By Ruth L. Saw (auth.)
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Additional resources for Aesthetics:: An Introduction
In a film of the Marx Brothers, Chico is about to play the piano. Groucho steps to the front and says to the audience, "Why don't you go out and have a quick one? " This is allowable because in some kinds of comedy the relation between actor and audience is a personal one. We are enjoying Groucho and not merely the film, but in tragedy the effect is to destroy distance; it is to involve us as persons with the persons playing the personages. It 64 AESTHETICS: AN INTRODUCTION may be objected that I am confusing the actor with the person he is presenting, but that is the very point.
31 throw light on aesthetic experience. (We all of us know the experience of being unable to look properly at a picture or a play because of some personal idiosyncrasy. ") We now have a factual starting point in the sense that there are undoubtedly objects described as "works of art," and if there are "aesthetic experiences," some of them undoubtedly occur when a man of sensibility submits himself actively and receptively to one of these objects. We must notice, however, that "work of art" is neither an entirely descriptive nor an entirely appraisive phrase-it represents a preliminary appraisal.
We may recall Roger Fry's astounding judgment on Rembrandt, quoted above. , the "pairs" of lovers in Shakespearean comedy and the pairs, say, in Middlemarch-Dorothea and Mr. Casaubon, Rosamond and Lydgate. I have not said that aesthetic experience is pleasant. Of all the spheres in which utilitarianism II See Chapter 2, note 6. Aesthetic Experiences and Attitudes 59 is invoked, it is most inept in aesthetics. No one would wish to say that to see a performance of Lear was pleasant-immensely satisfying and worthwhile, but not pleasant.