Every Sunday, I will share a quote from something I’ve been reading. The hope is for you, dear reader, to share your thoughts on the quote and related issues and perhaps pick up some reading material along the way!
The Measure of Art
I’m a fan of Edgar Allan Poe, but I can fairly say I never understood him until I read Evermore: Edgar Allan Poe and the Mystery of the Universe by Harry Lee Poe (yes, a cousin of Edgar’s). I was rereading this delightful book when I came upon an interesting quote about Edgar Allan Poe’s view of what makes art worthwhile:
[Poe] insisted on measuring a work of art, not by its size or by the effort it took to produce it, but “by the object it fulfills, by the impression it makes”… [not] “by the time it took to fulfill the object, or by the extent of ‘sustained effort’ which becomes necessary to produce the impression.” Poe believed that every story succeeded as a story to the extent that it created an effect upon the reader. (62)
For Poe, the measure of art was the impression it left upon the viewer (or reader, or hearer, or…). What do you think of this notion? What do you think qualifies as “the measure of art”? Have you read Poe? If so, how does his work “measure” for you?
Be sure to check out the review of this book.
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Evermore: Edgar Allan Poe and the Mystery of the Universe by Harry Lee Poe– I reviewed this fascinating book at this link. Check it out to see what other insights you can get from this work.
Sunday Quote– If you want to read more Sunday Quotes and join the discussion, check them out! (Scroll down for more)
Harry Lee Poe, Evermore: Edgar Allan Poe and the Mystery of the Universe (Waco, TX: Baylor, 2012).
I agree with Poe…and so does Stephen King, by the way. The perception is a part of reality, no matter how many try to deny it. If the greatest artist in the world created what he or she thought was his/her masterpiece, yet it left audiences untouched, then it is not worth the price of its components and falls in the junk pile. This also means that art is very personal and values are subjective. Oh, how logicians hate that!
A complex issue with interlinking facets of value and personal intuition? That’s actually the stuff of an analytic philosopher’s dream!
Thanks J.w. You know you always have my attention when you talk about beauty. 🙂
Have you watched Roger Scruton’s documentary on “Beauty”?
I have not watched it. What makes you recommend it? Or do you?
Oh, you must; it is a wonderful introduction to the topic of Aesthetics and the importance of Beauty in our lives. You can watch it here: http://documentaryaddict.com/Why+Beauty+Matters-542-doc.html