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In "The Critic as Artist," Oscar Wilde writes that literature is superior to the graphic arts, because unlike paintings of sunsets or portraits or other related forms of art, literature is "soul speaking to soul in those long-cadenced lines, not through form and colour alone…but with intellectual and emotional utterance, with lofty passion and with loftier thought, with imaginative insight, and with poetic aim" (2289). Wilde goes on to express that graphic art isn't really anything that special. People might try to interpret, for example, the meaning of a sculpture, and think that it has a deeper significance that what it actually does. Wilde thinks that the artists that paint or sculpt simply make their art because it is pleasing to the eye, with colors that complement each other or "simply with certain arrangements of lines and masses" (2290), and that "it is rather the beholder who lends to the beautiful thing its myriad meaning" (2290). He does say that art is very beautiful, but because it has no real meaning and is just open to various interpretations from anyone, it is inferior to Literature, which "shows us… not merely the meaning but also the mystery of Beauty, and… solves once and for all the problem of art's unity" (2293).
4/4/2014 11:19:05 AM RE: LITERATURE VS. THE GRAPHIC ARTS
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...argues that lying is a requisite of art, for without it there is nothing but a base realism. The ordeal in which the novel in England, Wilde claims, is that writers do not lie enough; they do not have enough imagination in their works: "they find life crude, and leave it raw." In this particular essay Wilde makes his apparently outrageous statement that "life imitates Art far more than Art imitates life." Though perhaps and obviously overstating the fact, Wilde convincingly discusses the many ways in which our perceptions of reality are affected by the art that we have experienced, an idea adapted from poet and critic Samuel Taylor Coleridge and the other earlier English romantics. But in all he feels poetry can be expressed easier and much more widespread than art it self, art can only be art and be seen as it is but poetry can be expressed in many other ways.
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