19 October 2014

L'art pour l'art

Yesterday's readathon wound up being a total bust for me!  Like I noted, I basically doodled around all morning and didn't really get any reading done.  Then I had to go in to work.  I was scheduled to leave at 6...then someone called in sick and my manager asked if I wanted the hours.  I accepted.  By the time I got home and showered, it was going on 11:00.  I'm usually in bed on my way to sleep by that time, but I tried to give The Picture of Dorian Gray a shot.  Really I did.  I loved the book, but my eyes kept growing heavier and heavier, so I decided to just throw in the towel and get a good night's sleep.



I am glad I did because I woke up feeling rather refreshed today.  I had a nice coffee in bed and read Dorian Gray.  I think Oscar Wilde might be my spirit animal.  Seriously.  I absolutely fell in love with the preface to the novel.  It says so much that I agree with about art and books.  In case you aren't familiar, here is a great portion of the preface.  You can find the whole thing here.

Preface
The artist is the creator of beautiful things. To reveal art and conceal the artist is art's aim.
Those who find ugly meanings in beautiful things are corrupt without being charming. This is a fault.
Those who find beautiful meanings in beautiful things are the cultivated. For these there is hope. They are the elect to whom beautiful things mean only beauty.
There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. That is all.
The artist can express everything. Thought and language are to the artist instruments of an art.
Vice and virtue are to the artist materials for an art.
All art is at once surface and symbol. Those who go beneath the surface do so at their peril. Those who read the symbol do so at their peril.
It is the spectator, and not life, that art really mirrors. Diversity of opinion about a work of art shows that the work is new, complex, and vital. When critics disagree, the artist is in accord with himself. We can forgive a man for making a useful thing as long as he does not admire it. The only excuse for making a useless thing is that one admires it intensely.
All art is quite useless.
-- OSCAR WILDE

I love it!  I love the l'art pour l'art sentiment of the preface.  Some things exist only to be pretty and not to instruct.  Some things just exist.  Sometimes a blue door is just a blue door, that sort of thing.

My hope and dream for my day off is to read a good chunk of Dorian Gray.  Wilde fascinates me.  He is credited with so many fabulous sayings about art, beauty, and life.  I cannot wait to learn more about him through his work, through his letters, and through biographies.

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