Tuesday, May 19, 2009

'The coldness, the “quickly sated intellect,” the awareness of banality, the tendency to be easily wearied and surfeited, the capacity for disgust – it was all constituted to elevate to a profession that same talent to which it was linked.

Why? Because it belonged only in part of the private personality; the rest, however, came from something above the individual, was an expression of a collective sense that the means of art had turned stale and were exhausted by history, of being bored by all that, of striving for new paths. “Art advances,” Kretzschmar wrote, “and does so by means of the personality, which is the product and tool of its times and in which objective and subjective motives are joined beyond differentiation, each assuming the form of the other. Art’s vital need for revolutionary progress and achievement of the new depends on the strongest subjective sense for what is hackneyed, for what has nothing more to say, for those standard, normal means that have now become ‘impossible’; and so art helps itself to apparently unvital elements: personal weariness and intellectual boredom, the disgust that comes with perceiving ‘how it’s done,’ the cursed proclivity to see things in light of their own parody, the ‘sense of the comic’ – what I am saying is: Art, in its will to live and progress, puts on the mask of these dull-hearted personal traits in order to manifest, objectivize, and fulfil itself in them.'

- from Doctor Faustus by Thomas Mann

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