Pouring Forth the Soul
Now more than ever seems it rich to die,
To cease upon the midnight with no pain,
While thou art pouring forth thy soul abroad
In such an ecstasy!
John Keats, 'Ode to a Nightingale'
There is a long tradition dating back to Plato and Aristotle that emphasizes that for better or worse the experience of art is often an emotional one. In the last four chapters I have been talking about the emotional effects of art on the reader, listener, or viewer. There is another more recent tradition, however, that also emphasizes the importance of the emotions in the arts, but this time from the point of view of the creator of the artwork rather than the audience. This is the tradition associated with Romanticism according to which artworks are expressions of emotion in their creators. In the next two chapters I will be focusing on artistic expression and after that I will turn to the narrower topic of expression and expressiveness in music. Few terms are as ubiquitous in discussions of the arts as the term 'expression', and in my view few terms are as poorly understood. Different writers use the term to mean quite different things, which may explain the proliferation of theories of artistic expression: we need a different theory for each different usage of the term. Things are not made any easier by the fact that there are a number of different but related terms all somehow connected to expression. Some works