In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

156 the minnesota review power would depend upon specific analyses of the history of its reception. But this still does not account for Marx's contention, which Raphael accepts, that historically in the West Greek art has served as "norm and unattainable model." Raphael's solution to this problem rests in the first instance on his conception of the "structure" of Geek art: "Greek art is the only one that is anti-dogmatic in an absolutely radical sense, that is, dialectical. Each content it expresses is accompanied by its opposite; in other words, by givingartistic expression to the content of a myth, Greek art transforms this content in such a way that each time an opposite subject is introduced" (Ibid., p. 108). Not surprisingly, the definition of Greek art turns out to coincide with the very nature of art itself: "artistic creation is a dialectical play between the determining actions of reality and the reactions of a consciousness which ever tends to free itself from reality, so that the artist's knowledge and his ability to realize it in terms ofartistic form increase . . ."(IWd., p. 109). And the aesthetic, of which Greek art is the exemplary instance, becomes that arena in which the truth of the Marxist theory of knowledge (teleological and totalizing — see "The Marxist Theory of Art," p. 108) is confirmed. Consequently, it is hardly unexpected when, in an essay on Picasso's Guernica written some years after this one, Raphael repeats the Kantian claim that "the whole function of art is to give sensory form to the unity of practice and theory" (TheDemands ofArt, trans. Norbert Guterman, BoUingen Series [Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1968], p. 177). For the aesthetic is precisely the place where the discourse of epistemology is validated. Hegel's classical definition of the aesthetic as the "sensory appearance of the idea" (sinnliche Scheinen der Idee) focuses the relationship between knowledge or theory (die Idee) and the empirical or practice (dar Sinnlich). If, as Terry LoveU claims, the philosophical authority of Marxism rests upon its status as a form of epistemological realism, then the theory of knowledge within Marxism will stand or faU to the degree that ideas or concepts can be made to appear in sensory form. Rather than the scientific theory of society guaranteeing the validity of judgments in the arts (as, for example, Terry Eagleton asserts in Criticism and Ideology), the experience of art would be the validating instance for the possibility of knowledge. Max Raphael's prefatory injunction to the reader in The Demands ofArt confirms this hypothesis: "conceptual analysis and reconstruction of the homogeneous whole which is the work of art cannot replace direct experience of it. Only when a Uving contact, however vague or unconscious, has been established with the work of art can explanation be meaningful. For this reason the reader should first quietly contemplate the reproductions . . ." (The Demands ofArt, pp. 4-5). The possibility of theory is founded on the power of intuition, that is, on the aesthetic as a cognitive capacity. The claim of Marxism to constitute a science may be adjudicated on this ground. MICHAEL SPRINKER Robert Lietz, At Park and East Division. Berkeley: L'Epervier Press, 1981. 76 pp. $3.95 (paper). Much contemporary poetry seems to be an indulgence in philosophy, a self-conscious exercise in the problems of communication and being but without the discipline of logic, the craft of verse, or the experience of the Unes' own nominal referents. Fear of sentiment and of impending accusations of simplicity have locked many writers into a self-referentiality that is often as stimulating as the cogitations of an auto-didact born and raised in an empty room. This is poetry without time or place, without history; it is often the poetry of an indulged class which takes its own alienation as the archetype of humanity. In At Park andEast Division, his second book of poems, Robert Lietz manages to retain the experiments of modern verse without surrendering the world of things. These poems are, as the title suggests, a giving of directions, a set of coordinates and, most importantly, a place where people are. This central concern with environment, with contact, and so...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 156-158
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.