This article revisits a Platonic idea that has been formative for the history of aesthetics and then explores how this idea can be reinterpreted meaningfully in today’s aesthetic context. The Platonic idea I discuss (which Plato introduces in Ion and Phaedrus) is that artistic creation and its appreciative reception involve a form of divine possession. After exploring how this nonrational, supernatural idea has been critically countered yet repeatedly recurs in important subsequent theories of aesthetic experienced proposed by rational thinkers, my presentation suggests how we might give the notion of possession a more naturalistic explanation. I exemplify this through an analysis of performance art presented in The Adventures of the Man in Gold.

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