Aesthetics (Esthetics), a branch of philosophy which deals with the nature of beauty. In the late 18th and 19th centuries esthetics assumed three major roles in philosophy, art and literature. Immanuel Kant viewed esthetics as "the science of all principles of sensibility a priori". To him the mind imposed mental categories, such as beauty, on the perceived sensuous experiments. Artists began to think of themselves as independent of social currents and the world around them. Artistic and literary movements became cults of beauty, characterized by the statement of John Keats in his poem "Endymion", "a thing of beauty is a joy for ever". This adoration of beauty for its own sake (art for art's sake) was the basis of Romanticism, the Pre-Raphaelites and the artists and writers of the decadent art. The movement was so dominant that the 20th century artistic and literary movements revolted against the cult of beauty and heralded Dadaism, the goal of which was to destroy beauty and to put an end to art itself.
Agnosticism, a term introduced by the English scientist Thomas Huxley in 1869. The word comes from the Greek and means "not knowing". The philosophical meaning is that the individual man is the measure of the universe and the true nature of things cannot be apprehended because reality is independent of the mind; the agnostics profess that they do not know anything about spiritual existences or about future life.
Anarchism, the theory according to which the highest attainment of humanity is to be reached by the freedom of the individual to express his character, qualities, without any control or repression from the government or from outer world. Anarchism in literature meant freedom from old literary forms.
Anthology, a work consisting of series of literary selections. The first anthology of English poetry to be published was "Tottels's Miscelany" compiled by the English publisher Richard Tottel in 1557.
Notable English anthologies of modern times were the "Golden Treasury of English Songs and lyrics"(1861)compiled by the English poet and critic Francis Turner Palgrave. "The New Poetry, an Anthology of Twentieth Century Verse"(1932), compiled by Harriet Monroe.
Arminianism, the doctrine of Arminians, the followers of the 16th century Dutch theologian Jacobus Arminius. Arminius and the followers viewed themselves as members of the Reformed Church, differing opinion on points of doctrine. They argued that the doctrines of "particular election" and "limited atonement formulated by the French Protestant theologian John Calvin would render ineffectual all endeavor for the salvation of the nonelect, while the elect would in any event be saved. They also objected that Calvin's views on divine sovereignty and predestination would by necessary logical consequence make God the author of sin.
Aphorism, a concise statement of a rule, concept, precept (rule of action or moral conduct). Such definite statements have several important qualities. One is that they are pithy - saying a great deal in a few words. They contain a great deal of wisdom and are readily accepted ("A penny saved is a penny earned", "There is no fool like an old fool", etc.)
Angry Young Men, the term denoting the English authors in the middle of the 20th century who criticized the social order and evils of modern civilization.