Sunday, June 7, 2009

T.S. Eliot on Art and Responsibility

"No poet, no artist of any art, has his complete meaning alone. His significance, his appreciation is the appreciation of his relation to the dead poets and artists. You cannot value him alone; you must set him, for contrast and comparison, among the dead [. . . .] what happens when a new work of art is created is something that happens simultaneously to all the works of art which preceded it. The existing monuments form an ideal order among themselves, which is modified by the introduction of the new (the really new) work of art among them [. . . .] And the poet who is aware of this will be aware of great difficulties and responsibilities."

T.S. Eliot (1888–1965), The Sacred Wood: Essays on Poetry and Criticism

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