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the varying elements of the impressions and of the feelings. Let it suffice to mention that this mysterious faculty has been conceived, now as practical, now as a mean between the theoretic and the practical, at others again as a theoretic grade together with philosophy and religion.

immortality of

The immortality of art has sometimes been Mortality and deduced from this last conception as belonging art. with its sisters to the sphere of absolute spirit. At other times, on the other hand, when religion has been looked upon as mortal and as dissolved in philosophy, then the mortality, even the actual death, or at least the agony of art has been proclaimed. These questions have no meaning for us, because, seeing that the function of art is a necessary grade of the spirit, to ask if art can be eliminated is the same thing as asking if sensation or intelligence can be eliminated. But metaphysic, in the above sense, since it transplants itself to an arbitrary world, is not to be criticized in detail, any more than one can criticize the botany of the garden of Alcina or the navigation of the voyage of Astolfo. Criticism can only be made by refusing to join the game; that is to say, by rejecting the very possibility of metaphysic, always in the sense above indicated.

As we do not admit intellectual intuition in

philosophy, we can also not admit its shadow or equivalent, æsthetic intellectual intuition, or any other mode by which this imaginary function may be called and represented. We repeat again that we do not know of a fifth grade beyond the four grades of spirit which consciousness reveals to us.




istics of art.

It is customary to give long enumerations of the The charactercharacteristics of art. Having reached this point of the treatise, having studied the artistic function as spiritual activity, as theoretic activity, and as special theoretic activity (intuitive), we are able to discern that those various and copious descriptions mean, when they mean anything at all, nothing but a repetition of what may be called the qualities of the æsthetic function, generic, specific, and characteristic. To the first of these are referred, as we have already observed, the characters, or better, the verbal variants of unity, and of unity in variety, those also of simplicity, of originality, and so on; to the second of these, the characteristics of truth, of sincerity, and the like; to the third, the characteristics of life, of vivacity, of animation, of concretion, of individuality, of characteristicality. The words may vary yet

modes of


more, but they will not contribute anything scientifically new. The results which we have shown have altogether exhausted the analysis of expression as such.

Inexistence of But at this point, the question as to whether there be various modes or grades of expression is still perfectly legitimate. We have distinguished two grades of activity, each of which is subdivided into two other grades, and there is certainly, so far, no visible logical reason why there should not exist two or more modes of the aesthetic, that is of expression.

The only objection is that these modes do not exist.

For the present at least, it is a question of simple internal observation and of self consciousness. One may scrutinize æsthetic facts as much as one will: no formal differences will ever be found among them, nor will the æsthetic fact be divisible into a first and a second degree.

This signifies that a philosophical classification of expressions is not possible. Single expressive

facts are
so many individuals, of which the
one cannot be compared with the other, save
generically, in so far as each is expression. To
use the language of the schools, expression is
a species which cannot in its turn perform the

functions of genus. Impressions, that is to say contents, vary; every content differs from every other content, because nothing in life repeats itself; and the continuous variation of contents follows the irreducible variety of expressive facts, the aesthetic syntheses of the impressions.

of translations.

A corollary of this is the impossibility of Impossibility translations, in so far as they pretend to effect the transference of one expression into another, like a liquid poured from a vase of a certain shape into a vase of another shape. We can elaborate logically what we have already elaborated in æsthetic form only; but we cannot reduce that which has already possessed its æsthetic form to another form also æsthetic. In truth, every translation either diminishes and spoils; or it creates a new expression, by putting the former back into the crucible and mixing it with other impressions belonging to the pretended translator. In the former case, the expression always remains one, that of the original, the translation being more or less deficient, that is to say, not properly expression: in the other case, there would certainly be two expressions, but with two different contents. Ugly faithful ones or faithless beauties" is a proverb that well expresses the dilemma with which every trans


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