Main Trends in Aesthetics and the Sciences of Art

By Mikel Dufrenne | Go to book overview

SECTION FIVE: THE STUDY OF THE VARIOUS ARTS

INTRODUCTION

Our study of research on art and literature will now be conducted from a different angle, that of the various arts taken singly. Such an approach can certainly be challenged. On the one hand, contemporary thinking has in fact abandoned taxonomic methods: it no longer devises classifications; it no longer seeks to establish a 'system of fine arts' (to cite the title of a well-known work by Alain). Not that it refuses to systematize but, when it plans a system, it thinks in terms of relationships rather than elements: as is shown by Thomas Munro's title: The Arts and their Inter-Relations( 1949, 1967), or Etienne Souriau's: La correspondance des arts ( 1947, 1969). Furthermore, the practice of artists seems to justify this attitude. New forms of art struggle to emerge, breaking through the traditional frontiers, mixing genres, attempting to resist all classification. In what category can we place the encrustation technique of a Dubuffet, a Pop object, a form of theatre where the script is abolished, a text which allows itself to be invaded by images? And many artists unceasingly dream of total art, which would no longer appeal to one privileged sense, but to our entire body, itself total and glorious.

We have referred to these changes in practice and theory; they are far from having produced their full effect. But meanwhile we appear to be still entitled to speak of a specificity of the arts, the more so because certain artistic undertakings continue to aim at the unique essence of an art, be it painting, music or literature. They then seem to operate in their own particular way the eidetic variations recommended by Husserl, the intention being less to transgress the essence than to put it to the test. It may be that for some — may Spinoza forgive them! — this essence is 'l'obscurité élémentaire' wherein 'l'exaltante alliance des contraires'1. is formed. But it can test and manifest itself only in the work, and the work, in its turn, derives its own obscurity from the fact that it is an object. As Blanchot also says: 'elle est éminemment ce dont elle est faite'. At the origin of the work there is always an action determined by the matter against which the action is pitted. That matter, and the praxis to which it gives rise, may still serve as a principle for a specification of the arts.

Furthermore, we know that, at the very time when a transformation is taking place in the sciences comparable to that in the arts, scientists and technicians are tending to specialize more and more. The more the specificity of a domain is challenged, the stronger become the particularization of the object and the specialization of knowledge. The same applies here: scientists and critics remain specialists. That is why, finally, there need be no hesitation in showing how their research is becoming specialized, even

____________________
1.
BLANCHOT, L'espace littéraire ( 1955), p. 235.

-264-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Main Trends in Aesthetics and the Sciences of Art
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 418

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.