Origins of Art: A Psychological & Sociological Inquiry

By Yrjö J. Hirn | Go to book overview
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CHAPTER XII
ART AND INFORMATION

IT is well known that, in the earlier classical times, philosophy, history, and science were inseparably connected with poetry. And it is as familiar a truth that pictographs and ideograms were used for writing before phonetic signs had been invented. But it is not enough to recall that poetry and the arts of design have in this way been serving the requirements of intellectual information; it can also be shown that among primitive tribes every one of the lower art-forms--the dance, the pantomime, and even the ornament--has been of great importance as a means of interchanging thoughts.

When attempting in this chapter to take a cursory survey of the various art-forms as used for purely intellectual purposes, we find it most advantageous to start with the dramatic examples. It is true that the art of the theatre, in the modern sense of the word, must be considered as a late, perhaps even as the very latest, result of artistic evolution. A literary drama, which fulfils all the claims of a work of art, is possible only on a highly advanced level of culture, and it has consequently by most authors on æsthetic been considered as the latest of all art-forms.1 When dealing, however, with the productions of primitive tribes, we

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1
For a recent defence of this theory see Tarde, La logique sociale, pp. 445, 446.

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