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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 hilarious. I especially 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 illusionistic 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 entail nor are entailed 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 by-products. But surely moral and cognitive or ideological values are also artistic values when they are so fused with aesthetic values in the work that without them the work would not be the work it is. In such cases art-criticaljudgments cannot be purely aesthetic judgments, and other judgments, say moral or ideological ones, are clearly relevant and cannot be purged from criticism. Kramer boasts that in no case has the attention paid by TL· New Criterion to the politicization of the arts in recent decades led to politicaljudgments about the art under question. This is, without doubt, only because they subscribe to the philosophical delusion that the artistic is subsumable without remainder under the category of the aesthetic. But the defense of modernism requires no such foundation, and no such forbearance. Simon Fraser UniversityD. D. Todd Sartre after Sartre, edited by Fredric Jameson, Yale French Studies, No. 68; xi & 240 pp. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1985, $10.25. The title chosen for this issue reminds us of the traditional declaration at the death of a French King: "Le Roi est mort! Vive le Roi!" For the scholars who have contributed to this volume, Sartre the Intellectual is certainly not dead, although it is fashionable in some circles to declare him a philosophical 196Philosophy and Literature has-been. Five years after he disappeared physically, he has nevertheless managed to survive himself and to remain a monumental figure of our century, "a philosophical Victor Hugo" (p. iv) according to the editor Fredric Jameson. But he is now becoming a different Sartre from the one we were used to. A drastic reassessment of his writings is in progress and signs of it are obvious in this volume, without the kind ofreligious respect due in general to the words and the thoughts of the Master. As a result, we are spared none of Sartre's shortcomings: his inability to complete his major texts (Alexandre Leupin, p. 237), the "skewed image" he tends to give of Flaubert (David Gross, p. 134), the "chaotic character of much of Volume One" of the Critique ofDialectical Reason (Ronald Aronson, pp. 97— 98), or the "circular and emptily circulating panic of [its] dialectic" (Juliette Simont, p. 109), his "arbitrary" interpretation of Nizan (Patrick McCarthy, p. 203), etc. In 1985, when this collection of articles was published, Sartre had already entered his Purgatory. But not necessarily in a negative way: new approaches, more critical readings permeate the eleven texts offered here, and they will undoubtedly generate a fresh wave of analysis and controversy. There is food for thought for everyone in this volume, from the classical literary study on food by George Bauer or on Sartre's relationship with Hugo by Victor Brombert, to the verbal delirium of Pierre Verstraeten or...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-329X
Print ISSN
0190-0013
Pages
pp. 195-197
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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