Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Art and Life

The below extract is from a 1934 essay titled 'The Novels of E. M. Forster' written by Peter Burra. In Forster's own words, "Burra was a brilliant and sensitive writer of great promise who was killed at the age of twenty-seven in a flying disaster."
... the fact remains that the real life is chaotic and formless, and the artist is faced with the problem of confining his impressions of that life into a space which is infinitely smaller than itself and with at least one of its dimensions removed. He has no other alternative, therefore, than to select what seem to him its most significant parts, and to arrange the chaos into some sort of an order. Inevitably the life he presents is much neater and tidier than the diffuse reality. It is probable that most people take the impressions afforded by art - especially the novel - so much for granted that they sincerely believe life itself to be quite a neat and tidy event and suffer from shock or melancholy if something occurs to disturb their belief. Paradoxically, the more actually 'like' life a work of art is, the more nonsensical it appears to them. One of the most interesting aims of modern writers and artists has been the attempt to dispel this illusion of life's tidiness. 
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