ABSTRACT

We cannot invoke a feeling to ‘explain’ genuineness or originality of style, since the qualities of style are our only criteria of qualities of feeling. If I am unable to see that a vulgar and sentimental piece of writing is vulgar and sentimental, and take it rather as expressing delicate and subtle emotion, my mistake is not in the nature of an incorrect inference. It would be better to say that my attitude is inappropriate, my response unintelligent. If I come to change my mind about the passage, this will not take the form of my deciding that, after all, this fine and delicate writing expresses vulgar and sentimental feelings, but that this is, after all, a vulgar and sentimental piece of writing. I come to ‘see’ that by comparing this with other pieces of writing, by looking at it more closely, learning to attach less value to certain emotions and more to others.