An Essay On Criticism Meaning

An Essay On Criticism Meaning-45
“He defines this mission in the account he gives of his own activity.” In short, he essays.This two-part description of the Tretiakovian “mission”—the writer’s obligation to see the critical act as a form of political intervention rather than description, and to position that critical act within a field of discourse and within a socioeconomic order—is what endures, more than Tretiakov’s specific politics (as with each of these figures, he occupied a historical moment and a political position that doesn’t require recuperation for the present).

“He defines this mission in the account he gives of his own activity.” In short, he essays.This two-part description of the Tretiakovian “mission”—the writer’s obligation to see the critical act as a form of political intervention rather than description, and to position that critical act within a field of discourse and within a socioeconomic order—is what endures, more than Tretiakov’s specific politics (as with each of these figures, he occupied a historical moment and a political position that doesn’t require recuperation for the present).

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Such a piece had to be written not from a position of experience and authority, exactly—and these were two things this Jesuit priest had little of where buildings were concerned—but rather as a heartfelt missive from an author who wanted to expand the question of architectural opinion beyond the confines of what was generally agreed to be the knowledge of the preceding centuries.

Historical surveys begin with Laugier’s because we love origin myths, and Laugier tells a fine one, couched in the language of rationality and natural law.

While nobody quite duplicated Montaigne’s idiosyncratic marriage of philosophy and autobiography, his legacy runs broadly through the literature of the Enlightenment—Descartes, Voltaire, Rousseau, Emerson.

Alexander Pope’s “An Essay on Criticism” of 1711, written in heroic couplets, contains a number of his most famous of 1719—a foundational text for English art theory as we know it—comes across as schematic, scientistic, and authoritative, more treatise than essay.

It’s no coincidence that the major proponents of critical theory in the twentieth century, and the Frankfurt School in particular, adopted the essay as a potentially transformative literary form.

An Essay On Criticism Meaning

One might even argue the inverse, that the genre of the essay—in its structural aspects and its intellectual lineage—in some sense demanded the rise of critical theory, being a form of thought uniquely suited to a certain form of writing.

In 1753, Marc-Antoine Laugier wrote what is surely the most famous essay on architecture—partially for having claimed the title early on, partially for the famously allegorical frontispiece of its second edition, which describes the tectonic origins of the primitive hut, but largely for the strength of its commitments, the vivid rhetoric of its arguments, and an emphasis on shaping popular opinion rather than conferring legitimacy through received wisdom.

As with Hogarth’s essay of the same year, it can be read as an attempt to replace connoisseurship in architecture with a new rubric of making judgments—principles, yes, but derived argumentatively and not through established tradition.

Its concepts are neither deduced from any first principle nor do they come full circle and arrive at a final principle.” Adorno is following here on Georg Lukács, whose “On the Nature and Form of the Essay” of 1910, framed as a personal letter to Leo Popper, posited that the essay might provide “a conceptual re-ordering of life,” one distinct from “the icy, final perfection of philosophy.” Perhaps the most canonical account of the critic’s mandate can be found in Walter Benjamin’s “The Author as Producer,” in which he discusses the work of Sergei Tretiakov.

“His mission is not to report but to struggle, not to play the spectator but to intervene actively,” Benjamin writes.

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