The Feeling State

What makes a great piece of literature or art? Is it technique? Is it the universality of the experiences it deals with? Is it its originality? More often than not: no. If one is asked why one considers something to be ‘great’, the response is almost always along the lines of: “It made me cry …” or “It’s exciting…” or “It gives me goose-bumps…” We see from this that it is the emotional content and feeling state within art that evokes our appreciation. Great literature and art makes us feel something.  From the point of structure or literary device, Spenser’s Faerie Queen may not be considered a ‘perfect’ piece of literature, but that is irrelevant…

 The epic poem creates a world of heroism and adversity in which high morality is pitched against extreme decadence and depravity. It is depicted with such startling vividness that one cannot help but weep for Timias’s loss of Belphebe, or blanch with horror when Malbecco casts himself from off the cliff and does not die, or roar for triumph when Arthur rescues the Redcrosse Knight. Similarly music that is perfectly technical inspires no emotional response from us, which is why a live performance is always more spectacular than listening to an electronic recording through speakers.

 I know that writing that moves me is often imperfect, rugged, and similarly my own work is not perfectly refined, but it does issue from the heart. Which, cliché though it is, is what truly can inspire. Tell me, what truly inspires you? What one piece of art, or music, or literature, or play, or even film causes you to be moved?

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4 thoughts on “The Feeling State

  1. Heeeeey villager, well I thought this was a very interesting philisophical outlook on any art and it’s clear that a good weekend gave you inspiration to write this (ignoring the fact you mentioned why you wrote it in Facebook). But maybe what makes a good piece of art is it’s dramatic effect on people, perhaps the thing that ignites pathos from the beginning, trying to relate any anyway a person can. For example, Muse’s ‘Space Dementia’, a relatively dark piece of music they produced (though the chorus may seem a slight anti-climax) which, quite rightly, uses many technical features such as arppeggios, crescendos and for some strange reason, a synth… manages to create a landscape. I think perspectives and life experiences define any art, not just in the way it’s created, but percieved, another example, Freud (I appreicate it’s not art hehe) created lots of theories of the conscious and subconcious, many people cannot relate to this, because it’s something that seems almost too farfetched to be a human process. Yet some individuals experience mean that the theory can actually be accepted, rather than analysed. So the question is, in a more philisophical manner, is there such thing as a good piece of art or is it a social norm?

    1. I’m delighted you commented Alex: a very articulate and well developed perspective. It is very true that our art is often shaped by our experiences and circumstance: would Milton have been able to write Paradise Lost in the 20th Century? obviously not. Would I have written Dark Age Heroes had I not immersed myself in classical literature?

      I totally agree with you, but would remark that interestingly it is often the case that the emotion that arises from these experiences is also the initiation of artistic creativity. A good example would be William Blake, a poet whose anger at the treatment of children and the corruption of organised bodies of religion sparked his powerful poetry. However, this gets down to a ‘chicken and egg’ debate.

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