Wilde n’ Crazy

People tell us that Art makes us love Nature more than we loved her before; that it reveals secrets to us; and that after a careful study of Corot and Constable we see things in her that had escaped our observation. My own experience is that the more we study art, the less we care for Nature. What art really reveals to us is Nature’s lack of design, her curious crudities, her extraordinary monotony, her absolutely unfinished condition.

Oscar Wilde, “The Decay of Lying,” in Intentions (Cambridge: Chadwyck-Healey, 1999), 258.

Notes: personification, nature vs. art, contradiction


It is as difficult to suppose a person intending to write a modern English, as to suppose him writing an ancient English, novel; that is a label which begs the question. One writes the novel, one paints the picture, of one’s language and of one’s time, and calling it modern English will not, alas! make the difficult task any easier. No more, unfortunately, will calling this or that work of one’s fellow artist a romance—unless it be, of course, simply for the pleasantness of the thing, as, for instance, when Hawthorne gave this heading to his story of Blithedale.

Henry James, “The Art of Fiction,” (http://virgil.org/dswo/courses/novel/james-fiction.pdf), 7.

Notes: ambiguity in art; “alas!” in the middle of a sentence; “romance” defined differently; Hawethorne/Blithedale?


Notes (overall): The title of my post isn’t meant to tag James or his ideas as crazy; I actually find his ideas profound. Crazy profound.

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