‘The More Serious Art that One Likes’

Rupert Richard Arrowsmith

in Modernism and the Museum

Published in print November 2010 | ISBN: 9780199593699
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191595684 | DOI:

Series: Oxford English Monographs

‘The More Serious Art that One Likes’

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This chapter shows that the development of T. E. Hulme's mature philosophy was highly dependent on alterations in the way he interpreted the art of various periods and cultures. His early fixation on the ideas of Henri Bergson is seen to go hand in hand with a belief that Renaissance painting, with its implied emphasis on progress, represented the highest form of visual culture. New evidence is presented showing that an encounter with Jacob Epstein's Tomb of Oscar Wilde, based on Assyrian and Egyptian aesthetics, was what suggested to him that stasis —both in art and in society —was an attractive and desirable attribute. Hulme saw Epstein's work as a positive reawakening in twentieth-century Europe of an attitude compatible with the hieratic modes of government he admired in certain Asian civilizations of the past, and proposed a new definition of the word ‘classical’ to reflect this attitude.

Keywords: T. E. Hulme; Jacob Epstein; classical; Henri Bergson; Charles Maurras; Action Francaise; Modernist sculpture; Assyrian art; Egypt; Oscar Wilde

Chapter.  6231 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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