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Demonstration of the gender constrictions immanent in language

“In matters of art, more than elsewhere, it is hardly possible to avoid seeming to confuse what one has not distinguished, or to separate what one does distinguish. Everything is given as a whole and the philosopher perforce must distinguish what art itself might try to render all at once. That is his trade. The friends of art do not need the philosopher to tell them that one can create beauty out of almost nothing, or lay before her an enormous amount of the most opulent materials and that, at times, the same artist does both successively, or dreams of doing so. There is not a single art which does not use other arts as materials without the least concern for the purity of essence which the philosopher must strive to extract because ‘quiddity’ is the primary if not the ultimate object of his concern. The artist is free; no one is authorized to prescribe rules for him, nor impose upon him limits. The artist alone knows what he wants to do, and although the work almost always falls short of the desired end, partial success or failure are the only conceivable sanctions of his work. They come too late to affect it, and they are so uncertain that it is very difficult to say something intelligible about them.” — Etienne Gilson, Forms and Substances in the Arts (trans. Attonasio; emphasis in original)

Published inLit & Crit

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