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194Philosophy and Literature This study is fuUy accessible to the unüingual reader as aU quotations are translated. UsuaUy, they are presented in French and foUowed by an English translation. OccasionaUy they are uniquely in English translation with a few French words scattered about in brackets. Unfortunately the typographical integration of both languages in the text condemns aU readers to the tedium of reading die quotations twice. MarshaU's fresh, clear style makes up in part for this disadvantage. Both the work and the notes bear witness to the author's considerable erudition. This is a cogent, incisive study which brings a sensitive and new interpretation to the texts studied. The diesis succeeds in drawing the diverse works considered together into a new, original pattern which is very logical both in the eighteenthcentury context and in the light of contemporary thought. MarshaU's book makes a very important contribution and wUl certainly be required reading for scholars of French and comparative literature, history, and phUosophy. York UniversityRoseann Runte TL· New Criterion Reader: TL· First Five Years, edited by Hilton Kramer; xvu & 429 pp. New York: The Free Press, 1988, $24.95. Criterion was founded by T. S. Eliot to advance the cause of modernism. TL· New Criterionwas founded by HUton Kramer, the artcritic, and Samuel Lipman, die concert pianist and music critic. Like its predecessor, TL· New Criterion is pubhshed à rebours. Eliot's aim was to establish modernism in the arts; the purpose of TL· New Criterion is to defend modernism against such enemies as Marxism, deconstruction, runaway postmodernism and the collapse of standards in art and in art-critical practice since the 1970s. TL· New Criterion has become indispensable for anyone interested in intelligent dissent from the "dishonesties and hypocrisies and disfiguring ideologies that nowadays afflict the criticism of the arts." The conservatism ofits contributors is political as weU as cultural; the editors regard "the radical legacy of the 1960s as a cultural calamity," and they defend the correct idea that democratic capitalism is more likely than its competitors to be the sort of society in which aU the arts can flourish, provided that art and criticism can be freed from dieir subjugation to the "reigning pieties . . . that now disfigure so much of our cultural life." But it should not be thought that TL· New Criterion seeks to rescue art and criticism from the pernicious forces that now dominate them only in order to subject the arts to democratic capitalist critera of value. They want to defend the "autonomy accorded to art by the tradition of modernism" because it is there that "we find the freedom of spirit that is die cultural analogue ofthe poUtical freedoms guaranteed us by capitalist democracy." OfficiaUy, the only parti pris of TL· New Criterion is truth. Reviews195 This anthology gathers forty-seven pieces, grouped in six sections: Culture and Politics, The Decline of the Academy, The Arts and Their Institutions, Artists and Ideas, Figures of History, and The Contemporary Scene. Twentyfive pieces deal with literature, the rest with painting, music, and television. Mood in these essays runs all the way from the grim to the hUarious. I especiaUy recommend Roger Kimball's "Debating the Humanities at Yale" for an amusing exposé of the grotesqueries of academic liberalism. I agree with many of the specificjudgments its writers make about particular works of art and the contemporary cultural landscape, but am dismayed by the absence of critical analysis of the first principles of modernism itself. It is arguable that the achievement and the spirit of modernism are defensible without recourse to the idea of autonomy. Various characteristics of modern art such as the abandonment of a slavish descriptivism and Ulusionistic realism, the emphasis on immediacy, the resort to bold form and color, bold experimentation in painting, literature, and music, and the emphasis on expression of personality and feeling are sufficient unto themselves for justifying modernism and for promoting its continuance; they neither entaU nor are entaüed by the dubious notion of autonomy. The idea of the autonomy of art is tantamount to asserting that the only artistic values are aesthetic ones, so that whatever other values may attach to a work of art are nonartistic...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-329X
Print ISSN
0190-0013
Pages
pp. 194-195
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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