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Antradale to Armenian Chessciama
THE PLEASURE OF IMITATION IS PROPORTIONATE TO THE DIS
TANCE WHICH, IN EVERY ART OR IMITATIVE MODE, AND IN
It has been before remarked, that the more there is in an art or its works to occasion pleasure to the senses, the less will there be to give pleasure to the mind; and it has been shown in the previous chapter, that the effect of illusion depending more especially on the moral power of imitation and on
our own co-operation, the mind is less active in proportion as imitation approaches more nearly to identity, and the image is limited to the repetition of reality.
The subsequent chapter will bring to the support of;this position a fact hitherto but little taken notice of, namely, the comparative scale of rank that general opinion assigns to the different arts, by
reason of the enjoyments they procure. But... however, the thing is of itself proved by the mere analysis of the manner in which the mind enjoys the works of imitation.
Two sorts of operations necessarily form part of
the kind of labour without which the mind, re-
The first of those operations (already spoken of
of a model and of an image. The judgment that the mind forms between those two things, results from the juxtaposition it brings them into the one with the other, and consequently from the act of comparing. Since the mind derives pleasure from imitation, proof is afforded that it delights in making comparisons. wok Annen
We have already seen that the mind finds noumo pleasure in that surreptitious imitation which, tons being no other than a repetition of the thing to be - Pily imitated, re-becomes, as it were, the thing itself and it appears to us that the true reason of that want of pleasure is the state of inactivity in which the mind continues, unmoved by every, so deemed, work of imitation which gives no exercise to the faculty of comparison. montre process
As a consequence of this observation, or rather indisputable fact, it must be true that every work of art, even without falling into material identity, but only conceived in its spirit, and executed in such a manner as not quite to reproduce the idea of the absolute reality of a particular model, presenting but few relations to be combined, and but
slight distances to be brought together, (will little exercise its faculty of comparing and procure the least possible amount of pleasure.
Since it is the having a great number of relations to combine, and appositions to effect, that gives the greatest activity to that faculty of the mind which enjoys resemblances by the comparisons it draws,* it is certain that it will receive the greatest amount of pleasure from that work or that kind of imitation which shall afford to the art and to the mind, fccasion to institute the greatest number of parallels and on points the most widely removed
That pleasure, or, if it be preferred, that labour of comparison, arises, in the enjoyment that every art furnishes to the mind, not only from the distance which separates the elements of the model from those of the image, but also from the multitude of appositions they involve. Now it is certain that in every imitative mode, according as either the matter of the image or the technical means of imitation partake more or less of the nature of the model, there will be a less or greater amount of diversities to embrace, of subjects for
* I beg to refer the reader, who may find any difficulty in the above, to what Locke says concerning comparison in book ii., chap. 25, of the “Essay Concerning Human Understanding." It is to designate that operation by which the mind brings together and sets by one another the things to be compared, that I have employed the word apposition.--Transl.
comparison or exercise, and consequently of pleasure for the mind.
The second operation that enters into its labours, as a principle of the pleasure it receives from imitation, is that, the secret of which has been already laid open in the preceding chapter on illusion. I speak of that action, so wholly peculiar to the imagination, in which, exalted by the perfection and beauty of the image, incomplete though its resemblance must necessarily be, (as previously shown,) the mind finds itself as it were compelled consummate the effect, either by supplying what imitation has been obliged to omit, or seconding, by a sympathetic admiration, the fictious power of the art, so that we become instruments for providing, at one time, thoughts to bodies, at another, a body and colour to what exists only in idea.
It is to this co-operation or to its effects that are applied all those metaphorical phrases serving to express the action by which we say we are raised beyond ourselves, transported into the presence of objects that have no existence, by which we assist at scenes that we do not see, turn around ! what is only on a flat surface, see what is motionless move, and in short, overleap on all sides the boundaries within which art has confined its image.
Those two operations which procure to the mind the true pleasure of imitation and also explain the cause of it, consist then on our side, the
one in bringing the image to, and setting it by its
immy ing to the definition we have already given of it. Wherever we find identity or its spirit, wherever the model and the image are of a nature to be
confounded, whether absolutely or from the effect
A proneness to seek in the extreme after an apCofpearance of reality, there the twofold action of
Ubringing together in order to compare, and of sup
plying, in order to consummate, either do not take
The investigation of the abstract nature of imi-