Epoch and Artist: Selected Writings

Epoch and Artist: Selected Writings

Epoch and Artist: Selected Writings

Epoch and Artist: Selected Writings

Excerpt

For a number of easily appreciated and quite authentic reasons we none of us much relish the prospect of our past opinions (expressed, maybe, with regard to a particular occasion) being given a new lease of life in changed conditions and we ourselves changed also. So that a measure of distaste, perhaps of embarrassment, is of necessity tied up with the re-publication, in collected form, of a selection of what an older generation would, with exactness, have described as 'occasional papers'.

If that is so, it may well be asked why allow the selection to be made and published? It is, in large part, the need to indicate an answer to that reasonable question that I write this covering note, or short preface.

These selections vary in date from 1937 to 1958, they vary in kind from a preface written for a work of my own to a review of a book dealing with the work of Christopher Smart and they vary in length from a letter of forty lines to an essay of forty pages.

The first named of these variations (that of date) should not, in my opinion, be disregarded and for this reason: What we say at such and such a time we would not necessarily say at a later time, indeed the likelihood is all the other way, and even if we say in 1958 what we said in 1950 what is connoted will, in some fashion, be other. On which account in reading any one of these selections it is desirable that readers should, if they would, note the date of what is written.

I have seen myself described as 'A visual artist first and a writer second'. Well, I make no objection to that, which is certainly very true in the chronological sense, for whereas I was . . .

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