Professor Dorry Noyes recently published her article, "Aesthetic is the Opposite of Anaesthetic: On Tradition and Attention”, in the Journal of Folklore Research. 51 (2014): 125-175. Congratulations Dr. Noyes!
Studies of aesthetics in folklore have frequently engaged the question of value, arguing for the autonomy of vernacular aesthetic principles against elite ideologies of form. This paper goes beneath the level of valuation to that of response, exploring the aesthetic in folklore as the practice of soliciting and manipulating attention. I offer a typology of Western folklore genres as provoking focused or flexible, conscious or unconscious attention. The resulting ideal types—folklore as art, as occasion, as news, and as surround—each provoke a characteristic spectrum of affect, lending themselves to characteristic social uses as well as undergoing characteristic historical transformations. Having laid out a schema, I conclude with some examples of the elusive category of surround, calling on the domestic art of flower arranging to return from practices of attention to questions of value.
Noyes, Dorothy. "Aesthetic is the Opposite of Anaesthetic: On Tradition and Attention.” Journal of Folklore Research 51 (2014): 125-175.