Ancient Art and Ritual

By Jane Ellen Harrison | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VII
RITUAL, ART, AND LIFE

In the preceding chapters we have seen ritual emerge from the practical doings of life. We have noted that in ritual we have the beginning of a detachment from practical ends; we have watched the merely emotional dance develop from an undifferentiated chorus into a spectacle performed by actors and watched by spectators, a spectacle cut off, not only from real life, but also from ritual issues; a spectacle, in a word, that has become an end in itself. We have further seen that the choral dance is an undifferentiated whole which later divides out into three clearly articulate parts, the artist, the work of art, the spectator or art lover. We are now in a position to ask what is the good of all this antiquarian enquiry? Why is it, apart from the mere delight of scientific enquiry, important to have seen that art arose from ritual?

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