Graduate studies at Western
British Journal of Aesthetics 13 (3):232-242 (1973)
|Abstract||The charge that a particular critical remark is “irrelevant” to its object is one of the most frequently heard in discussion and debate among critics. Frequently heard because frequently true: there has never been a shortage of criticism which aimlessly relates the work to the artist’s biography, or invokes inappropriate artistic standards, or employs pointless historical speculation, or describes the critic’s own foggy reveries to misdirect our attention and obscure the essential significance of the object before us. But even if we grant that there is no limit on ways to go wrong in criticism, the question remains whether it might be possible at least to isolate areas of traditional critical discourse or general kinds of critical remark which could be ruled out as ever having a proper place in the effort to enhance our understanding of works of art. This is part of the concern to find a correct method for doing criticism, a concern which, as the central issue in talk about talk about art, has generated more controversy than any single commentator might hope to gloss. Nevertheless there is a certain seldom noticed characteristic inherent in the very concept of a method which is necessarily shared by all attempts to formulate methods of criticism. Its recognition will enable us to discern important features intrinsic to both objects of art and critical discourse which serve to distinguish these from ordinary objects and other types of discourse.|
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