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By Benedetto Croce

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But the works adorned with this name (the _Secchia rapita_ and the _Scherno degli Dei_) were still-born, because their authors (a slight draw-back) had nothing new or original to say. Mediocrities racked their brains to invent, artificially, new styles. The _piscatorial_ eclogue was added to the _pastoral_, and then, finally, the _military_ eclogue. The _Aminta_ was bathed and became the _Alceo_. Finally, there have been historians of art and literature, so much fascinated with these ideas of classes, that they claimed to write the history, not of single and effective literary and artistic works, but of their classes, those empty phantoms.

_ Another corollary of the conception of expression as activity is the _indivisibility_ of the work of art. Every expression is a unique expression. Activity is a fusion of the impressions in an organic whole. A desire to express this has always prompted the affirmation that the world of art should have _unity_, or, what amounts to the same thing, _unity in variety_. Expression is a synthesis of the various, the multiple, in the one. , may seem to be an objection to this affirmation. But such division annihilates the work, as dividing the organism into heart, brain, nerves, muscles and so on, turns the living being into a corpse.

They have claimed to portray, not the evolution of the _artistic spirit_, but the _evolution of classes_. The philosophical condemnation of artistic and literary classes is found in the formulation and demonstration of what artistic activity has ever sought and good taste ever recognized. What is to be done if good taste and the real fact, put into formulas, sometimes assume the air of paradoxes? _ Now if we talk of tragedies, comedies, dramas, romances, pictures of everyday life, battle-pieces, landscapes, seascapes, poems, versicles, lyrics, and the like, if it be only with a view to be understood, and to draw attention in general and approximatively to certain groups of works, to which, for one reason or another, it is desired to draw attention, in that case, no scientific error has been committed.

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AESTHETIC AS SCIENCE OF EXPRESSION AND GENERAL LINGUISTIC by Benedetto Croce


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