Dolphins in Venice: On Nature, Revenge, and Beauty

8 March 2021

Dolphins in Venice: On Nature, Revenge, and Beauty

Stranded animals and the mammoth animal rescue operation during Hurrican Katrina, 2005; Image Credit: Pbs.org

This article suggests that Theodor Adorno and Walter Benjamin contribute to contemporary discussions about how we conceptualize nature, first, via their notion of natural-history and, second, via their thinking through the contentious topic of natural beauty. Benjamin and Adorno prove especially valuable because they acknowledge the ideological obfuscations that often inhere in the cultural deployment of natural beauty without discounting the domain of aesthetics entirely. This is important because of the continued force of aesthetics in environmental issues, and the increasingly common, vivid nightmares and fantasies about “our” deserved comeuppance in the public imagination.

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