Welcome from Amy D. Unsworth

Language, Literature, Learning & Life.

In & For Itself

What I learned from Kant today:

How liberating is the idea that art does not need to "do" something? It doesn't have to teach something; it doesn't have to fit some pre-conceived notion; it doesn't have to have some value as a product. We strive to create, even if what we create never achieves "beauty," we can at least be inspired by beauty to aim for the ideal. Its value does not lie in what it is used for, but rather in & for itself.

Do I believe all this? Is art in itself & for itself enough?


steve mueske said...

In an idealistic sense, I agree. First and foremost is the thing-itself, the poem. Too often I think we become concerned about the poem-as-commodity, and it is here that I think it becomes diluted, its essence changed. But in practically, this is a conundrum -- there is a relationship between poet and reader and art seen in this light has a real danger of being solipsistic. I think this continuum is more problematic for artists who feel a sense of being watched: that this awareness changes, in some fundamental way, the art. Glenn Gould comes to mind here, when he decided to stop playing live because he believed it produced a less-than-ideal environment. I admire that sort of dedication, but I also think that the issue is more complicated than it would seem. It's something we will always struggle with.

steve mueske said...

er ... "practicality"

Anonymous said...

Steve, I'm running a bit wild this week, I'll try to add to the discussion over the weekend (as well as converstations at the workshop)


Anonymous said...


"conversations" is of course what I meant.


Glenn Ingersoll said...

The converstations of the Cross, little peptalks Jesus gave between bleeding & beatings.

Is living in and of itself enough?