onsdag 4 februari 2009

"...my judgements are camouflaged autobiography..."

I inledningen till andra delen av "What good are the arts" summerar Casey vad han hittills kommit fram till:
"So far this book has questioned the existence of absolute values. It has argued that to call something a work of art is to express a personal opinion. There is no transcendental category, occupied by 'true' works of art. Consequently, debates about whether this or that object belongs to such a category are meaningless. It has argued, too, that since other people's states of mind are inaccessible to us, we have no means of evaluating them. It is self-deception to imagine that our feelings, when we are in contact with what we consider 'true' art, are more valuable than the feelings others derive from 'low' or 'false' art at all. Indeed, to claim that our feelings are, in an absolute sense, more valuable than someone else's (as opposed to simply more valuable to us) does not make sense, and would not do so even supposing we could have complete knowledge of another person's consciousness. It might, in theory, be possible to demonstrate that exposure to certain kinds of art makes people better - or worse. However, eveidence for this, though ernestly sought, has to date proved elusive."
Mycket kort så är mitt intryck av första delen att Casey inte är relativist när det gäller kvalitet hos konst och kultur. Vad han däremot angriper är den elitism som uttrycks i värderingen av upplevelser. Där är han relativist. En stark upplevelse orsakad av en banal svensktoppslåt är inte en sämre upplevelse än den orsakad av Bachs Konsert för två violiner i D-moll.
Casey är ett slags kulturdemokrat.

Och när jag nu ger mig i kast med del två, "The case for literature", så visar han sitt rätta ansikte: folkbildarens, som vill föra den goda litteraturen till folket.
"I shall also try to show why literature is superior to the other arts, and can do things they cannot do. Just in case anyone should sieze on these aims as inconsistent with the relative cast of the first part of my bok, let me emphazise that all the judgements made in this part, including the judgement of what 'literature' is, are inevitably subjective."
Hur ser han då på litteratur? Jo:
"My definition of literature is writing that I want to remember - not for its content alone ... but for itself: those particular words in that particular order. Like all criticism of art or literature my judgements are camouflaged autobiography..."
Det är just så man ska läsa: det som talar till en, det som är nödvändigt, det som till slut ingår i ens självbiografi...

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