Nancy Huntting, Aesthetic Realism consultant, writes:
“How Should We See the World?” describes the central fight in the human mind—and it explains, too, how this fight is dividing America right now. And in some of the greatest, most thrilling literary criticism you’ll ever read, learn how the poet John Keats was after what we ourselves most deeply hope for. You’ll be tremendously encouraged by “How Should We See the World?,” the new issue of The Right of Aesthetic Realism to Be Known!
The commentary by Ellen Reiss begins:
Dear Unknown Friends:
Here is the third and final section of Poetry, Atmosphere & Neatness, a 1975 lecture by Eli Siegel that is a masterpiece of literary criticism. In this talk Mr. Siegel speaks centrally about the poet Keats. And, in doing so, he explains something every person is hoping—indeed, thirsting—to understand for the wellbeing of our own individual life. In the final section, Mr. Siegel discusses a little known, generally disregarded poem of Keats, “Calidore: A Fragment.” He shows what no other critic has: what it’s about and why it is very important. Its importance is an urgent matter for us now.
The Big Fight in Everyone
Aesthetic Realism explains that there is a fight going on within every person. It is the fight between our deepest desire, to like the world through knowing it, and our desire to have contempt. Contempt is “the addition to self through the lessening of something else.”
Like of the world is no flossy thing. Nor does it come from getting praise and feeling we’ve outclassed other people. To like the world is the same as the desire to know and the hope to value truly. It is a pleasure in seeing meaning, a pleasure in being able to respect authentically. It is the same as care for truth. It is, Aesthetic Realism shows, the same as full sanity. And, Aesthetic Realism explains, the one basis on which reality can be liked with fullness and staying power, is through seeing that the world has an aesthetic structure: that reality is a oneness of opposites, the very opposites we feel as one when we care for something in art—rest and motion (for instance), continuity and change, order and freedom. And there are the opposites Mr. Siegel speaks of in this talk: neatness and atmosphere….Read more