Jeffrey Carduner, Aesthetic Realism consultant, writes:
Reading “Keats, Beauty, & Ourselves,” you’ll be thrilled as you learn the meaning of one of the great poems of the world, and what that poem has to do with our own lives in the 21st century. There is, here, a magnificent understanding of love, of what interferes with love, and of how we can see other people justly—in a way that will have us truly like ourselves. All that—and more—is in the new issue of The Right of Aesthetic Realism to Be Known!
The commentary by Ellen Reiss begins:
Dear Unknown Friends:
In this issue of TRO we begin to serialize the 1975 lecture Poetry, Atmosphere & Neatness, by Eli Siegel. What it shows about literature and life is immensely important and thrilling. Aesthetic Realism explains that the only way we can authentically like the world, the one way that will hold up, is through seeing that the opposites that comprise the world are in an aesthetic relation: that they’re one, as they are in a good work of art. A principle of Aesthetic Realism is: “In reality opposites are one; art shows this.” That the world can be liked because of its aesthetic structure is not something one is going to see by looking skimmingly or grabbingly. Yet evidence for it abounds.
And we can ask (for instance): Is any instance of good music both orderly and free? In any good painting, does what’s on the surface bring to us a sense of depth, including depth of meaning? Is any good novel both motion and rest; as the narrative moves along does it also have us see things that remain, like the quality of each character? Then we can ask and keep asking: if the arts just mentioned do put opposites together are they lying about how those opposites are in the world? Are they providing an offset to how the opposites are in reality? Or are they expressing what’s true about the makeup of the world?
The Opposites in the Lecture’s Title
In the present talk, Mr. Siegel is speaking about the opposites of neatness and atmosphere. These correspond to other opposites including definiteness and mystery, nuance, subtlety. A world without nuance and mystery would be unbearable. A world in which nothing was firm or definite would also be unbearable. These opposites are in us too, though often awryly, not as one. Millions of people are ashamed because they feel they go from being indefinite or wavering, to asserting themselves forcefully in a way that sums things up….Read more