As careful readers will notice and know, the phrase “ars gratia artis” while written in Latin was not, in fact, a model philosophy that Roman writers followed.  It was, in fact, the latinized motto for MGM pictures, the motion picture studio that dominated Hollywood in the ’30s and ’40s.

A actual idea of art for art’s sake being enough, that art needed not to exist for any reason other than TO exist is, of course, French, what else could it be?  The phrase “l’art pour l’art” was popularized in 19th century France.  It has been credited to a number of people, but most often to Theophile Gautier, although the idea behind the phrase pops up from time to time, place to place.

It perhaps originated in ancient Greece where, without saying so in so many words, the culture understood that art itself was sufficient and need not serve any purpose other than simple being.

And so, as I am trying to point out, writing at its highest form, at the point at which it is True Art, need do nothing more than mean.  It need not educate, elucidate, innovate or pontificate.  It needs to only communicate.

 

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