Home > 19th Century, EU Book Tour, Novel, Strindberg August, Swedish Literature > The artist according to Strindberg in The Red Room

The artist according to Strindberg in The Red Room

In The Red Room (one day, I’ll have time, alert and available neurons to write my billet about it)August Strindberg exposes his views on the artist as a character:

“‘I can analyse the much-talked-of artistic instinct because I was endowed with it myself. It rests on a broad base of longing for freedom, freedom from profitable labour; for this reason a German philosopher defined Beauty as the Unprofitable; as soon as a work of art is of practical use, betrays a purpose or a tendency its beauty vanishes. Further-more the instinct rests on pride; man wants to play God in art, not that he wants to create anything new–he can’t do that–but because he wants to improve, to arrange, to recreate. He does not begin by admiring his model, Nature, but by criticizing it. Everything is full of faults and he longs to correct them. “‘This pride, spurring a man on to never-ceasing effort, and the freedom from work–the curse of the fall–beget in the artist the illusion that he is standing above his fellow creatures; to a certain extent this is true, but unless he were constantly recalling this fact he would find himself out, that is to say find the unreal in his activity and the unjustifiable in his escape from the profitable. This constant need of appreciation of his unprofitable work makes him vain, restless, and often deeply unhappy; as soon as he comes to a clear understanding of himself he becomes unproductive and goes under, for only the religious mind can return to slavery after having once tasted freedom. “‘To differentiate between genius and talent, to look upon genius as a separate quality, is nonsense, and argues a faith in special manifestation. The great artist is endowed with a certain amount of ability to acquire some kind of technical skill. Without practice his ability dies. Somebody has said: genius is the infinite capacity for taking pains. This is, like so many other things, a half-truth. If culture be added–a rare thing because knowledge makes all things clear, and the cultured man therefore rarely becomes an artist–and a sound intellect, the result is genius, the natural product of a combination of favourable circumstances.

It seems a bit negative to me although I agree with the vision of art as the Unprofitable. That’s why it’s essential. It’s good the be reminded that everything doesn’t need to be profitable or provide return on investment.

See you soon with the full billet about this interesting Swedish novel.

  1. August 5, 2012 at 1:23 am

    I agree–rather negative, but then Strindberg isn’t exactly known for his ‘glass half full’ approach. Art can be profitable, though. Just think of Warhol’s piss paintings. Should they be worth more or less if Warhol used his own urine?

    Like

    • August 5, 2012 at 3:28 pm

      I heard the word “profitable” more in the sense of useful. Perhaps it’s because I’ve read the book and it fitted with the context.

      Like

  2. August 5, 2012 at 9:20 am

    I personally think this is a bit of a dated view. L’art pour l’art or so. I think art can be profitable in another sense. Not only related to financial gain but in the sense of serving a cause. Even entertainment is profitable. Would that mean art cannot be entertaining? I think the boundaries are not as strict.

    Like

    • August 5, 2012 at 3:34 pm

      It’s a bit dated, I agree. Very “poète maudit”, impressionists booed at the Salon, 1870s.
      For me art shouldn’t aim for profit but still brings a lot of non-monetary benefits to humanity. And sometimes it brings monetary If people are willing to pay a lot for a painting, I’m happy for the painter. But I still think a real artist will paint or write no matter what their work is worth on the market.

      Like

  1. No trackbacks yet.

I love to hear your thoughts, thanks for commenting. Comments in French are welcome

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Buried In Print

Cover myself with words

Bookish Beck

Read to live and live to read

Grab the Lapels

Reading Women Since 2013

Gallimaufry Book Studio

"I don’t write out of what I know; I write out of what I wonder. I think most artists create art in order to explore, not to give the answers. Poetry and art are not about answers to me; they are about questions." ―Lucille Clifton

Aux magiciens ès Lettres

Pour tout savoir des petits et grands secrets de la littérature

BookerTalk

Adventures in reading

The Pine-Scented Chronicles

Learn. Live. Love.

Contains Multitudes

A reading journal

Thoughts on Papyrus

Exploration of Literature, Cultures and Knowledge

His Futile Preoccupations .....

On a Swiftly Tilting Planet

Sylvie's World is a Library

Reading all you can is a way of life

JacquiWine's Journal

Mostly books, with a little wine writing on the side

An IC Engineer

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Pechorin's Journal

A literary blog

Somali Bookaholic

Discovering myself and the world through reading and writing

Australian Women Writers Challenge Blog

Supporting and promoting books by Australian women

Lizzy's Literary Life

Celebrating the pleasures of a 21st century bookworm

The Australian Legend

Australian Literature. The Independent Woman. The Lone Hand

Messenger's Booker (and more)

Primarily translated fiction and Australian poetry, with a dash of experimental & challenging writing thrown in

A Bag Full Of Stories

A Blog about Books and All Their Friends

By Hook Or By Book

Book Reviews, News, and Other Stuff

madame bibi lophile recommends

Reading: it's personal

The Untranslated

A blog about literature not yet available in English

Intermittencies of the Mind

An Unreliable Reader

Reading Matters

Book reviews of mainly modern & contemporary fiction

roughghosts

words, images and musings on life, literature and creative self expression

heavenali

Book reviews by someone who loves books ...

Dolce Bellezza

~for literary and translated literature

Cleopatra Loves Books

One reader's view

light up my mind

Diffuser * Partager * Remettre en cause * Progresser * Grandir

South of Paris books

Reviews of books read in French,English or even German

1streading's Blog

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Tredynas Days

A Literary Blog by Simon Lavery

Ripple Effects

Serenity is golden... But sometimes a few ripples are needed as proof of life.

Ms. Wordopolis Reads

Eclectic reader fond of crime novels

Time's Flow Stemmed

Wild reading . . .

A Little Blog of Books

Book reviews and other literary-related musings

BookManiac.fr

Lectures épicuriennes

Tony's Reading List

Too lazy to be a writer - Too egotistical to be quiet

Whispering Gums

Books, reading and anything else that comes to mind...with an Australian focus...on Ngunnawal Country

findingtimetowrite

Thinking, writing, thinking about writing...

Les livres que je lis

Je m'appelle Philippe et je lis des livres dans mon temps libre.

seraillon

The Girl With the TBR Tattoo

%d bloggers like this: