chapter  9
7 Pages

Actual and Possible Misapprehensions

He begins by emphasizing the enormous output of energy which is devoted to Art in civilized countries. He then very rightly asserts that it is of great importance to know what this activity is about; and he devotes thirty pages to the various defi­ nitions which have been attempted of Art and Beauty. He con­ cludes, after ransacking the somewhat uncritical compilations { 4 9 }

of Schasler and Knight, that aesthetics have been hitherto an idle amalgam of reverie and phantasy, from which no definition o f Art emerges. Partly he traces this result to the use in aesthetics o f notions of beauty; partly to an anxiety in the critics to justify the existent forms of Art. They are, he insists, less concerned to discover what Art is, than to show that those things which are currently termed Art must in fact be Art. To these sections of What is Art? assent may be accorded. He then sets out his own definition.