Aesthetic as Science of Expression and General Linguistic

By Benedetto Croce; Douglas Ainslie | Go to book overview

IX
INDIVISIBILITY OF EXPRESSION INTO MODES OR DEGREES AND CRITICISM OF RHETORIC

IT is customary to give long catalogues of the characters of art. Having reached this point of the treatise, after having studied art as spiritual activity, as theoretic activity, and as special theoretic activity (intuitive), we are able to discover that those varied and numerous determinations of characters, where they refer to anything real, do nothing but represent what we have already met with as genera, species and individuality of the æsthetic form. To the generic are reducible, as we have already observed, the characters, or rather, the verbal variants of unity, and of unity in variety, of simplicity, or originality, and so on; to the specific, the characters of truth, of sincerity, and the like; to the individual, the characters of life, of vivacity, of animation, of concreteness, of individuality, of chayacteristicality. The words may change again, but they will not contribute anything scientifically new. The analysis of expression as such is completely effected in the results expounded above.


The characters of art.

It might, on the other hand, be asked at this point if there be modes or degrees of expression; if, having distinguished two degrees of activity of the spirit, each of which is subdivided into two other degrees, one of these, the intuitive-expressive, is not in its turn subdivided into two or more intuitive modes, into a first, second or third degree of expression. But this further division is impossible; a classification of intuition-expressions is certainly permissible, but is not philosophical: individual


Non-existance of modes of expression.

-67-

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