Saturday, July 23, 2011

"The object of the artist is the creation of the beautiful.

What the beautiful is is another question."

Below are 5 beautiful passages I read over Easter break in 'A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man' but never got the chance to post until now. Many passages in the book are considered the most beautiful pieces of poem I've ever read -- the alliteration Joyce uses is efficacious. Not to mention how thought-provoking the book turned out to be... after reading the final three passages shown below, doesn't it make one wonder, "what is beauty?"
Photography Graphics, Tumblr Photography
"A day of dappled seaborne clouds. The phrase and the day and the scene harmonised in a chord. Words. Was it their colours? He allowed them to glow and fade, hue after hue: sunrise gold, the russet and green of apple orchards, azure of waves, the greyfringed fleece of clouds. No, it was not their colours: it was the poise and balance of the period itself. Did he then love the rhythmic rise and fall of words better than their associations of legend and colour? Or was it that, being as weak of sight as he was shy of mind, he drew less pleasure from the reflection of the glowing sensible world through the prism of a language manycoloured and richly storied than from the contemplation of an inner world of individual emotions mirrored perfectly in a lucid supple periodic prose?"
The music passed in an instant, as the first bars of sudden music always did, over the fantastic fabrics of his mind, dissolving them painlessly and noiselessly as a sudden wave dissolves the sand-built turrets of children. 
The object of the artist is the creation of the beautiful. What the beautiful is is another question.
--This fire before us, said the dean, will be pleasing to the eye. Will it therefore be beautiful?
--In so far as it is apprehended by the sight, which I suppose means here esthetic intellection, it will be beautiful. ... In so far as it satisfies the animal craving for warmth fire is a good. In hell, however, it is an evil.
--These questions are very profound, Mr Dedalus, said the dean. It is like looking down from the cliffs of Moher into the depths. Many go down into the depths and never come up. Only the trained diver can go down into those depths and explore them and come to the surface again.
--If you mean speculation, sir, said Stephen, I also am sure that there is no such thing as free thinking inasmuch as all thinking must be bound by its own laws. --On the esthetic question.
--And to distinguish between the beautiful and the sublime, the dean added, to distinguish between moral beauty and material beauty. And to inquire what kind of beauty is proper to each of the various arts.

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