A Critical Theory of Creativity: Utopia, Aesthetics, Atheism and Design

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7 Citations (Scopus)


A Critical Theory of Creativity argues that a Utopian drive is aesthetically encoded within the language of form. Combining multidisciplinary theory with case studies ranging from planned communities to the relationship between Navajo theology and design, this book demonstrates how humankind is striving to fashion a better world from the raw materials we inherit. Building upon the work of Ernst Bloch, Howells sees the 'fall' as a liberation and Prometheus as a hero. He takes religion seriously as a cultural narrative, but replaces divine creation with human creativity. Coupled with this liberation from Eden comes a very human obligation that cannot be delegated to God, to nature or to market forces. A Critical Theory of Creativity's intellectual compass ranges from Roger Fry to Philip Pullman and Slavoj Žižek, returning always to an empowering, human-centred universe. As Bloch declared in The Spirit of Utopia, 'Life has been put into our hands.'
Original languageEnglish
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages204
ISBN (Electronic)9781137446176
ISBN (Print)9781137446169, 9781349685790
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2015


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