Hawthorne's View of the Artist

Hawthorne's View of the Artist

Hawthorne's View of the Artist

Hawthorne's View of the Artist

Excerpt

An artist's view of artists is of intimate importance for the rest of humanity. If he succeeds in explaining the nature of his own activities--their aim and their fruit, their gratification and their cost--he tells us more than another might about the conception men generally hold of themselves in his time, and of the relation in his society between the individual and the social, the unique and the characteristic, the intellectual and the practical powers. Perhaps an artist's "portrait of the artist" will be, as the ambiguous phrase suggests, a self-portrait, with lineaments of joy and anguish very like his own. But it is apt to be a portrait not only of himself as artist but as man--intellectual or craftsman, idealist or careerist--as he finds himself cast in more common roles, and as he considers their relation to social life. Thus, the artist passes judgment, through this portrait, upon those general human impulses which twine themselves about his unique creative emotions.

How did Nathaniel Hawthorne define the artist, analyze the artist's relations with other men, justify the artist's works? In his personal history there is sufficient evidence that Hawthorne came to ponder deeply the fate first . . .

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