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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.



D.G. Rossetti’…

D.G. Rossetti’s “Jenny” describes the sympathy and love a man feels for a “fallen” woman in society. He speaks of a prostitute whom is looked upon as a degraded figure by the rest of the world, but is truly misunderstood. The man sees decency and heart within the woman but is torn between his emotions and his head. As a member of the Victorian society he was taught to looked down upon this woman and believe her to be fallen, though he cannot see past her beauty. The man speaks of her beautiful blue eyes and golden hair and the mesmerizing effect they have on his beliefs. Interacting with this beautiful woman in her own environment makes him see a different side. He sympathizes with the struggles she must face as an unacceptable member of the Victorian society. He believes she is better than the name she has been given and the things she has done. 

In Rossetti’s paintings he depicts a “fallen” woman who is quite easily distinguished as a prostitute. The man in the painting is pulling her away from this degraded life she has come to live. He believes that he can bring her back to her old ways and back to morality. The woman however believes she is trapped in her ways with no chance for escaping. Much like the calf depicted in the back of the painting the woman is helpless and lost. They are both struggling in the traps they have been put in. The “fallen” woman believes she cannot change and is stuck with the never-ending desperation of freedom from her sins. 


Reed Keefe. “D.G. Rossetti’s ‘Jenny’: Eschewing Thinking for Feeling.” 06, English/History of Art 15. Brown University, 2004. Sept. 27, 2012.

In John Leech’s painting The Great Social Evil there is a poster on the wall next to the women advertising Verdi’s La Traviata. Many paintings have subtle hints and messages hidden within them; this notion prompted a little research on the opera.

It is the story of Violetta, a famous courtesan, and the man who loves her, Alfredo. In summary, he professes his love for her, and she eventually gives in and falls in love with him in return. They blissfully live together until Alfredo’s father comes to Violetta one day and asks that she leave, as their relationship is harming Alfredo’s sister’s impending possible marriage because of Violetta’s past. (Synopsis: La Traviata)

One of the main points Verdi is making in this opera is a condemnation of preconceived notion. When Alfredo’s father comes to Violetta, he has already determined in his mind that she will be crude, unpleasant company, solely due to her past profession. He instead finds her to be noble and graceful. The story here points out the flawed perception many had at the time of ‘fallen’ women. Violetta had been a courtesan (a higher class escort or prostitute, like an Italian geisha) but she had cast off that life when she fell in love with Alfredo. However, because of the extreme traditional conservative beliefs of that time, her past tainted her lover’s sister’s relationship.  This was a common fallacy at the time; Violetta’s past had nothing to do with the sister’s purity, yet because of the way people thought and believed, her past indiscretions had the potential to entirely ruin the promised matrimony.

Violetta, like the subject of Thomas Hardy’s “The Ruined Maid”, was perceived, and perhaps perceived herself, as lesser because of her position. This perception, however, was not based on the character of her person, but on her profession, because of the inherent beliefs their societies held in that day.



“Synopsis: La Traviata.” The Metropolitan Opera. 2012. Web. 25 September 2012.

The Fallen

William Acton’s views on prostitution were, for the most part, surprisingly unbiased, unemotional and logical. He believed that women fell into prostitution through seduction or because of poverty in the majority of cases. He also believed that these women are not entirely bad, although that is what the masses concluded. He thought prostitutes were just women who had lost their way, but that did not mean they could not return to a pure life. This may have been a slightly radical belief in the 1850s where unchaste women were shunned and exiled from society. Even now, after many radical movements about gender, age, and race, our society tends to uphold those standards of chastity.

Despite the disapproval of the moral majority, there are societies today that encourage women to have sex with multiple men. This practice is called polyandry. Polyandry occurs when one woman has more than one husband. These polyandrous societies exist today in the Himalayas and other secluded parts of the earth where this conduct is seen as neither unusual nor immoral. These people have practical reasons for their practices, the same way that Acton thinks prostitutes have practical reasons for their impurity. Fraternally polyandrous families (those in which one woman marries two or more brothers) have many important reasons for their way of life. This lifestyle means they do not have to split up the family’s farmland, which is already scarce in the Himalayas. If the small amount of farmland was divided for each new generation, everyone would go hungry. Also, polyandry keeps the population from booming because women can only get pregnant so often, but if each of her husbands had a different wife, the number of newborns would multiply rapidly.

Our society tells us that these beliefs and practices are wrong. It also says that there is no cure or return from prostitution and that those women have already fallen.  Acton’s piece disagrees by taking a professional stance as opposed to making biased statements about prostitution. The thing about falling is that with strength, you can pull yourself back up and brush the dirt off.


“Multiple Husbands.” You Tube. National Geographic. 18 May, 2007. Web. 23 Sept., 2012.

Here the main protagonist, Ruth Hilton, is shown posing humbly, but perhaps less innocently than personally believed. “She was really not aware of the falseness of this conduct; being an adept in that species of sophistry with which people persuade themselves that what they wish to do is right” (Gaskell, I). The author’s veracious meaning demonstrates a significant ideal held by many religious folk of her time. Many of the upper-class citizens like Mr. Bellingham tended to be condescending of the lower classes. And while increas-ingly hypocritical when considering their Christian beliefs, few of the rich cared to treat the poor as anything but human beings. A bluntly pious remark is given later on as well.

Gaskell’s interestingly enough presents a blatant portent of events to come. “My dear, remember the devil goeth about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour; remember that, Ruth” (Gaskell, IV). Pulling verses straight from the Bible, the author creates a feeling of sublimity that leaves her readers wondering what will become of poor, naïve Ruth. I think by using direct text Gaskell is trying to show the seriousness of Ruth’s improper behavior because during the mid-eighteenth century several women were becoming disgusted with the typical behavior of young women. I also believe that this novel reveals an unwanted, but fated end to the purity of womanhood while also representing the innate inferiority of the female sex to assert herself. By simply seeking an adventurous lifestyle, as opposed to the accepted norms of many wives’ monotonous schedules, teenage girls like Ruth were subjected to a ridiculous amount of cruel treatment by men via manipulation. In a lot of ways though, this idea of manliness as the dominant force in a hierarchal society of religiously judgmental people is nothing new; when was the last time you heard about someone being targeted by a religious organization for just affiliating with particular groups?



I can only hope that by reading literature such as Gaskell’s, and other writers like her, people will cease unfair conduct toward one another. But I realize this will most likely not happen any time soon, especially with how speed-oriented society is nowadays. Searching for answers is the last thing twenty-first people want to spend their time doing. Maybe the more people become educated the less our world will suffer from squalid personalities and unjust ideologies like classism or racism. Myself considered, I know that by continually challenging my beliefs and those around me, an eclectic mind frame will be the harvest of such tedious endeavors, and with that mentality I believe the world has a chance for survival.

Picturesque and Beauty


Picturesque seems to have multiple definitions. Gilpin refers to the term to mean more rugged and rough. More detail if you will. I feel there is much more to it. I do agree with Gilpin but I think beauty is involved with picturesque. It is not always but in this case it is. Beauty is more plain and simple but very nice in my opinion. This photo I have taken of a Gothic church that resembles 18th century architecture. The sky is beautiful, simple yet complete at the same time. The color of the sky has good contrast with the church. Darkness and light. This photo was taken in the evening so the sky shows that the sun was setting at the moment of time when I snapped this photograph. The picturesque can be also be seen in Watt’s painting of a dead nameless woman, and this portrait demonstrates the sublime many poverty-stricken people were experiencing. Looking even further the vague outline of an industrial civilization resonates with the powerful idea of changing beliefs and technologies.


“The Girl of the Period”

Women, as we advance through time, have gained a sense of independence and self-worth that was once restricted. We have earned the right to choose our attire, gain experience in the workforce, and speak as we desire. Today many choose to celebrate such liberties and equivocation, however, in the 1800’s there were some who saw such freedoms as a decline in womanhood and an act against God’s will. In the nineteenth century, Elizabeth Lynn Linton was a product of the idea that women should live a life of pure monotony and domestication. She believed the British nation that had once prided themselves on their modest, pure, and righteous women were rapidly spiraling downward by becoming a bold, fashionable “demi-monde” that was starting to gain popularity during her time. Such attitudes were considered acts against the nature in which God intended. During Linton’s time, women were changing into what many believed to be a tainted version of woman. Such an attention-seeking “Demi-monde” was described as unsuitable and undesirable for matronly affairs. Society in that time period saw the desire to grasp public attention through fashion and the visible display of beauty such as letting their hair be seen beyond the confides of their bonnets or wearing dresses below the shoulder blades, as suggestive towards partaking in the sins of the flesh. Many women who actually partook in such “sinful” actions were often cast out of society and even by their own flesh and blood.


The painting “The Outcast” represented above was created by Richard Redgrave in 1851 demonstrating a scene similar to bible stories such as the story of Abraham, Hagar, and Ishmael or of Christ and the woman taken in adultery. It was considered a sin to have a child out of wedlock in the nineteenth century and those who partook in such sins were cast out of their homes and sometimes from society altogether. This painting represents a time when women were abandoned with their children for disgracing their family name by going against the nature and rules of God. Women such as the one displayed above were cast out and seen as a disgrace to the society in which they lived.


In the painting “The Infidelity Discovered” by Augustus Leopold Egg, there lays a significant amount of symbolism that demonstrates the amount of ruin that occurs from the discovery of one woman’s infidelity. The apple on the floor stands as a type of religious symbolism that holds similarity to the story of Adam and Eve. The apple symbolizing the forbidden fruit of physical desire has been metaphorically eaten thus betraying her husband and God himself. As a result she is cast out of her home and away from her family, which represents and religious allusion to the Garden of Eden. The house of cards built by her children represents the broken home the woman has created.


Hogarth: Before and After

Before, a painting by William Hogarth depicts a woman resisting her sexual desires and her last minute attempts not to give into the man who awaits her. In the painting she is leaning away from from the man with a frazzled look on her face. The man on the other hand is pining for her love and affection while he stands close to her body, hoping to intrigue her imagination. In contrast to the first painting, After shows a scene of exhaustion. The sexual tension that was present in Before is no longer on the faces of either the man or woman. Their emotions are ones of satisfaction and relief. 

Hogarth had many strong beliefs and was a controversial artist in his time. He believed in the mockery of the English society of the 18th century and he missed no chance to quarrel with contemporaries. His beliefs got him in trouble with many people though he strongly stuck with his point of view in everyone of his pieces. They were always unusual depictions that were controversial with many English citizens. It is said that these paintings were made for a vicious nobleman and were intended to depict comical portrayals of sexual moods. Hogarth’s belief of sexual tension is shown in these two paintings.