Re: Definition of art
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3460 47 44_Re: Yeats and personal [log in to unmask], 11 Aug 2001 19:37:26 EDT664_- >In a message dated 8/10/01 10:42:22 PM !!!First Boot!!!, >[log in to unmask]
>> have seen a recent TV commercial quoting from Prufrock and years ago a
> >silly broadcaster on the late news mumbled and tried to say something
>> Eliot's grasp exceeds English class and this list.
>> Condolences for your mother's death. Wine is good.
>If it was on a tv commercial, then of courrse it was' the women come and go
>talking of . . ." ,
>Thank you. Everybody on this list - everyone in this world - will [...]37_11Aug200119:37:[log in to unmask]
3508 55 22_Re: Eliot's Relativism18_Harm Tron [log in to unmask], 11 Aug 2001 17:56:18 -0700535_- >From: [log in to unmask]
>Subject: Eliot's Relativism
>Date: Sat, 11 Aug 2001 09:05:31 EDT
>The philosopher, [Eliot] said, believes in a reality so stable and so
> >objective that asking questions about it would cause no alterations in
the stand eliot was taking when he completed and submitted his thesis, as
condensed and stated by perl, brings to mind a quote from frank herbert's
sci-fi relativistic bible, dune: [...]45_11Aug200117:56:[log in to unmask]
3564 92 22_Re: Eliot's [log in to unmask], 12 Aug 2001 07:07:00 EDT639_- In a message dated 8/11/01 7:57:39 PM EST, [log in to unmask] writes:
> i keep wondering how (woops, there i go
> not being cautious again) these
> biographical crossed ts and dotted is bring
> anything relevant to the table.
> digging through eliot's thesis for clues to
> his intellectual predisposition
> at a point in time is a good way to spend
> rainy afternoons, but doesn't help
> with clarifying the entire scope of his work,
> much less differences between
> two (supposed) currents of thought,
> respectively dubbed paleo and neomodernism. [...]37_12Aug200107:07:[log in to unmask]
3657 142 26_More on Eliot's [log in to unmask], 12 Aug 2001 07:30:11 EDT338_- 8/12/01
In my last post from the tapes, Perl had just made the point that Eliot
thought that "the philosopher believes in a reality so stable and so
objective that asking questions about it would cause no alterations in it.
And Eliot thinks that that is infantile." Here is the next section.
-- Steve --37_12Aug200107:30:[log in to unmask]
3800 17 11_2 questions15_Timothy [log in to unmask], 12 Aug 2001 16:05:39 -0500471_- A friend has sent me the following two questions. I could answer the first
one quickly enough, I think, if I were near my books; but I have no idea
about the second. Can listmembers help?
--Letter (sometime between 1914-1919) where Eliot presents himself as a
--In which essay or review does Eliot liken the meaning of a poem to the
meat brought by a burglar to appease the watchdog while the thief's real
work is done?43_12Aug200116:05:[log in to unmask]
3818 29 30_Re: More on Eliot's Relativism13_Ken [log in to unmask], 12 Aug 2001 19:15:07 -0400623_- --On Sunday, August 12, 2001 7:30 AM +0000 [log in to unmask] wrote:
> In my last post from the tapes, Perl had just made the point that Eliot
> thought that "the philosopher believes Rr>=
Sun, 19 Aug 2001 13:08:59 EDT
I found your latest post helpful and you brought up important points that
I'd like to further comment on.
Towards the end of the post you make a statement that I basically agree
> I personally think anyone who wants to know
> what art is ought to make an effort to look at
> a lot of art. Those people who do this turn to
> different and more specific kinds of questions,
> like "how do Japanese vases differ from Korean vases?"
This answer recognizes that, in part, appreciation of art may be an "acquired
taste", that is, it is only after some education that some art may be
appreciated. I know this answer will offend some people who believe that art
is whatever their personal instantaneous reaction says it is (Jon Rouse, the
other day, called this "individual whimsy"). But ultimately, I still think
you are right. Last year my son repeatedly told me he found all paintings and
sculptures boring (this was during a discussion of how much he loved music).
Then he took a European history course that included studying the art of
various time periods. He became a convert and now greatly enjoys art. He was
in Paris this summer and said his favorite place was the Louve, which would
have been his LEAST favorite tour stop last year. So tastes change,
especially as one learns more. I also agree that as one learns more, you
begin to ask more specific questions like "how do Japanese vases differ from
I think the issues that I'm trying get clear in my own mind are best
illustrated by an earlier part of your post:
> It's not much different from inviting a friend for dinner
> and knowing that what the friend would regard as
> a great dinner isn't necessarily what one would choose
> for one's self. I personally think it's not especially helpful
> to ask what the "real standards" are for a good dinner.
Isn't this just what the Classic Modernists were trying to do? Perl said,
"What Eliot or Pound or Yates or James or D.H. Lawrence most feared was that
the attempt to reconcile high culture with egalitarian or democratic ethics
would cause us to accept as art things that were NOT art". Pat, in the terms
of your example, isn't this like saying, "What Eliot or Pound or Yates or
James or D.H. Lawrence most feared was that our lack of 'properly
discriminating taste buds' would cause us to accept as 'good dinners' meals
that were NOT good dinners." In other words, I think Perl is saying the
Classic Modernists were willing to tag things as "not art", just as a chef
from a five-star hotel would declare a fast-food restaurant as serving "not
If all that is meant by declaring something 'not art' is "I personally don't
think this is art (or a 'good dinner')", then I have no problem figuring out
what they meant (They are simply expressing personal preference). But I have
the feeling they mean (or, at least, they WANT to meant) much more: that they
are trying to say that is it important for there to be AGREEMENT with THEIR
view of what is "not art". For if 'agreement' is not important, why would
Perl say "What Eliot or Pound or Yates or James or D.H. Lawrence most FEARED
was. . . ". Isn't the basis of the FEAR that some aesthetic standard other
than theirs would become the prevailing view in the general population? And
didn't they regard this event, if it were to come to pass, as a "cultural
decline"? The very phrasing of the term "cultural decline" implies a
judgmental attitude that I'm struggling to understand.
> the fact that there are no absolute standards for beauty
> does not mean "it's impossible to judge," although
> time and again people tie themselves up in that knot.
This is the heart of the matter. While Eliot appears to be a philosophical
Relativist (at least, this is what Perl argues for when analyzing Eliot's
Ph.D. thesis), it seems, in fact, he had very specific aesthetic standards
and furthermore believed that if THOSE standards were not generally accepted,
it would result in a "cultural decline". This seems to me to be an Absolutist
position. Do you think this was TSE's position and, if so, is it defensible?
-- Steve --