Studies in Poetry: "What's the Use of Beauty?"

River view of Carthage being built.

A scenic river view of Carthage as it is being built, overseen by Dido, its queen. (Image courtesy of WebMuseum [J.M.W. Turner's "Dido building Carthage, or The Rise of the Carthaginian Empire," 1815, oil on canvas; National Gallery, London])


MIT Course Number


As Taught In

Fall 2005



Cite This Course

Course Description

Course Description

This course explores variations on the proposition that an adequate recognition of beauty could, however indirectly, make you a more humane person. Readings extend widely across literary and non-literary genres, including lyric poetry and the novel, philosophical prose and essays.

Other Versions

Related Content

Noel Jackson. 21L.704 Studies in Poetry: "What's the Use of Beauty?". Fall 2005. Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare, License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA.

For more information about using these materials and the Creative Commons license, see our Terms of Use.