SOCIETY AND THE ARTS

What are the most fruitful social conditions for the production of works of the first order, philosophical, literary, or in the other arts, is perhaps one of those topics of controversy more suitable for conversation than for writing about. There may perhaps be no one set of conditions most suitable for the efflorescence of all these activities; it is equally possible that the necessary conditions may vary from one country and civilization to another. The régime of Louis XIV or of the Tudors and Stuarts could hardly be called libertarian; on the other hand, the rule of authoritarian governments in our time does not appear conducive to a renascence of the arts. Whether the arts flourish best in a period of growth and expansion, or in one of decay, is a question that I cannot answer. A strong and even tyrannous government may do no harm, so long as the sphere of its control is strictly limited; so long as it limits itself to restricting the liberties, without attempting to influence the minds, of its subjects; but a régime of unlimited demagogy appears to be stultifying. I must restrict my consideration to the position of the arts in our present society, and to what it should be in such a future society as I envisage.

-142-

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Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Note 5
  • Select Bibliography Of Prose Writings 6
  • Contents 7
  • Part 1 - Literary Criticism 9
  • The Function of Criticism 11
  • Criticism 13
  • The Experience of Literature 17
  • Tradition 21
  • Tradition and the Individual Talent 23
  • Poetry and Philosophy 35
  • Romantic" and "Classic 40
  • Journalism and Literature 42
  • The Appreciation of Poetry 46
  • The Critic of Poetry 48
  • "Difficult" Poetry 50
  • Poetic Imagery 53
  • Metrical Innovation 54
  • Auditory Imagination 55
  • Part 2 - Dramatic Criticism 57
  • Poetic Drama 59
  • Greek Drama 61
  • The Pattern of Shakespeare 62
  • The Unity of Shakespeare 63
  • Ben Jonson 66
  • Middleton's "Changeling" 67
  • Part 3 - Individual Authors 69
  • Dissociation of Sensibility 71
  • Marvell 73
  • Blake 76
  • Coleridge 81
  • Wordsworth 83
  • Arnold 85
  • Walter Pater and "Marius The Epicurean" 88
  • Tennyson 93
  • Thomas Hardy 94
  • The PensÉes of Pascal 96
  • Baudelaire 116
  • Part 4 - Religion and Society 127
  • Christianity and Society 129
  • Christian" or "Pagan 131
  • War 133
  • Private Religions 134
  • The Reformation of Society 135
  • The Strait Gate 137
  • A Christian Community 138
  • Society and the Arts 142
  • Religion and Literature 145
  • Church and State 147
  • Conformity to Nature 151
  • Modern Education 154
  • The Decay of the Music-Hall 157
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