Archive for October, 2012

DIY Homework Cameron Quy

Assignment: Describe what an upcoming artist should aspire to do well in Symons point of view. After reading the chapter “Eleanor Duse”.


                Arthur Symons describes in his book Studies in the Seven Arts, what he believes an artist should strive for, in order to be a successful and competent artist. One of the most important values that Symons writes about, is to retain nature in your work. Symons describes in “Eleanor Duse” that she does not perform in “reliance upon nature, “but by controlling nature into the forms of her desire”.  This shows that Symons puts value on controlling the artistic talent within oneself. Symons wants the artist to progress upon their talent, and to improve upon their talent, not merely live upon the talent that nature provided. Symons refers to this as a “mastery”, not merely an “abandonment” to an artists’ talent. Taking what Symons said into account, an upcoming artist has several values that they should uphold to. First of all the upcoming artist needs to place all personal value into their work. Symons makes it clear, that being an artist should be just as hard as any other profession if you wish to do well. The upcoming artist must be ready to pour their body and soul into their work, whether they like it or not. In fact Symons explains that a good artist (at least in Eleanor Duse) should almost hate the amount of work that has to be put into their art. They should hate the “mockery” of their own art, because their art represents their entire being. Symons makes it clear that for an artist, their life is their art. If an upcoming artist isn’t ready to make this commitment, then Symons would most likely advise them to seek a different profession.


Summary and Value:

In this passage I talked about what Symons believes an upcoming artist should aspire to do in order to be a successful artist. In the first part of my answer I define Symons point of view on how an artist should behave and perform. For this part I claimed that Symons believed that art should be a lifestyle and not merely a profession. Also, I claimed that Symons would recommend an upcoming artist to always progress upon their talent. By using evidence from the text I supported these claims effectively. In the second part of my answer I talked about what Symons would say to an upcoming artist. This part wraps up my answer by answering the question directly using evidence from the first part.

The short term value of this piece can be seen by any upcoming artist that would enjoy some advice. Symons values, although possibly not seen as valid for some people, does still hold its value to a select group of artists. Hopefully Symons noticed an improvement upon an artists’ talent when they upheld the values described. If he did, then an artist may just improve upon their art by trying to conform to the values talked about in this piece.

The long term value of this piece I would say is in its availability, and durability as a blog post. The text which I read Symons Studies in the Seven Arts was in Google Scholar, and the chapter on “Eleanor Duse” was on page 331. What this says to me, is that a large portion of people haven’t even heard of “Eleanor Duse” and the values described within the chapter. Thus, my blog post can serve to educate people in the future wishing to learn more about Arthur Symons. It can do this effectively by allowing for easy access of Symons values.  And since I have already summarized his values they can get the meat and potatoes of his work without expending the time to download, and closely read the text.






Bernard Shaw, Mrs Warren’s Profession 1894

George Bernard Shaw wrote Mrs. Warren’s Profession which is a play focusing on a middle-aged wealthy lady.  She becomes wealthy by running brothels. The idea of this play is to show how prostitution was caused. Many women were not treated with as much respect as men and were downplayed. This brought older and single womens’ confidences down which caused them to resort to using their bodies for monetary gain. Since Mrs. Warren is in the prostitute profession she feels the need to remain incognito. Most eighteenth century people look down upon such unwonted work habits and Shaw’s writing of the play really portrays that. An example is when Vivie, Mrs. Warren’s daughter, finds out about what her mom did for money and becomes outraged and disgusted. Throughout the play both mother and daughter are portrayed as having a less-than-compassionate relationship with each other. Bernard Shaw made this play into a drama about people in the Victorian era and the role of prostitution in those days because Shaw wanted to reconcile people around the idea that their treatment of prostitutes was unfair and  cruel. This play relates to our groups topic in the way that brothels are forbidden in many religions. One specifically is catholicism. Catholicism and its members, such as nuns are the complete opposite of prostitutes and have completely different values. Nuns stay away from adultery while prostitutes welcome it. Their beliefs of what is morally acceptable differ on every level because of their environment and circumstances.

Metzger, Kay. “An Existential Perspective of Body Beliefs and Health Assessment.” Journal of Religion and Health. VOL. 45, No. 1.(spring 2006). pp. 130-146.


The Harlot’s House/ La Melinite Moulin Rouge

Throughout both pieces Arthur Symons and Oscar Wilde both discuss the allure of women who take part in the act of putting their appearance on display which was seen as a sin in the 1800’s. Oscar Wilde describes what him and his lover witness outside of the “Harlot’s House” as a negative experience where some sort of party or celebration is taking place. To shed light on the negative aspect of such celebrations he uses dark diction to explain how he feels about such acts. When he describes the dancers as “ghostly” and their laughter as “thin and shrill,” he suggests that their happiness is derived from actions that are not typically socially acceptable, or in his case, not acceptable by his means. Wilde also demonstrates his own negative outlook on such actions when he describes how his lover is lured into the house through the sounds of the violin. As he narrates this scene he no longer refers to him and his love as one person but as two suggesting that their beliefs and interests at this particular moment vary greatly. He begins this transition when he says

“Then, turning to my love, I said,
‘The dead are dancing with the dead,
The dust is whirling with the dust.’

But she–she heard the violin,
And left my side, and entered in:
Love passed into the house of lust

Through this statement he tells his readers that he is displeased with his love’s interest and allure towards the Harlot House and states his frustrations by further stating “And down the long and silent street, The dawn, with silver-sandalled feet, Crept like a frightened girl.” This statement is in reference to his love who he suggests must realize the frightening nature of the house she has ventured into and must come creeping back as a frightened girl. Wilde’s work is formulated around the social construct of what is right and wrong. Arthur Symons demonstrates a similar belief in his work of “La Melinite; Moulin Rouge” which is his poem about a popular dancer at the Moulin Rouge who was described by Symons as a person who had artistic talent in a dark place. When he refers to her dances as the “dance of shadows” he suggests that her form of dancing holds a sort of dark element. This idea is similar to Wilde’s due to his use of the word “shadows” in a negative light. Even though Symons refers to La Melinite as a rose he still demonstrates that he and Wilde are products of their time when they describe such acts in a negative aspect. These ideas and rules for what is socially acceptable was formulated through religious beliefs and teachings that demonstrated what was right, wrong and sinful through God’s eyes, thus causing such places as the Harlot House and the Moulin Rouge to be considered hopeless places indulged with the very pleasures that were considered sinful through societies perspective.