--On Wednesday, August 15, 2001 12:02 PM +0000 [log in to unmask] wrote:
>> What is the current thinking about the
>> question of "what is art?".
> Whose "current thinking" are you asking about?
Pat 'n all,
Only judging by the question posed in his sentence preceding the one
displayed above, I think Steve means the current scholarly thinking on
"what is art." At first I thought asking these questions is like standing
at the base of Niagra Falls to find out how nature feels about falling
water; the volume of the response might exceed the inquirer's ability to
absorb the answer.
But then I thought that a prior question might be: should "scholarly" and
"thinking" be so conjoined in relation to the specific question. This I ask
not to scandalize anyone but in light of the common phrase "scholar
thinker," meaning one is both, and in that the two don't necessarily
require one another, at least up to a certain stage of development. Eliot
often noted that he was not a scholar. But that in order to write poetry
(to think poetry?) one must have, after a certain age, a sense of history
which is won by a labor of intelligence. And it is Eliot the
thinker-about-poetry that prompts the question, or at least the assertion
from Perl. Hasn't being a scholar changed? When I was in school, admittedly
not recently, the standard for the scholar, maybe then beginning to change,
was to be "disinterested." I am under the impression that that is not the
standard currently, or that being disinterested is a pose or strategy that
is considered inauthentic, and that someone today who has an answer to
Steve's question will probably be expected to couch it in terms of some
sort of advocacy. My modification of Steve's question would be "can
advocacy criticism authentically ask 'what is art.'" I don't have a
Just a couple three thoughts.