Thursday, 15 May 2014

Virginia Woolf mocking

people who object to (wild) experiments and who bemoan the deterioration of literature, nostalgic for a golden age in the past that contemporary literature, in their opinion, doesn't match.

"All he could say, he concluded, banging his fist upon the table, was that the art of poetry was dead in England.
How that could be with Shakespeare, Marlowe, Ben Jonson, Browne, Donne, all now writing or just having written, Orlando, reeling off the names of his favourite heroes, could not think.
Greene laughed sardonically. Shakespeare, he admitted, had written some scenes that were well enough; but he had taken them chiefly from Marlowe. Marlowe was a likely boy, but what could you say of a lad who died before he was thirty? As for Browne, he was for writing poetry in prose, and people soon got tired of such conceits as that. Donne was a mountebank who wrapped up his lack of meaning in hard words. The gulls were taken in; but the style would be out of fashion twelve months hence. As for Ben Jonson — Ben Jonson was a friend of his and he never spoke ill of his friends.
No, he concluded, the great age of literature is past; the great age of literature was the Greek; the Elizabethan age was inferior in every respect to the Greek. In such ages men cherished a divine ambition which he might call La Gloire (he pronounced it Glawr, so that Orlando did not at first catch his meaning). Now all young writers were in the pay of the booksellers and poured out any trash that would sell. Shakespeare was the chief offender in this way and Shakespeare was already paying the penalty. Their own age, he said, was marked by precious conceits and wild experiments — neither of which the Greeks would have tolerated for a moment. Much though it hurt him to say it — for he loved literature as he loved his life — he could see no good in the present and had no hope for the future. Here he poured himself out another glass of wine."
(From "Orlando")

This can also apply well to other fields such as visual arts, cinema, music, linguistics, etc. 


Having said that, I must confess that I have some slight issues with contemporary visual arts and literature. Not that I denounce them all together. 
But sometimes, facing certain works, I can't help feeling that they're rubbish, these artists create rubbish in the name of postmodernism and take advantage of the notion of conceptual art to call everything art, without any actual creativity or imagination or effort. The values seem to rely more on the artists' words and intentions than the works themselves. Think so very often when visiting museums of contemporary art. But then of course, there are many good visual artists, such as Peter Callesen, Nancy Fouts, Kim Joon, Kevin Van Aelst, Kyle Bean, Yayoi Kusama, Jennifer Maestre, Virgiliu Narcis, Claudia Rogge, Sabine Pigalle, Nicole Tran Ba Vang, Murat Suyur... And good writers and poets, though I can't think of many to name.
I suppose there's no reason to be too critical of contemporary arts- of all the artists and so-called artists who are creating something, the mediocre ones will be forgotten and the great ones will stand the test of time. That's all.
(Only wonder why the ones I like I've known from the internet, whilst most of the time I'm deadly bored with the works at the museums, even if that doesn't stop me from going to museums). 

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