This talk is meant to express an idea. The idea is that works of art are not, characteristically, acts of communication by means of which artists seek to convey a message to those who encounter the work. To think that they are such messages is to confuse art with a group of its minor genres: the allegory, the fable, the parable.
A brief introduction to the contrasting visions of Classicism and Romanticism, guided by M H Abrams, The Mirror and the Lamp (1953) and invoking the names of Wordsworth, Coleridge, Oscar Wilde, T S Eliot and Bertolt Brecht, among others.
This essay examines the nature of aesthetic and literary Formalism, especially as defended in the work of Clive Bell and Viktor Shklovsky. It seeks to show how very different are the formalisms of these two near-contemporary theorists and practitioners.
A short introduction to thinking about the relation between Human Nature and Human Art by means of thinking about how the Human Mind works, both in response to external stimuli and independently of them. Some implications for understanding the Arts (especially poetry and painting) and Arts teaching are indicated.
A sketch of movements in art, contrasting Expressionism with Impressionism; Naturalism with Realism. Argues that the - Isms are permanent possibilities of artistic expression rather than just historically bounded "Movements"
Exposition and commentary on the key themes of T S Eliot's essay "Tradition and the Individual Talent" in which comparisons with structuralist understandings of languages are made and bearing on educational debates discussed.
This essay reflects on the Turner Prize 1997 on the basis of a viewing of a Channel 4 one hour documentary screened on the night of the Prize award (2 December 1997) and a half day visit to the Prize exhibition at the Tate Gallery, London
Argues for a central, normative account of Art using notions of (1) its material basis and (2) its medium constituted by traditions and conventions, along with contrasting notions of (3) use of material and medium and (4) engagement with them. This conceptual apparatus allows one to identify the shortcomings of at least some "Conceptual Art" and also locates the specific Problem of the Novel as an art form