualifications, training, skills and work experience that are available in the labour market and can be deployed for income. However, Bourdieu’s concept of cultural capital goes wider than human capital to include cultural knowledge and artefacts. It encompasses the information resources and assets that are socially valued, such as knowledge of art, literature and music, the internalized culture that defines good taste and appropriate accent, that makes someone “distinguished”. It also includes cultural artefacts, such as paintings, music, sculptures, plays and books, beautiful furniture, architect designed or historic homes—concrete things that can be owed, bought and sold (unlike good taste), and help to raise someone’s social standing. Self-made millionaires often consolidate their new social status by investing in cultural artefacts.’ (Hakim 2011: 19)

‘По каким же признакам мы с первого взгляда узнаем хорошо воспитанного человека? По интонации и манере выражаться; по одежде; по умению вести себя; по деликатности, с которой он держится в любых обстаятельствах; по любезности и предупредительности; по умению владеть собой; по ровному настроению; И наконец, что самое главное – по уважению, которое он проявляет к самому себе и другим.’ (Rothshild 2007: 286)

Pierre Bourdieu presents three forms of capital and Catherine Hakim combines cultural capital with human capital. In my work, I distinguished a new form of cultural capital that is more suitable to Russia of the 19th century.

The term cultural capital refers to non-financial social assets that promote social mobility beyond economic means. Examples can include education, intellect, style of speech, dress, and even physical appearance, etc. In my thesis, cultural capital consists of five elements:

- Education
- Intelligence
- Good manners
- Understanding of art and culture
- Ethical values

My Classification of Relationships between Men and Women Using the Theory of 4 Capitals: for Women—the Power of Beauty; for Men—the Power of Money

3.5. The Power of Beauty: Wife, Friend, Lover, Loser

I developed two schemes according to the importance of these capitals. The first of these is the power of money, which is relevant for men, and wherever economic capital plays the most important role. The second table is for women, and wherever erotic capital decides everything. Through this classification, I divided the women in the narrative works of Chekhov into four categories. Beauties, Intellectuals, Frivolous Women and Hard Workers.

The powers of beauty and money are symbolic powers that influence life. Economic and social capital as well as symbolic capital such as prestige, add constantly to the power of beauty. Meanwhile, prestige and social capital add to the power of money.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

The Wife is a beautiful and intelligent woman.

The Friend is a smart but not too attractive woman.

The Lover is a seductive but not too intelligent woman

The Loser is neither smart nor attractive.

3.6. The Power of Money: Husband, Friend/ Lover, Sponsor, Loser

The Husband is a rich, intelligent and handsome man. He has a high level of each capital. Every woman wants to marry such a man.

The Friend is a man with low economic and erotic capital, but a high level of cultural capital.

The Lover is a man with low economic capital, but he is attractive.

The Sponsor is a man who has high economic capital, but low cultural and erotic capital.

The Loser has low levels of each of the four capitals.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

4. Criticism of Beauty

4.1. Beauty Is Superficial

‘Many intellectuals would have us believe that beauty is inconsequential. Since it explains nothing, solves nothing, and teaches us nothing, it should not have a place in intellectual discourse. And we are supposed to breathe a collective sigh of relief. After all, the concept of beauty has become an embarrassment.

But there is something wrong with this picture. Outside the realm of ideas, beauty rules. Nobody has stopped looking at it, and no one has stopped enjoying the sight. Turning a cold eye to beauty is as easy as quelling physical desire or responding with indifference to a baby's cry. We can say that beauty is dead, but all that does is widen the chaos between the real world and our understanding of it.’ (Etcoff 1999:3)


Ende der Leseprobe aus 76 Seiten


The Power of Beauty In the Narrative Works of Anton Chekhov
Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen
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power, beauty, narrative, works, anton, chekhov
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Irina Deripasko (Autor), 2013, The Power of Beauty In the Narrative Works of Anton Chekhov, München, GRIN Verlag,


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