The Critic as Artist

The Critic as Artist

by Oscar Wilde

Published originally in 1881, The Critic As Artist is one of Oscar Wilde's major aesthetic statements.

  • Language: English
  • Category: Nonfiction
  • Rating: 4.15
  • Pages: 160
  • Publish Date: October 1st 1997 by Green Integer
  • Isbn10: 1557133689
  • Isbn13: 9781557133687

What People Think about "The Critic as Artist"

Being a literary critic and a reviewer of art are officious and useless things, according to one his characters in here; thus, Wonderful Wilde sets himself up for a brutal counter attack. Gilbert (as a representation of Wilde) argues that criticism is a form of art in itself. So Wonderful Wilde argues that if authors such as these can be regarded so highly, their art so revered, then why can a critic not achieve the same thing? Can he not create art in the form of criticism, as Wonderful Wilde clearly has done here?

De la misma manera que en La decadencia de la mentira, en este otro ensayo y también a modo de conversación entre dos intelectuales, Oscar Wilde se despacha con un manifiesto poderoso en donde posiciona al Arte, la literatura e la crítica literaria en su punto justo. En cierto modo, sentía que me hablaba a mí mientras lo leía, y creo que también los lectores de goodreads se sentirían orgullosos, dado que Wilde sostiene que es tan decisiva como la creación del artista del que está reseñando: "La crítica, lo mismo que la obra del poeta, no debe ser juzgada por un bajo modelo de imitación o de semejanza.

Just as Wilde proposes very unconventional ideas to Dorian, through his Alter-Ego Lord Henry in The Picture of Dorian Gray, so he does so here, through Gilbert, to Ernest, before explaining more deeply his views with such wit and vivacity that one, if they are not already, cannot help but be drawn over to his side, accepting his views as truth. You have told me that it is more difficult to talk about a thing than to do it, and that to do nothing at all is the most difficult thing in the world; you have told me that all Art is immoral, and all thought dangerous; that criticism is more creative than creation, and that the highest criticism is that which reveals in the work of Art what the artist had not put there; that it is exactly because a man cannot do a thing that he is the proper judge of it; and that the true critic is unfair, insincere, and not rational. Gilbert: Yes. until you find yourself converted Ernest: Well, I think I have put all my questions to you. When people agree with me I always feel that I must be wrong. giving Wilde room to touch on a wide range of topics related to Art, Aesthetics, and Criticism, and contains, in abundance, a variety of original and truly thought-provoking ideas. Aesthetics, in fact, are to Ethics in the sphere of conscious civilisation, what, in the sphere of the external world, sexual is to natural selection. Aesthetics, like sexual selection, make life lovely and wonderful, fill it with new forms, and give it progress, and variety and change.

Criticism as an Art Form: I assume it is widely known how witty and outlandish Wilde can get. The Critic as Artist is more than one of Wilde's aesthetic statements: it is an unprecedented attempt at defending, not art or literature as has been the tradition, but criticism! Ernest, the guy who questions, is initially of the view that artists must be left alone and it is nonsensical for those to be allowed to judge their work who themselves are unable to create it. Gilbert, the other guy and the mouthpiece for Wilde, counters back: Without the critical faculty, there is no artistic creation at all. (He belonged to a group known as the Decadents not for nothing!) The critical spirit, Wilde believes, and the contemplative attitude that it yields is of great importance and must be cultivated. And there is no great artist who is without this critical spirit as all literature is in some way a critique of life and people. You have told me that it is more difficult to talk about a thing than to do it, and that to do nothing at all is the most difficult thing in the world; you have told me that all Art is immoral, and all thought dangerous; that criticism is more creative than creation, and that the highest criticism is that which reveals in the work of Art what the artist had not put there; that it is exactly because a man cannot do a thing that he is the proper judge of it; and that the true critic is unfair, insincere, and not rational.

Extra star because every sentence is cadenced.

The Critic as Artist is an essay by Oscar Wilde, containing the most extensive statements of his aesthetic philosophy. A dialogue in two parts, it consists of a conversation between its leading voice Gilbert and Ernest, who suggests ideas on art criticism for Gilbert to reject. Gilbert (who functions as Oscar's mouthpiece) is convinced that only critical faculty enables any artistic creation at all, while criticism is independent of the object it criticises and not necessarily subject to it. Despite the fact that I criticise books on the internet on a daily basis, I am not that interested in Oscar's take on art criticism and its importance of it. But as I am trash for the man, I found many other interesting tidbits in this essay that I am dying to talk about. In my humble opinion, Oscar was a man way ahead of his time, Victorian England wasn't ready for his genius and quite frankly, didn't deserve it. <3 Additionally, I found myself agreeing with what he had to say on the impact of art, how "after playing Chopin, I feel as if I had been weeping over sins that I had never committed, and mourning over tragedies that were not my own." and how "on a shelf of the bookcase behind you stands the Divine Comedy, and I know that, if I open it at a certain place, I shall be filled with a fierce hatred of some one who has never wronged me, or stirred by a great love for some one whom I shall never see." The power of art, how it moves us, is able to make us feel rage, love, tenderness, feelings never felt before, is beautiful in itself. The ending of this essay is the most perfect thing I've read in a while and so I will leave you with its entirety to enjoy: " Ernest You have told me many strange things to-night, Gilbert. You have told me that it is more difficult to talk about a thing than to do it, and that to do nothing at all is the most difficult thing in the world; you have told me that all Art is immoral, and all thought dangerous; that criticism is more creative than creation, and that the highest criticism is that which reveals in the work of Art what the artist had not put there; that it is exactly because a man cannot do a thing that he is the proper judge of it; and that the true critic is unfair, insincere, and not rational. For a dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.

Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde was an Irish playwright, poet, and author of numerous short stories, and one novel.