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THESE relations between intuitive or aesthetic knowledge and the other fundamental or derivative forms of knowledge having been definitely established, we are now in a position to reveal the errors of a series of theories which have been, or are, presented as theories of Æsthetic. Criticism of From the confusion between the demands of art in to: general and the particular demands of history has resulted the theory (which has lost ground to-day, but was once dominant) of the probable as the object of art. As is generally the case with erroneous propositions, the meaning of those who employed and employ the concept of probability has no doubt often been much more reasonable than their definition of the word. By probability used really to be meant the artistic coherence of the representation, that is to say, its completeness and effectiveness, its actual presence. If “probable” be translated “coherent,” a very just meaning will often be found in the discussions, examples, and judgements of the critics who employ this word. An improbable personage, an improbable ending to a comedy, are really badly-drawn personages, badly-arranged endings, happenings without artistic motive. It has been said with reason that even fairies and sprites must have probability, that is to say, be really sprites and fairies, coherent artistic intuitions. Sometimes the word “possible ’ has been used instead of “probable.” As we have already remarked in passing, this word possible is synonymous with the imaginable or intuitible. Everything truly, that is to say coherently, imagined, is possible. But also, by a good many critics and theorists, the probable was taken to mean the historically credible, or that historical truth which is not demonstrable but conjecturable, not true but probable. This was the character which these theorists sought to impose upon art. Who does not remember how great a part was played in literary history by criticism based on probability, for example, censure of Jerusalem Delivered, based upon the history of the Crusades, or of the Homeric poems, upon the probable customs of emperors and kings 2 Sometimes too the aesthetic reproduction of historical reality has been imposed upon art. This is another of the erroneous forms taken by the theory of the imitation of nature. Verism and naturalism also have afforded the spectacle of a confusion of the aesthetic fact with the processes of the natural sciences, by aiming at some sort of experimental drama or romance. Confusions between the methods of art and those of the philosophic sciences have been far more frequent. Thus it has often been held to be the task of art to expound concepts, to unite an intelligible with a sensible, to represent ideas or universals; putting art in the place of science, that is, confusing the artistic function in general with the particular case in which it becomes aesthetico-logical. The theory of art as supporting theses, of art considered as an individual representation exemplifying scientific laws, can be proved false in like manner. The example, as example, stands for the thing exemplified, and is thus an exposition of the universal, that is to say, a form of science, more or less popular or vulgarizing. The same may be said of the aesthetic theory of the typical, when by type is understood, as it frequently is, the abstraction or the concept, and it is affirmed that art should make the species shine in the individual. If individual be here understood by typical, we have here too a merely verbal variation. To typify would signify, in this case, to characterize; that is, to determine and D


Criticism of ideas in art,

of theses in art,

and of the typical.



to represent the individual. Don Quixote is a type; but
of what is he a type, save of all Don Quixotes ? A type,
so to speak, of himself. Certainly he is not a type of
abstract concepts, such as the loss of the sense of reality,
or of the love of glory. An infinite number of personages
can be thought of under these concepts, who are not Don
Quixotes. In other words, we find our own impressions
fully determined and realized in the expression of a poet
(for example in a poetical personage). We call that
expression typical, which we might call simply aesthetic.--
Thus poetical or artistic universals have sometimes been
spoken of, only to show that the artistic product is
altogether spiritual and ideal.

Criticism of Continuing to correct these errors, or to clear up mis

*::::::: * understandings, we shall also remark that the symbol has

gory. - - -

sometimes been given as the essence of art. Now, if the symbol be conceived as inseparable from the artistic intuition, it is a synonym for the intuition itself, which always has an ideal character. There is no double bottom to art, but one only; in art all is symbolical, because all is ideal. But if the symbol be conceived as separable—if the symbol can be on one side, and on the other the thing symbolized, we fall back again into the intellectualist error: the so-called symbol is the exposition of an abstract concept, an allegory; it is science, or art aping science. But we must also be just toward the allegorical. Sometimes it is altogether harmless. Given the Gerusalemme liberata, the allegory was imagined afterwards; given the Adone of Marino, the poet of the lascivious afterwards insinuated that it was written to show how “immoderate indulgence ends in pain "; given a statue of a beautiful woman, the sculptor can attach a label to the statue saying that it represents Clemency or Goodness. This allegory that arrives attached to a finished work post festum does not change the work of art. What then is it 2 It is an expression externally added to another expression. A little page of prose is added to the Gerusalemme, expressing another thought of the poet ; a verse or a strophe is added to the Adone,

expressing what the poet would like to make a part of
his public believe ; to the statue nothing but the single
word : Clemency or Goodness.
But the greatest triumph of the intellectualist error
lies in the theory of artistic and literary kinds, which
still has vogue in literary treatises and disturbs the critics
and the historians of art. Let us observe its genesis.
The human mind can pass from the aesthetic to the
logical, just because the former is a first step in respect
to the latter. It can destroy expression, that is, the
thought of the individual, by thinking of the universal.
It can gather up expressive facts into logical relations.
We have already shown that this operation becomes in
its turn concrete in an expression, but this does not
mean that the first expressions have not been destroyed.
They have yielded their place to the new aesthetico-logical
expressions. When we are on the second step, we have
left the first.
One who enters a picture-gallery, or who reads a series
of poems, having looked and read, may go further: he
may seek out the nature and the relations of the things
there expressed. Thus those pictures and compositions,
each of which is an individual inexpressible in logical
terms, are gradually resolved into universals and abstrac-
tions, such as costumes, landscapes, portraits, domestic life,
battles, animals, flowers, fruit, seascapes, lakes, deserts;
tragic, comic, pathetic, cruel, lyrical, epic, dramatic, chivalrous,
idyllic facts, and the like. They are often also resolved
into merely quantitative categories, such as miniature,
picture, statuette, group, madrigal, ballad, sonnet, sonnet-
sequence, poetry, poem, story, romance, and the like.
When we think the concept domestic life, or chivalry,
or idyll, or cruelty, or one of the quantitative concepts
mentioned above, the individual expressive fact from
which we started has been abandoned. From aesthetes
that we were, we have changed into logicians; from con-
templators of expression, into reasoners. Certainly no
objection can be made to such a process. In what other way
could science arise, which, if it have aesthetic expressions

Criticism of the theory of artistic and literary kinds.

presupposed in it, must yet go beyond them in order to
fulfil its function ? The logical or scientific form, as
such, excludes the aesthetic form. He who begins to
think scientifically has already ceased to contemplate
aesthetically ; although his thought assumes of necessity
in its turn an aesthetic form, as has already been said,
and as it would be superfluous to repeat.
Error begins when we try to deduce the expression
from the concept, and to find in what takes its place
the laws of the thing whose place is taken ; when the
difference between the second and the first step has not
been observed, and when, in consequence, we declare
that we are standing on the first step, when we are really
standing on the second. This error is known as the
theory of artistic and literary kinds.

(“What is the aesthetic form of domestic life, of chivalry,

Errors derived from this theory in judgements on art.

of the idyll, of cruelty, and so forth 2 How should
these contents be represented ?” Such is the absurd
problem implied in the theory of artistic and literary
classes, when it has been shorn of excrescences and
reduced to a simple formula. It is in this that consists
search after laws or rules of classes. Domestic life,
chivalry, idyll, cruelty and the like, are not im-
pressions, but concepts. They are not contents, but
logical-aesthetic forms. You cannot express the form, for
it is already itself expression. For what are the words
cruelty, idyll, chivalry, domestic life, and so on, but the
expression of those concepts 2
Even the most refined of such distinctions, which
possess the most philosophic appearance, do not resist
criticism ; as when works of art are divided into subjective
and objective kinds, into lyric and epic, into works of
feeling and decorative works. In aesthetic analysis it is
impossible to separate subjective from objective, lyric
from epic, the image of feeling from that of things.
From the theory of artistic and literary kinds derive
those erroneous modes of judgement and of criticism,
thanks to which, instead of asking before a work of art if
it be expressive and what it expresses, whether it speak

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