Terry Traynor wrote:
> If I didn't know that a work was forged, I'd have the same reaction to
> it as if it were authentic. Only upon learning that it was a forgery
> would I react to it differently. Specifically, my estimation of the
> work would drop. This bothers me because it would mean that the work
> of art's perceptible qualities (the colors and brushwork good enough
> to pass as a recently discovered Rembrandt, the language and imagery
> good enough to pass as a recently discovered Eliot) would be dismissed
> in favor of knowledge about who made the work. The perversity of
> responding to and assessing a work based on who made it rather than on
> the qualities of the work itself is evident when people buy poorly
> designed products because they have "name" brands on them, and when
> no-talent celebrities get published while genuinely talented artists
> languish in obscurity. Avoiding such ad hominem perversity is one of
> the reasons that award competitions, scholarly journals, etc. call for
> "blind" submissions.
This seems a rich topic. Normally "ad hominem" means against a specific
individual. In this case it is more like "against a non-individual."
It's worth asking, perhaps, if two renderings of a masterpiece, one the
original and one a "copy" are indistinguishable, can the copy really be
said to be only a copy and the person who painted it only an imitator?
Isn't this an exercise of artists in training, as it were? In effect,
doesn't it take a creator to recreate an artifice?
> The problem posed by knowledge-about-authorship is one I extend to
> knowledge-about-author's-biography whenever I read a literary
> interpretation that is dependent on biographical knowledge. I say this
> hesitantly, because I know that sometimes biography is helpful or even
> unavoidable. As Carrol pointed out, "it is not wholly clear where to
> draw the line between legitimate and foolish appeals to biography."
And isn't it even more complicated? Legitimate and foolish are not
the only two choices. What makes biographical use legitimate? Can a
legitimate use create a faux response?