By Daniel Albright
Whereas comparative literature is a well-known box of analysis, the proposal of comparative arts is still surprising to many. during this interesting ebook, Daniel Albright addresses the elemental query of comparative arts: Are there many various arts, or is there one paintings which takes assorted kinds? He considers a variety of creative media, particularly literature, song, and portray, to find which elements of every medium are certain and which might be “translated” from one to a different. Can a poem develop into a symphony, or a symphony right into a painting?
Albright explores how various media engage, as in a drama, whilst speech, degree decor, and song are co-present, or in a musical composition that employs the university approach to the visible arts. Tracing arguments and questions about the kinfolk one of the arts from Aristotle’s Poetics to the current day, he illuminates the understudied self-discipline of comparative arts and urges new consciousness to its riches.
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Additional info for Panaesthetics: On the Unity and Diversity of the Arts
If I’m hiring an engineer to build a bridge, I care more about the person’s expertise in tensor calculus than about the suavity of her or his prose style. And insofar as literature is a search for origins, we are in danger of outgrowing literature entirely: our present intellectual climate is an Ice Age with respect to originary myth—nothing is more universally derided. Monod speaks of the comfort of mythology: how the divine hero and the inspired prophet provide a coherent account of the sacred traditions of a social group and an explanation of origin of the universe in which the human race has an important position in creation’s scheme.
Monod then turns to the austerities of science: the scientist doesn’t relieve our anxiety but increases it by breaking the animist compact between nature and ourselves and leaving us shivering in a universe in which we mean nothing. Science devastates our illusions so thoroughly, Monod says, that none of would pursue it for a moment, were it not that it works so well. A professor of symbology at Harvard might point out to the French Nobel Laureate that the scientist’s proud objectivity itself has its miraculous origins—for example, in the thinking of Monod’s hero Democritus—and therefore can be mocked just as easily as religion.
In my college chemistry class, the lab assistant firmly instructed us to use the passive voice and avoid the pronoun I when writing lab reports; and science often frames its discourse in aggressively anti-literary form. Literature, v30f What Is Literature? it seems, deals in myths and flagrancies, metaphors difficult to distinguish from lies; science pinpoints the genes that control color variation and quantifies the albedo of human skin with only a little bit of rounding-off. Virgil and Kipling alike find a Prime Originator, a single person who wills the new thing into being: the first Roman, the first black Ethiopian, the first spotted leopard; the scientist, on the other hand, speaks of random statistical variations, some of which prosper.