Steven Weiner, Computer Specialist and Aesthetic Realism associate, writes:
“Keats, America, & Aesthetic Realism” is thrillingly about opposites everyone is desperate to make sense of: the need to be definite, exact, and the need to be fair to the subtleties of things and people. It’s also about what we can learn from how an eminent poet was met in his own time. Do we meet what is beautiful the way it deserves? You’ll get new insight about yourself, art, and our nation, as you read the illuminating latest issue of The Right of Aesthetic Realism to Be Known!
The commentary by Ellen Reiss begins:
Dear Unknown Friends:
Here is the second part of the great 1975 lecture Poetry, Atmosphere & Neatness, by Eli Siegel. Neatness and atmosphere are opposites. And they have other forms: for instance, the definite and the mysterious, firmness and nuance, exactitude and wonder, strictness and subtlety, fact and meaning. Whatever form they take, this central principle of Aesthetic Realism is true of them: “All beauty is a making one of opposites, and the making one of opposites is what we are going after in ourselves.”
Every instance of good art makes atmosphere and neatness one—art of any time, place, style. Whatever it deals with—whether an apple painted by Cézanne, a battle described by Tolstoy, a chord felt and conveyed by Bach—art honors the definite reality of that thing and simultaneously its wonder, nuance, ever-continuing meaning. This way of seeing, Aesthetic Realism shows, is ethics too: we need to see that a person different from us is as definitely real, as firmly and categorically human as we are—and that he or she has feelings as mysterious, rich, subtle, continuously meaningful as our own.
The Opposites Misused
I’ll comment a little here on how neatness and atmosphere, the definite and nuance, exactitude and subtlety, are present in what Aesthetic Realism shows to be the most hurtful thing in the human self. That thing is contempt. Mr. Siegel described it as the “disposition in every person to think we will be for ourselves by making less of the outside world.” And he showed that from contempt arises every injustice and cruelty….Read more