The Effects of Great Art on Ordinary Life

| 4/20/2010 11:49:30 AM

Kevin Hartnett has a thoughtful burst of an essay over at The Millions. Blogging something posted to the internet one month ago is a crime in somebody's book I'm sure, but it ends with such a lovely quote that I couldn't resist. We'll get to that in a minute. Hartnett wrote the essay after finishing Tolstoy's War and Peace.

...just as it takes specialized knowledge to understand exactly why a magnet attracts metal, yet any five-year-old can identify a magnet when he sees one, it is one thing to apprehend the formal properties of a great work of art, but another, much more accessible question, to assess its effects.  And so, having recently finished reading War and Peace, what I want to think about is just what it is that great art does.

If you want to see what he came up with, read the essay. What will hang with me for awhile is the last line in the piece. Here it is, do with it as you see fit:

An encounter with greatness, I would say, is like a bright light fixed in time, a marker that defines memory and makes it clearer than it otherwise might have been, that we were here.

(Thanks, Bookforum.)

Source: The Millions

Pay Now Save $5!

Utne Summer 2016Want to gain a fresh perspective? Read stories that matter? Feel optimistic about the future? It's all here! Utne Reader offers provocative writing from diverse perspectives, insightful analysis of art and media, down-to-earth news and in-depth coverage of eye-opening issues that affect your life.

Save Even More Money By Paying NOW!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You save an additional $5 and get 4 issues of Utne Reader for only $40.00 (USA only).

Or Bill Me Later and pay just $45 for 4 issues of Utne Reader!

Facebook Instagram Twitter

click me