THE PURP0SE of this book is to bring together some of the many significant essays on art that have appeared within the last five or six decades, in widely scattered publications, and make them available to readers of English, especially readers who have no great library at their disposal. This is not an anthology intended to give students a survey of trends and schools in aesthetics; it does not offer representative statements of current views. It is a source book to serve independent study on the part of scholars and fairly advanced students in philosophy of art, and those excellent teachers of the arts -- of painting and sculpture, music, dance, literature, or whatever else -- who do their own thinking about basic principles.
Since the selections are intended for such critical use, they are given in their entirety. The decision to make no cuts entailed several considerations in the choice of essays to be included: they had to be rich enough to justify their entire length, which means that most of them contain more than one important idea. Those that make but one simple statement are very brief. A few that stay close to one idea and yet run to a good many pages carry that idea into great detail, as for instance Dräger's, Reinold's, and Sauvage's papers. They have all been chosen because they make some real contribution to art theory either in the way of a new idea or of clarification in a moot and confused realm. There has been no attempt to balance the several arts against each other. If most of the analytic thinking is found in music, well and good; then there may be more essays on music than on painting or poetry.