Essay about A Utopian View of Creativity

Essay about A Utopian View of Creativity

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A Utopian View of Creativity


It is practically impossible to predict or to create the conditions which give rise to great literature, art or music. The introduction to the sixteenth century in your anthology discusses broad topics such as humanism, nationalism, and the Reformation which played major roles in stimulating a literature of unusual quality. It is intriguing if somewhat fruitless to speculate about our own century--to ask whether similar cultural earthquakes are occurring that will someday make the end of the twentieth century a period to reckon with. One can also speculate about a particular culture. Are Mennonites poised at the edge of an artistic breakthrough which will rival the creativity found in our history and our theology that came into its own during the past 50 years?

I believe that a literary awakening finds its roots in a new awareness of one's heritage, in the attempted resolution of conflict, in the experience of suffering and in the emergence of new world views. The Renaissance period fits those criteria. Both the humanists and the Reformers went back in time, drawing their inspiration from the ancients and the early Christians. Those sources assured them that the human spirit was capable of unusual achievements. The wealth of knowledge from the Greco-Roman civilization was supplemented with the new scientific and geographical discoveries taking place during the sixteenth century. This combination spawned a vigorous literary quarrel in France called the quarrel of the Ancients and the Moderns. Scholars debated whether or not it was possible to rival or surpass the Greek and Roman writers. Did they set an ideal standard impossible to achieve or was literary progress a real possibility...


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... Ames that good literature does more than represent reality, I must quarrel with his desire to control humankind and nature. Perhaps I have simply misunderstood the intent of his statement. In any case, the value of my response will be found in the way I attempt to make my argument--not in an arbitrary determination of who is right or wrong. To state my opinion without any concrete support would prove nothing. Thus I challenge you and myself to enter wholeheartedly into the material of our course, aggressive enough to take issue with what the "authorities" would have us believe, prudent enough to defend ourselves with specific examples, and humble enough to admit our limitations.


Works Cited

Ames, Russell. More's Utopia and Its Critics. Chicago: Scott Foresman, 1964.

Dionne, E.J. Jr. "The Last Refuge of Utopians." The Washington Post 1 September 1991, C1.

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