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Author Topic: Young Love, Sweet Love  (Read 8249 times)

N80

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Re: Young Love, Sweet Love
« Reply #40 on: October 19, 2016, 04:42:11 PM »

Hi George,

Since you didn't want to go to the source, here's the poem I used as reference for the loss of meaning since the thirteenth century:

Nou goth sonne under wode—
Me reweth, Marie, thi faire rode.
Nou goth sonne under tre—
Me reweth, Marie, thi sone and the

I'll admit that if you do some research and get a reasonable translation of that poem into more contemporary English you can "understand" the poem. But that's not the same thing as reading it and feeling the result it had in the thirteenth century.

Even if I agree with this it does not mean that it cannot convey meaning which the author desired it to convey. We can understand, with a little effort, what Chaucer wanted us to know. You just can't get past that.

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As far as cab horses and gas lamps are concerned, there's a huge difference between "understanding" things we haven't experienced in our lives and responding to a work of art which, for its full effect, requires things embedded in our life experience.

That's absurd. Melville did not expect any of his readers to have sailed on a whaling ship much less to have been in an epic battle with a great white whale in order to understand what he was trying to say. Tolkien did not expect his readers to encounter a dragon or an elf to understand what he intended for them to understand. To say otherwise is simply indefensible.

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Understanding and experience are two very different different things.

Of course they are but it is simply not possible to even suggest that one must have had an experience to understand it, process it and learn from it when it is presented in art. Again, if this is true then experience cannot be related from one person to another. And yes, having an experience and having an experience explained to you are not the same. No one says they are. But at the same time this constraint is not a significant limitation for good art. Again, the ability to transcend this IS what makes good art.

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Now, you can read about that in a novel and understand it, but unless you lived it you don't really get the full effect. The same thing's true of gas lamps and cab horses, but to an infinitely greater degree.

Okay. But the constraint you put on this is: "the full effect". I do not get the full effect of being stabbed by an orc if I have never been stabbed by an orc. But that presents no significant limitation to my ability to understand what that means when someone describes it. I can understand what they are trying to tell me. Easily.

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Yes, Eliot is cryptic, but I don't think for a minute that he wants you to "know" something.

Then you do not know Elliott and might need to spend some time with his critical works. Intent was everything. The fact that his poetry is "cryptic" is the evidence. If it is encrypted then there is meaning to be discovered. Meaninglessness does not require encryption.

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Like any real poet he wants you to feel something.

Sigh.

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He wants to give you an experience.

You just made my case. Better than I have so far. If he wants to give me an experience that is his intent! Pure and simple. And you can rest assured that with Elliott his intent is not just any old free form experience. That is what his whole poetic body was against!

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I can recite that poem from memory, and as I do that I don't learn anything,

Then you got it wrong.

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" People often want poetry to 'mean' something that they can carry away with them as knowledge.

Which is exactly what Elliott wants you to do. What is the alternative to poetry not meaning anything? Meaninglessness. Your arguments are putting you in a self made trap.

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And yes, Eliot's criticism is excellent, but as far as I'm concerned his poetry is even better.

Fine. But Elliott's criticism informed his poetry. His critical ideals are presented in his poetry. And Elliott's poetry, more than any other, is a form of critique. As such, it has something to say, and in Elliott's case what he has to say is well said and quite concrete. Again, he is the poster child for my point of view. That's why i brought him up to begin with.

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As far as the Pieta is concerned, I don't know how much power it's lost.

That's not relevant. It could have just as easily gained power. What we don't know we can't really apply.

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I'm very sure that to an atheist the Pieta is just a chunk of marble with some nice figures carved in it,

Only if by atheist you mean heartless, inhuman and motherless. At its basest level the Pieta is a grieving woman holding a dead man. It is no leap to see that it is her son. This can be ascertained with virtually no foreknowledge of the story or its religious background. It embodies 'pity'. It did so centuries ago. It does so now. It is heart rending in addition to being a staggering accomplishment in its medium. He wanted to show pity and sorrow. He did so in a way that is timeless and universal. Thus its status.

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I think most sculpture criticism has to do with technique rather than subject.

Not so.

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George

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RSL

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Re: Young Love, Sweet Love
« Reply #41 on: October 19, 2016, 05:15:29 PM »

Even if I agree with this it does not mean that it cannot convey meaning which the author desired it to convey. We can understand, with a little effort, what Chaucer wanted us to know. You just can't get past that.

Hi George,

That's the point I don't seem to be able to get across. The author (there's no indication it was Chaucer) didn't want you to know anything. He wanted you to feel something. He didn't want the poem to describe an experience. He wanted it to give you an experience. And you can't really feel what he wanted you to feel or have the experience he wanted you to have because of the changes in language. There's no "know" involved in this poem. Everybody already "knew" exactly what this poem told them.

I'm going to repeat my reference from Archibald MacLeish's book, Poetry and Experience: "People often want poetry to 'mean' something that they can carry away with them as knowledge. But, as MacLeish says, what we know we know only in the poem." Until you can grasp that point about poetry and about art in general, there's no point going on with this discussion. I'm beginning to suspect you're pulling my leg. The point isn't that hard to understand.

Rob C

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Re: Young Love, Sweet Love
« Reply #42 on: October 19, 2016, 05:40:03 PM »

Hi George,

That's the point I don't seem to be able to get across. The author (there's no indication it was Chaucer) didn't want you to know anything. He wanted you to feel something. He didn't want the poem to describe an experience. He wanted it to give you an experience. And you can't really feel what he wanted you to feel or have the experience he wanted you to have because of the changes in language. There's no "know" involved in this poem. Everybody already "knew" exactly what this poem told them.

I'm going to repeat my reference from Archibald MacLeish's book, Poetry and Experience: "People often want poetry to 'mean' something that they can carry away with them as knowledge. But, as MacLeish says, what we know we know only in the poem." Until you can grasp that point about poetry and about art in general, there's no point going on with this discussion. I'm beginning to suspect you're pulling my leg. The point isn't that hard to understand.

That's a proposition that I accept and find worrisome; I suspect I feel like that about my own photographs, and I think I may use captions simply as anchor, to engage myself more clearly with what I've made. And certainly as attempt to guide any viewer in the direction I think I might have been headed myself. That a quite different emotion  - or none at all - may register in that fresh eye is also perfectly okay in my mind. After all, we're not all fluent in all languages; one person's great speech may, to another person, be nothing but random noise. I think I've found a lot of deaf people in my life, but maybe it's just that there have been very few great speeches.

Rob

N80

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Re: Young Love, Sweet Love
« Reply #43 on: October 19, 2016, 10:16:14 PM »

Hi George,

That's the point I don't seem to be able to get across. The author (there's no indication it was Chaucer) didn't want you to know anything. He wanted you to feel something.

You're parsing words. If the author intended the reader to feel something then he had an intent that he intended his words to accomplish. That, again, is my point. If the author's goal is for me to feel something and I felt what he wanted me to feel then he achieved his intent. Bravo! If he wanted me to feel anything and I felt something, so what? Anything that can stimulate a sensory response can do that. This is what Faulkner meant about writing not of the heart but of the glands. And again, this is counter to Eliot (my apologies for repeatedly misspelling his name previously) who said:

[good poems constitute] 'not a turning loose of emotion but an escape from emotion


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I'm going to repeat my reference from Archibald MacLeish's book, Poetry and Experience: "People often want poetry to 'mean' something that they can carry away with them as knowledge. But, as MacLeish says, what we know we know only in the poem."

Russ, I think you are misappropriating MacLeish. I strongly suspect, as he was sympathetic with Eliot and the New Critics, that what he was saying is that when you approach a poem, you approach it, to the best of your ability, without your own baggage. This is the mantra of the New Critics. The work is all. Don't psychoanalyze it or deconstruct it. And again, this speaks to my point. It is not all about reception. it is equally about intent.

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Until you can grasp that point about poetry and about art in general, there's no point going on with this discussion.

That's a rather dogmatic approach to a topic as broad as "art" wouldn't you say? It sets this principle up as the rosetta stone through which art must be interpreted. Do you really believe there is any such a thing? It is also pretty much saying that if I don't look at art the way you do then we can't discuss it, no?  I've already benefited from the discussion so I'm sorry you feel that way.

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I'm beginning to suspect you're pulling my leg.

Why? What have I said that is not cogent? What have I said that is indefensible? You might not agree but I haven't said a single outlandish thing.

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The point isn't that hard to understand.

It is quite simple to understand. It's not that I have a problem understanding it, I just reject it as too constraining and relegates art to nothing more than the eyes of the beholder. And let's put things into perspective. Your's is the narrower view. And it is the constraint that I disagree with. Of course people react and relate to art differently. Of course time and circumstance shape that. but for you that is where it ends. I simply say there is something else and that something is that what the artist intends to say is important. If you reject this idea, you do so against the letters, writings and criticisms of many great authors. Flannery O'Conner's letters make it concretely clear that she intended to say certain things in her stories and it amazed her how wrong poorly equipped readers often got her work. Faulkner was a little more demur in this regard but it is still there. Robert Penn Warren (our second greatest critic and once poet laureate) is quite clear that artistic expression of intent is critical to a work.

But there is a larger problem with your position. It is a bit of a logic trap. If the only thing that is important in art is the viewer/reader's feelings then clearly, anything goes. And if every opinion is as valid as the next, then by definition there can be no dogma. No rule. No constraint. Which means that your criticism of the jar of piss is no more valid than my seeing it as the pinnacle of artistic expression. And if all experiences are equal, there is no room for real criticism and only popularity remains. And that is called "Pop".

We truly don't seem to be getting anywhere here and it seems like it is getting heated, which is a shame, but I have benefited from the discussion. Any time I have to think hard about and reconsider my beliefs, it is a good thing.
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George

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RSL

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Re: Young Love, Sweet Love
« Reply #44 on: October 20, 2016, 10:31:18 AM »

Okay George. It appears I was a bit loose with my use of the word "feel." Let's substitute "experience," which is a more accurate description of what a good artist wants. He wants you to experience something. That something usually comes in a flash that I tend, off the top of my head, to call "feeling," but it goes way beyond feeling. It's what I define as a transcendental experience. It's not descriptive, and it has nothing to do with "knowing," at least in the sense that it's knowledge we can carry away with us.

And since you seem unwilling to go to the essay I referenced early in this discussion, I'll give you this quote from it:

--------------

"Cognitive processes are essential to human life. They let us grow up, make a living, avoid head-on collisions on the highway, balance our checkbooks, write computer software, design buildings, manufacture airplanes, manipulate genes, blow each other up: survive. But the essential quality of a human being extends through dimensions of creation far beyond the “real” world we deal with through cognition. Christ knew it. Moses knew it. Mohammed knew it. The avatars that appeared over the centuries to Buddhists knew it. Shakespeare knew it. Deep down we all know it.

"Most of us call the dimension of human existence that lies outside the intersection of cognition the soul. I also sometimes call it the “seer” because it seems to me that behind the apparatus of human cognition — the brain and the mind that processes what we see, hear, feel, taste, smell, and perceive as the passage of time — lies a still point to which the results of these processes are delivered. It is not brain nor is it mind. Hindus call it something that seems to translate best as “self,”. . .

---------------------

If you haven't grasped that fact then you'd certainly believe what I'm doing is nothing but "parsing words." What effective art gives you is a flash from those dimensions beyond what we see as the "real" world.

Eliot was correct in the quote you posted, but I don't think it means what you think it means. Seeing with the part of you that extends through dimensions of creation beyond the "real" world is precisely what he called it: "an escape from emotion." It has nothing to do with emotion.

And before you accuse me of "misappropriating MacLeish" You'd better read Poetry and Experience. You may be astonished at what you find.

Yes, I've enjoyed this discussion too. And I agree, it's probably time to end it.
« Last Edit: October 20, 2016, 03:17:41 PM by RSL »
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Eric Myrvaagnes

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Re: Young Love, Sweet Love
« Reply #45 on: October 20, 2016, 12:15:40 PM »

Russ,

On behalf of all of us who have been too busy to follow your link to the essay, I thank you for providing that excerpt. To me that says very clearly what I feel (sic) that Art is all about.
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N80

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Re: Young Love, Sweet Love
« Reply #46 on: October 21, 2016, 08:09:03 AM »

Russ, I appreciate the quote too. And I agree with it. Many with have issues with any ideas regarding transcendence, but I certainly do not.

But let me just throw out one final, concrete example. Flannery O'Conner's short story "The Artificial N-". She has written in private (now public) letters that her entire effort was to demonstrate grace and how it comes from unexpected sources. If you are familiar with this story you will be aware of the pivotal moment in which she demonstrates this idea. And the thing is, with this moment you get just exactly what you have described above. I get physical chills when I read it. The same is true in her novel "Wise Blood". In her private letters she not only states her purpose but describes the methods she used to arrive at it. She expresses her dismay that many people don't get it. So there is no confusion here. She had something extremely specific that she wanted to say and wanted the reader to know (experience, feel, whatever) and she is duly famous for the fact that she deftly and beautifully accomplishes this. So there is that very intentional delivery of both that transcendental moment AND the expression of intent. This is all I have been talking about.

(I initially agreed that this thread has run its course but I did notice that the OP put it in the "But Is It Art" forum..............so I don't feel as bad now. ;-) )
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George

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Re: Young Love, Sweet Love
« Reply #47 on: October 21, 2016, 09:43:37 AM »

Thanks, George. Looks to me as if we both can wander away from this smiling.

Best regards.

Patricia Sheley

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Re: Young Love, Sweet Love
« Reply #48 on: October 21, 2016, 12:15:36 PM »

Well performed, carefully threaded encouragements to magical thinking/seeing. Glad I was able to sneak in at the half, and well worthy of standing room only~

Thank you both for the willingness to reveal some of your layers.
Lumine!
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Eric Myrvaagnes

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Re: Young Love, Sweet Love
« Reply #49 on: October 21, 2016, 02:52:03 PM »

Well performed, carefully threaded encouragements to magical thinking/seeing. Glad I was able to sneak in at the half, and well worthy of standing room only~

Thank you both for the willingness to reveal some of your layers.
Lumine!
+1.
Thanks to both of you.
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RSL

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Re: Young Love, Sweet Love
« Reply #50 on: October 22, 2016, 09:30:45 AM »

Thanks Rob, Eric, and Patricia. It was fun. I love that kind of argument. Beats politics hands down.

Rob C

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Re: Young Love, Sweet Love
« Reply #51 on: October 22, 2016, 11:17:54 AM »

Thanks Rob, Eric, and Patricia. It was fun. I love that kind of argument. Beats politics hands down.


Tiny, tiny problem: it's easy to join in but difficult to remain active... I would blame my memory, but that would be fibbing.

;-)

Rob

Jim Pascoe

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Re: Young Love, Sweet Love
« Reply #52 on: October 28, 2016, 06:31:23 AM »

Having only just come this topic I did enjoy the sometime heated but informative discussion about art.

But back to the OP and how would I feel if this was my daughter?  Am I missing something or do some people, the photographer included, see this scene as something very undesirable?  If it were my daughter, and I have two of my own and two stepdaughters - I would be very pleased to see her so happy and relaxed.  Why should they get a hotel room?  They are just laying on the beach in a world of their own and doing nothing inappropriate - at least by the evidence of this picture.  It is a scene one can see any day in good weather along the coast where we live (southern England).  Would I photograph them this close - up?  Probably not because I feel it is intrusive.  What it does evoke are memories of that age when the thrill of laying next to a loved one on a beach could feel so exhilarating.  There is nothing furtive about them - as I said, just in a world of their own.

I am lucky enough to have a wife and we often sit on the beach, sometimes lie on the beach - perhaps not quite as engrossed in each other as the young couple - but close enough that we are very obviously enjoying each others close company.  I wouldn't overly object if we were photographed - but then we're probably not worthy of being drooled over.........

I cannot really see a problem with taking this picture other than the implied meaning of the photographer in the question - "Aren't you glad she isn't your daughter?".  The young couple are doing something unsavoury in the photographers eyes - 'she' is risking all loss of control over the situation and before you know it she will become one of those awful girls who have sex before marriage.....  My title would be "Oh to be young again...."  Chris's post in No3 indicates he thinks the scene implies the couple had sex in the sand earlier.  To me they just look as if the have flopped down on a beach for a kiss and cuddle.

I see the picture as a perfectly innocent scene - the intent of the photographer is to show how a personal moment in a public place can be seized on as fair-game and exploited to illustrate their own narrative.  But then that is the nature of photography as an expressive medium.  It can also be very misleading and sometime dangerously so.

So from Russ's point of view I can view this as a perfectly innocent picture, but to George it helps if we would know Chris's intent when taking the picture.  I'm with George in that I like to know the intent - but I prefer to enjoy this picture without knowing.  Am I allowed to contradict myself?

Likewise and alluding to another picture by the same author with a naked child as an example.  I have pictures of my own children naked on a beach when they were young, and I have seen other pictures of naked children and let's face it - they have beautiful little bodies.  But If I saw a picture and was then told that the photographer had an 'unhealthy' interest in naked children it would certainly change my enjoyment of seeing their pictures - even though on there own they could be perfectly innocent.  This is sadly where we have come to in this awful time of suspicion on anyone who photographs children.  One person's innocent picture is to another an altogether different proposition.  Just to be clear as well - I am only discussing normal pictures and not any illegal type of imagery - that is quite obvious and would need no clarification on implied meaning.

Chris's picture of the mother and child I see as completely innocent and again - I can see why Chris might choose to take it.  I would not photograph a child naked in this sort of context now - I think to do so, even if it is within ones rights, is to be inviting unpleasant questions to come from anyone who sees you taking such pictures.

Personally I think art is a two-way street - the intent is an important element and personally helps me to better appreciate a work.

Jim
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Chris Calohan

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Re: Young Love, Sweet Love
« Reply #53 on: October 28, 2016, 11:59:16 AM »

From my perspective as to being glad it isn't my daughter is the perception of others and how they might view this innocent, or perhaps not so innocent scene. And my concern comes from her eyes to his...maybe that's just my own paranoia but my daughter at that age got into a similar situation and damn near got date raped....innocence can take a turn at the drop of a hat with hormones that young.

I just saw it as a possible prelude to something less desirable.
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