L’art Pour L’art

It’s always important to recapitulate, relearn, and refocus. So let’s take a moment to do that.

–Remember the Storm-Born Saints? The Romantics exist as prime examples of the  effects of revolution; that is, the collateral effects of it as well as the direct.

–Think about Wordsworth. He believed in the innocence of the child’s imagination, the innocence of the rustic civilization, the importance of the common individual.

–Primary and Secondary Imagination according to Coleridge, the sensory perceptions of everyday life (Primary) and the recollected perceptions from “the well” (Secondary).

–Go get bored! Inspiration comes while in a tranquil setting, taking from our well of perceptions.

–Turn off your cell! Remember Coleridge’s problem: he didn’t find a truly tranquil place to recall his dream and was interrupted in the middle of creation.

–” ‘Beauty is truth, truth beauty,–that is all / Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.’ ”

–Last, but most importantly, tie it all together with the paradigm of P.A.I.N., that, as it has been said, all  art is caused by some sort of Pain; the Romantics’ art is no different. The tropes, even the fuel, of their poetry is primitivism, the relationship of art and the artist, the individual, and nature.

So, I was just kidding about the whole Beautiful and Sublime thing. Let’s get practical.

It’s a platitude to say something such as, “We should learn that we’re not so different from these guys.” Rather, in considering the Romantics, we should take from their respect of the Beautiful–and not that the poetic object is always beautiful. The Beauty is seen in that poetry is art. Aesthetics such as Harold Bloom see similarly to the Romantics in this way. Seeing poetry–and consequently, all art–as beautiful because of itself leads us to what Tolstoy says of Art in “What is Art?” that Art is based upon an individual’s ability to receive and experience the emotions of another individual–almost as if going through the exact same experience that first caused the emotions.

Isn’t this exactly what Wordsworth, Coleridge, and the others were saying? That each of us creates art when we sit back and think about our experiences and decide to express them to another, no matter what medium it is. As Tolstoy says, Art is “infectious.”

And if I’m trying to prove or persuade you to believe anything in this blog, it is that our view of the world should be as simple as the Romantics’–that Beauty exists in all things as a truth found in the experiences of humanity’s relentless pursuit of making survival more than staying alive, an imparting of the beautiful, those recollected emotions meant to sway and affect the rest of humanity. Allow me to convince you to release yourself from the fetters of literary theory that tries to persuade you to do anything other than feel the emotions that fueled the birth of the art that you are reading. Render useless those theories that persuade you pick art apart, that persuade you to concentrate on the author’s bigotry, misogyny, misandry, and any other slapped on label that would keep you from enjoying the work as a piece of art meant to make you feel. Yes, these theories have their places, but they do not belong in your reading chair, your quiet meadow, or any other place of tranquility where you enjoy art. Go there. Turn off your cell phone. Take a book of Keats’s Poetry and Letters, Wordworth’s The Prelude, or any other book, no matter whether the medium is traditional paper or E ink.

Just get out there and enjoy l’art pour l’art!

Before I log out today, I want to say a few things about where this blog is going to go in the next… few days.

I wasn’t intending to continue this blog past the due date, but I’m going to, actually. I’m learning quite a bit–and hope I’m helping you to do so as well. Though as the due date seems to be upon me, I’m going to hit some things I see as most important before the first death and resurrection of this blog:

  • The Beautiful and Sublime
  • Byron and Blake
  • A Final Observation

Until next time, I leave you with a reading of Keats’s “Ode to a Nightingale” from the Bright Star soundtrack.


One response to “L’art Pour L’art

  1. I like your Tolstoy quotes. Reminds me of a Dave Matthews song, incidentally… I still count that as art I guess…but the song is called “funny the way it is” and talks about somebody’s broken heart becoming your favorite song. You can definitely experience other people’s emotions through musical or other art. Any time you laugh or cry over an emotional song, you are not just seeing what they were feeling but you are literally feeling it too. Pretty cool.

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