• Authority and Freedom

  • A Defense of the Arts
  • By: Jed Perl
  • Narrated by: Daniel Oreskes
  • Length: 3 hrs and 16 mins
  • 5.0 out of 5 stars (4 ratings)

1 title per month from Audible’s entire catalog of best sellers, and new releases.
Access a growing selection of included Audible Originals, audiobooks and podcasts.
You will get an email reminder before your trial ends.
Your Premium Plus plan is $14.95 a month after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
Buy for $21.00

Buy for $21.00

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

From one of our most widely admired art critics comes a bold and timely manifesto reaffirming the independence of all the arts - musical, literary, and visual - and their unique and unparalleled power to excite, disturb, and inspire us.

As people look to the arts to promote a particular ideology, whether radical, liberal, or conservative, Jed Perl argues that the arts have their own laws and logic, which transcend the controversies of any one moment. “Art’s relevance,” he writes, “has everything to do with what many regard as its irrelevance.” Authority and Freedom will find listeners from college classrooms to foundation board meetings - wherever the arts are confronting social, political, and economic ferment and heated debates about political correctness and cancel culture.

Perl embraces the work of creative spirits as varied as Mozart, Michelangelo, Jane Austen, Henry James, Picasso, and Aretha Franklin. He contends that the essence of the arts is their ability to free us from fixed definitions and categories. Art is inherently uncategorizable - that’s the key to its importance. Taking his stand with artists and thinkers ranging from W. H. Auden to Hannah Arendt, Perl defends works of art as adventuresome dialogues, simultaneously dispassionate and impassioned. He describes the fundamental sense of vocation - the engagement with the tools and traditions of a medium - that gives artists their purpose and focus. Whether we’re experiencing a poem, a painting, or an opera, it’s the interplay between authority and freedom - what Perl calls “the lifeblood of the arts” - that fuels the imaginative experience. This book will be essential listening for everybody who cares about the future of the arts in a democratic society.

©2022 Jed Perl (P)2022 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"Authority and Freedom puts its argument quietly . . . But it is an essential tract for our time, and no less a prescription for the health of contemporary culture because it eschews stridency and cajoles rather than hectors . . . Jed Perl is one of the most perceptive, most intelligent, and most vigilant art critics writing today . . . [a] brief, timely, understated, but wholly persuasive polemic."—John Banville, The New York Review of Books

"Authority and Freedom is a beautiful essay because it is written with an elegant ease . . . [Jed Perl] draws us back to the origins of our own intellectual situation, and he does so with an argument that is intended to address not just our moment, but the whole of the modern era in the arts. He does it effortlessly, too, and with a conversational air, a man at ease among the millennia, now in conversation with the Egyptian tomb painters, now with Aretha Franklin. Yes, a great and beautiful essay."—Paul Berman, Public Seminar 

“A moving and passionate defense of the arts in and for themselves . . . Authority and Freedom’s argument for the intrinsic value of art leaves readers with questions to ponder. This may be the result of Perl’s inviting and creative combinations of memoir and learned analysis, which naturally elicit personal reflection, and arguments possibly left unfinished.”—Daniel Lelchuk, The Bulwark 

What listeners say about Authority and Freedom

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    4
  • 4 Stars
    0
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Performance
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    4
  • 4 Stars
    0
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Story
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    3
  • 4 Stars
    0
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.