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All that has been hitherto established concerning the nature of imitation, as to what it is, and what it is not, what some would fain have it, and what it ought never to become, applies so suitably to illusion that any particular discussion on the notion of it, might almost have been dispensed with. Perhaps, too, it may be difficult to avoid the repetition of some of the preceding considerations.

The word illusion, however, exists, and it is not synonymous with imitation ; it certainly expresses a different idea as applied to our present subject. It is understood in several different ways. It is often proposed as the sole end of imitation and the works of art; and this has a tendency to diminish its true value. For supposing it well founded, it would still be necessary to be of one consent, as to the degree of illusion and the means of producing it. After what has

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been already elicited there can be no doubt but that a corrupt illusion, the offspring of ignorance and error, may exist. The word itself, expressing that effect or quality of imitation, might easily give occasion for mistake as to its signification ; and yet mayhap it contains the best explanation of the idea that should accompany it.

The word illusion certainly carries with it the idea that the resemblances due to imitation des ceive us.

This would seem to warrant the conclusion that as we are fond of illusion, we are pleased at being deceived. Yet the elementary theory of imitation has placed it beyond a doubt, that, if the object to be imitated and its image are such as to admit of their being confounded the one with the other, the resulting confusion, in that it deprives us of the consciousness of imitation, disannuls both the effect and the pleasure of it. Whence again we may infer that, not wishing to be deceived, we ought not to wish for illusion.co

Thus, on the one hand, deception would be the highest degree of imitation, and, on the other, its utter ruin. How are these contradictions to be reconciled ? How is such a problem to be solved? I have already shown how. The word itself gives the solution in the idea of deception that attaches to it. If there are two kinds of deception, then also are there two kinds of illusion, and thence a source of ambiguity.

We all indeed are aware of the twofold sense

jurisprudence itself teaches us to observe as to the word deceive, taken differently according as the person deceived is judged to have been himself in fault, or the victim of a direct and external agent. The first case is that of an improvident and unskilful man, be it in war, politics, or business, who falls into certain snares that are considered as merely allowable devices, and harmless cunning, not as violations of right, or treacherous plots.

This subject may be more clearly explained by the instance of a game at cards. Every one will grant that the stratagems of the game are allowable modes of deceiving. But there are also unlawful

means; as when the player cheats. In the first > case, where the deception takes place according

to the rules of the game, that is, within the limits of given conditions by which it is mutually agreed that each party be empowered to deceive, the error that might be avoided is deemed the fault of him who has suffered himself to be deceived. In the second case, that of cheating, the error is unavoidable, since it is the result of fraudulent means, which are contrary to the nature of the game, and form no part of it.

I apply this to illusion, considering it as a game of imitation, and we shall see that there may be error on one side without either fraud or deception on the other.

In fact, every art, or every mode of imitation > plays with us, if I may so speak, a sort of game,

having its rules and conditions which, if we would have them observed, we must ourselves submit to. In order that the game may be played, it is very necessary that the mind be attentive, and we shall find that what are termed the conventions of art are nothing more than the share of concession to which we bind ourselves, and in virtue of which, if art has no right to seek to deceive us, but after a certain manner, on a certain point, and by ! means agreed upon, neither must we require other effects than such as depend on those means, nor look at the forbidden point; in short, we must not look over our neighbour's cards.

Since this kind of game at deception by resemblance (that is, illusion) must, that it may take place, rest on certain artifices on the one hand, and certain concessions or compliances on the other, it is evident that two sorts of illusion may exist, the one deceiving in conformity to rules, the other disregarding them in order the better to deceive. But the first is plainly the only one that affords the mind true pleasure on this head, the pleasure of the game.

In fact, the means for deceiving which charac- ! terize legitimate illusion, are such that we are forewarned to be on our guard against them, and prevent a surprise. We are half in the secret; < and if the mind allows itself to be taken unawares, it hugs itself in its error, since, apprized of the snare, it might have avoided falling into it.

But the artifice by which deception is practised in unlawful illusion always misses its aim with respect to imitative pleasure. I would be understood to say that the more such illusion deceives, the less it pleases. If the imposture be unskilful, far from seducing, it disgusts; instead of attracting, it repels. If the fraud be completely hidden, if by stratagems alien to the game, the deception be entire, the mind, nothing conscious, can have no suspicion of its error nor of the means that contrived it. Illusion, to him who does not suspect any artifice, is as though it were not.

It is then important to the success of illusion that > its effect be not infallible, and cannot be complete.

Therefore is it of moment that every art should be exercised only in its own proper means, which means are always insufficient to substitute the idea of reality for that of the image. This is as much as to say that it is the office of all art to attempt to deceive us notwithstanding all the obstacles that appear to hinder us from being deceived. From the circumstance of the difficulty arises the pleasure derived from seeing it overcome, and such exactly is the cause of the pleasure that illusion affords.

But such is not the cause of that pleasure which the generality of persons require of the fine arts and of imitation. It is scarcely to be wondered at; for all are not alike capable of appreciating it. It will hold good as a general remark that,

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