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Excerpt from book:
/ THE CRITICAL ATTITUDE. I. Two modes of criticism have been developed in the history of judgment which may be designated by the terms "aristocratic" and "democratic," on the ground that as the art of an aristocracy is the product of an exclusive culture, the object of the accompanying criticism is to develop and discipline "good taste," and as the art of a democracy is an outcome of generous human impulses, the aim of its criticism is to increase and fortify personality. In a "classic" age, the ideal of which is to have and be the "best," the fine arts are patronized and enjoyed in the interests of an intellectual and special culture. The reader of books, reclining at ease in his library chair, assumes the judicial attitude and essays to find that in the book which accords with "good taste" and "right reason." He concerns himself largely with questions of taste, matters of style, and principles of correct composition. A Matthew Arnold selects a line from Dante and one from Chaucer and uses them as touchstones of propriety. The aesthetic canons that support this criticism relate to principles of refinement, selection, symmetry, balance and proportion, the general effects, that is, involved in the standard classical canon of order in variety. The classical canon was a rule of temperance. The Greeks lived resolutely in the whole, loving equally truthand beauty and goodness, proportioning the play of each faculty so as to secure the largest total effect of life. With the authority of their matchless achievements they imposed upon all succeeding art and criticism an aesthetics corresponding to their ethics. But the classical idea of perfection, as it has received application in the modern world, is an ethics of restriction. Intellectualism dominates the process. Today to ...
|Publisher:||Oscar L. Triggspublishing company|
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