October 30, 2009
THE WAY OF THE WRITER: Inspirational Quote
A bit longer quote today. My friend Tim Baron pointed me at an article in the C.S. Lewis collection of essays "God in the Dock" that I hadn't read for a LONG time. Pulling that book out to peek at the article he wanted me to read, I left it in our front room. Tonight, I picked it up and flipped through it and found myself getting interested in another essay, and there was this passage:
"Until quite modern times -- I think, until the times of the Romantics -- nobody ever suggested that literature and the arts were and end in themselves. They 'belonged to the ornamental part of life', they provided 'innocent diversion'; or else they 'refined our manners' or 'incited us to virtue' or glorified the gods. The great music had been written for Masses, the great pictures painted to fill up a space on the wall of a noble patron's dining-room or to kindle devotion in a church; the great tragedies were produced either by religious poets in honor of Dionysus or by commercial poets to entertain Londoners on half-holidays.
"It was only in the nineteenth century that we became aware of the full dignity of art. We began to 'take it seriously' . . . But the result seems to have been a dislocation of the aesthetic life in which little is left for us but high-minded works which fewer and fewer people want to read or hear or see, and 'popular' works of which both those who make them and those who enjoy them are half ashamed . . . (By) valuing too highly a real, but subordinate good, we have come near to losing that good itself."
From "First and Second Things" in God in the Dock
"The Way of the Writer" articles:
The Weight of the Writer
Intentionality, part 1
Nothing New Under the Sun
Intentionality, part 2
It's So Rewarding
Samurai art by Tim Baron, (c) 2009