Herbert Read, fully Sir Herbert Edward Read

Herbert
Read, fully Sir Herbert Edward Read
1893
1968

English Poet, Critic, Anarchist, Critic of Literature and Art

Author Quotes

The point I am making is that in the more primitive forms of society the individual is merely a unit; in more developed forms of society he is an independent personality.

You might think that it would he the natural desire of every man to develop as an independent personality, but this does not seem to be true.

The principle of equity first came into evidence in Roman jurisprudence and was derived by analogy from the physical meaning of the word.

Sensibility... is a direct and particular reaction to the separate and individual nature of things. It begins and ends with the sensuous apprehension of colour, texture and formal relations; and if we strive to organize these elements, it is not with the idea of increasing the knowledge of the mind, but rather in order to intensify the pleasure of the senses.

The sense of historical continuity, and a feeling for philosophical rectitude cannot, however, be compromised.

Simile and Metaphor differ only in degree of stylistic refinement. The Simile, in which a comparison is made directly between two objects, belongs to an earlier stage of literary expression; it is the deliberate elaboration of a correspondence, often pursued for its own sake. But a Metaphor is the swift illumination of an equivalence. Two images, or an idea and an image, stand equal and opposite; clash together and respond significantly, surprising the reader with a sudden light.

The sensitive artist knows that a bitter wind is blowing.

Spontaneity is not enough – or, to be more exact, spontaneity is not possible until there is an unconscious coordination of form, space and vision.

The slave may be happy, but happiness is not enough.

That is why I believe that art is so much more significant than either economics or philosophy. It is the direct measure of man's spiritual vision.

The worth of a civilization or a culture is not valued in the terms of its material wealth or military power, but by the quality and achievements of its representative individuals - its philosophers, its poets and its artists.

The assumption is that the right kind of society is an organic being not merely analogous to an organic being, but actually a living structure with appetites and digestions, instincts and passions, intelligence and reason.

There are a few people, but a diminishing number, who still believe that Marxism, as an economic system, off era a coherent alternative to capitalism, and socialism has, indeed, triumphed in one country.

The characteristic political attitude of today is not one of positive belief, but of despair.

There is a current misconception which sees in Jung an early disciple of Freud who subsequently deserted his master. Nothing could be more misleading. From the very beginning there were differences of procedure and of outlook that were bound to lead to divergent results. Freud's work is based on a scientific method restricted to the principle of causality: that is to say, it is assumed that everything that happens has an explanation in prior causes, and is merely the result of those causes. The world is a mechanism that can be taken to pieces and we can only understand how it works if we know how to dismantle and reassemble its constituent parts. Jung does not deny this causal principle, but he says it is inadequate to explain all the facts. In his view, we live and work, day by day, according to the principle of directed aim or purpose, as well as by the principle of causality. We are drawn onwards and our actions are significant for a future we cannot foresee, and will only be explicable when the final effect of the impulse becomes evident. In other words, life has a meaning as well as an explanation; a meaning, moreover, that we can never finally discover, for it is being extended all the time by the process of evolution.

The classicist, and the naturalist who has much in common with him, refuse to see in the highest works of art anything but the exercise of judgment, sensibility, and skill. The romanticist cannot be satisfied with such a normal standard; for him art is essentially irrational – an experience beyond normality, sometimes destructive of normality, and at the very least evocative of that state of wonder which is the state of mind induced by the immediately inexplicable.

These groups within a society can he distinguished according as to whether, like an army or an orchestra, they function as a single body; or whether they are united merely to defend their common interests and otherwise function as separate individuals.

The depths modern art has been exploring are mysterious depths, full of strange fish...

This is the essential distinction--even opposition--between the painting and the film: the painting is composed subjectively, the film objectively. However highly we rate the function of the scenario writer--in actual practice it is rated very low--we must recognize that the film is not transposed directly and freely from the mind by means of a docile medium like paint, but must be cut piece-meal out of the lumbering material of the actual visible world.

The farther a society progresses, the more clearly the individual becomes the antithesis of the group.

To realize that new world we must prefer the values of freedom and equality above all other values - above personal wealth, technical power and nationalism.

The fundamental purpose of the artist is the same as that of a scientist: to state a fact.

We may be sure that out of the ruins of our capitalist civilization a new religion will emerge, just as Christianity emerged from the ruins of the Roman civilization.

The modern work of art, as I have said, is a symbol.

We must always distinguish two faculties in the life of man: intellect and sensibility. Intellect begins with the observation of nature, proceeds to memorize and classify the facts thus observed, and by logical deduction builds up that edifice of knowledge properly called science. Sensibility, on the other hand, is a direct and particular reaction to the separate and individual nature of things. It begins and ends with the sensuous apprehension of color, texture and formal relations; and if we strive to organize these elements, it is not with the idea of increasing the knowledge of the mind, but rather in order to intensify the pleasure of the senses. But admittedly we also know by feeling, and we can combine the two faculties, and present knowledge in the guise of art.

Author Picture
First Name
Herbert
Last Name
Read, fully Sir Herbert Edward Read
Birth Date
1893
Death Date
1968
Bio

English Poet, Critic, Anarchist, Critic of Literature and Art