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CRITICISM AND ÆSTHETICS

THE PSYCHOLOGY OF BEAUTY

I

CRITICISM AND ESTHETICS

T is not so long ago that the field of literary

criticism was divided into two opposing camps. France being the only country in the world where criticism is a serious matter, the battle waged most fiercely there, and doubtless greatly served to bring about the present general interest and understanding of the theoretical questions at issue. The combatants were, of course, the impressionistic and scientific schools of criticism, and particularly enlightening were the more or less recent controversies between MM. Anatole France and Jules Lemaître as representatives of the first, and M. Brunetière as the chief exponent of the second. They have planted their standards; and we see that they stand for tendencies in the critical activity of every nation. The ideal of the impressionist is to bring a new piece of literature into being in some exquisitely happy characterization, — to create a lyric of criticism out of the unique pleasure of an æsthetic hour. The stronghold of the scientist, on the other hand, is the doctrine of literary evolution, and his aim is to show the history of literature as the history of a process,

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