2.5 Is the author dead?

When Roland Barthes (1915–80) wrote ‘The Death of the Author’ (first published 1968, reprinted in Barthes 1977), he did not mean that, like Wimsatt and Beardsley, the author had been, or should always have been, absent in the interpretation of art works. Instead his position is a historicised one: while once it might have been acceptable to refer to the author in the interpretation of an art work, now, in a post-modern world, it is not. Michel Foucault (1926–84) responded to Barthes (
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Introduction

This unit will concentrate on one of the most common forms of art history writing – a biographical monograph about a single artist's life and work. You will be focusing on the way that one author, Helen Langdon, has used biography in her book about one artist, Caravaggio. In order to get the most out of studying this unit you will need access to a copy of this book (ISBN 071266582x)

You will look in detail at the methods she has used to approach her subject and the different kinds of
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3.1 Imagination and imagery

From the very origins of concern with the imagination in the work of the ancient Greeks, the imagination has been associated with imagery. But what is the relationship between imagination and imagery? In chapter 12 of his book, The Language of Imagination (1990), Alan White addresses this question and argues that imagination neither implies nor is implied by imagery.


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2.4 Gaut's analysis of imagination

Berys Gaut's main concern in his paper is to provide an account of the relationship between imagination and creativity. But in section 2 of his paper he offers an analysis of the notion of imagination, which we will look at here.

Activity 5

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2.2 Schubert and Johann Michael Vogl

By 1825 Schubert's painter friend Moritz von Schwind was reporting, ‘There is a Schubertiad at Enderes's each week – that is to say, Vogl sings’ (quoted in Deutsch, 1946, p. 401). Schwind names seven regular male members of the group, so even allowing for wives and other unnamed friends it was quite a small gathering. Another report of a Schubertiad at Enderes's the following year mentions that ‘more than 20 people have been asked’ (quoted in Deutsch, 1946, p. 531), and several othe
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Learning outcomes

By the end of this unit you should have:

  • an awareness of the links between English and Latin;

  • an understanding of basic English grammar in order to recognise and describe the way languages work;

  • an awareness of the fundamentals of pronunciation in Latin.


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2.3.5 History

The census of 1911, the year of MacLean's birth, recorded 200,000 speakers of Scottish Gaelic. Fifty years later, the number had dropped to 81,000. If MacLean's vision is frequently pessimistic, this must surely derive at least in part from the dwindling of the culture and language to which he had committed himself as poet.

Please now read ‘A Highland Woman’.

Click to view the poem ‘Highland Woman’

2.1.2 The poems

Your reading in this unit has already prepared you to some extent, but please read the following poems (both the English and Gaelic versions are given) which are discussed in the recordings, and then listen to the recordings.

 

Kinloch Ainort

A company of mountains, an upthrust of mountains

a great garth of growing mountains

a concourse of summits, of knolls, of hills


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1.2 Grasping Gaelic

Activity 1

Please read the following poems by Sorley MacLean (linked below): ‘The Turmoil’, ‘Kinloch Ainort’, ‘Heroes’, ‘Death Valley’, ‘A Spring’, and ‘She to Whom I Gave…’. Some of the poems have both Gaelic
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Learning outcomes

By the end of this unit, you should be able to:

  • understand the power of Maclean's poetry in its original Gaelic;

  • give examples of how such poetry engages with historical and cultural change.


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References

Anderson, M.S. (1987) Europe in the Eighteenth Century 1713–1783, 3rd edn, Harlow, Longman.
Aston, N. (1990) Religion and Revolution in France 1780–1804, Basingstoke, Macmillan.
Barzun, J. (2000) From Dawn to Decadence: 500 Years of Western Cultural Life, New York, Harper Collins.
Benham, W. (1902) The Po
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9.2 Cultural shifts: from Enlightenment to Romanticism, c.1780–1830

  1. A growing impulse towards revolution, rupture, transformation and radicalism.

  2. A growing scepticism about the potential to identify objective, empirically validated and universally valid truths, and an increased emphasis on subjectivity.

  3. An increasing emphasis on the self, introspection, identity and individualism.

  4. A growing exploitation and intensification of an aesthetic of the sublime.

  5. A
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8.3.2 Revolution

It cannot be emphasised enough that neither Voltaire nor Rousseau nor anyone before 1789 anticipated the revolution that actually took place in France or the violent and bloody course that it took. What Voltaire looked forward to was an enlightened, humane and orderly society of moderate property owners, a society whose members were guaranteed freedom to worship (or not to worship), to read, publish and discuss whatever they wished, a humane penal system, the rule of law, freedom from arbitra
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8.1 The forces of change: towards Romanticism

The relationship between the Enlightenment and the movement known as Romanticism, which dominated early nineteenth-century culture, is the subject of intense debate among scholars. There is no single correct way of defining this relationship, and one of the main challenges you will face in this course is in forming your own conclusions on the subject. It is possible, for example, to see the French Revolution as a cataclysmic event that tumbled the old order and ruptured faith in the Enlighten
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5 Enlightenment and the classics

The civilisations of ancient Greece and Rome formed both a common background and a major source of inspiration to Enlightenment thinkers and artists (see Figure 4). The dominant culture of the Enlightenment was rooted in the classics, and its art was consciously imitative and neoclassical. English literature of the first half of the century was known as ‘Augustan’ – that is, comparable to the classic works of the age of the Roman emperor Augustus (27 BC
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4.3 Responses to religion

Reasoned responses to religion could take many forms. It was rare for writers to profess outright atheism; even in those cases where we may suspect authors of holding this view, censorship laws made their public expression unlawful. These laws were particularly stringent in France. In many cases reasoned critique was applied to the practices of institutional religion, such as the corruption of the clergy or the rituals of worship, rather than to more fundamental matters of doctrine or faith.
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4.1 Constant human nature

Just as with other natural phenomena, Enlightenment thinkers came to the conclusion as a result of observation that human nature itself was a basic constant. In other words, it possessed common characteristics and was subject to universal, verifiable laws of cause and effect. As Hume put it:

Mankind are so much the same, in all times and places, that history informs us of nothing new or strange in this particular.
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Learning outcomes

After studying this unit, you should:

  • have gained a basic understanding of the cultural climate that existed as the Enlightenment began;

  • understand the main characteristics of the Enlightenment;

  • be aware of some of the cultural shifts and trends leading from Enlightenment to Romanticism.


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Introduction

The unit will examine the Enlightenment. To help understand the nature and scale of the cultural changes of the time, we offer a 'map' of the conceptual territory and the intellectual and cultural climate. We will examine the impact of Enlightenment on a variety of areas including science, religion, the classics, art and nature. Finally, we will examine the forces of change which led from Enlightenment to Romanticism.

This unit is an adapted extract from the Open University course
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Acknowledgements

This unit was written by Ms Eva Solzman

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Grateful acknowledgement is made to the following sources for permission to reproduce
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