Saturday, May 01, 2004

And while we're on the topic of bland eclecticism, here's another relevant Poggioli tidbit:

"A period having many styles has none...[M]ass cultures...take their styles where they find them--from cultures and societies different from theirs. In short, the absence of a style of its own is not exclusive to capitalism or socialism, but happens in any democratic society, whether it is liberal or not; in any 'quantitative' civilization, which is technical and industrial.

"Precisely by being styleless, this type of civilization prefers an eclectic style, where what is technical ability in an aesthetic sense joins with technical ability in a practical sense...The artist in our time, precisely because he knows how to imitate effortlessly all techniques, ancient or modern, scientific or artistic...refuses to accept as his own style what has now become a purely mechanical production, what is thus a true negation of style...This tolerance is naturally only a purely negative reality and as such, provokes, in turn, the artist's intolerance...[T]he modern writer has no choice but to assume an attitude of absolute intransigence in the face of the indistinct multitude of his readers, an undifferentiated antagonism." (124-6)

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