For art, it isn’t St. Peter at the Pearly Gates; it’s Monsieur Posterity. It is an implicit belief of most artists (and probably most people who give it any thought) that posterity is the final judge, the one who will separate the wheat from the chaff, the enduring from the merely fashionable. It is certainly true that many spectacularly unsuccessful artists created works now so highly valued as to boggle the mind. There is no question that time, in its passing, discards the unimportant once considered so valuable and revalues what was once considered worthless. But time keeps passing, so posterity’s ‘final” judgements are never really final. It is like science in that its judgements are not writ in stone and are always tentative, but nevertheless are still the best possible, given our lack of omniscience. For both scientific theories and artistic judgments, the truism applies that “only time will tell”.
THE GRADUAL RECOGNITION OF GENIUS
A fascinating timeline of Shakespearean criticism describing a reputation that runs from contemporary Robert Greene’s description in 1592 of the Bard as “an upstart Crow… able to bombast out a blanke verse as the best of you” to Harold Bloom’s pronouncement four hundred years later that “He sets the standard and the limits of literature.
THE KING IS DEAD! LONG LIVE THE KING!
Seems true of Elvis. Also seems apt for the Beatles, living on in “Strawberry fields forever.”
ARE LITERARY PRIZES A LOSS FOR WORDS?
While referencing the Australian literary scene, many of the author’s observations apply universally, with many unfortunate parallels to the Canadian scene.