15 ago. 2007

"Meaningless words. In certain kinds of writing, particularly in art criticism and literary criticism, it is normal to come across long passages which are almost completely lacking in meaning. Words like romantic, plastic, values, human, dead, sentimental, natural, vitality, as used in art criticism, are strictly meaningless, in the sense that they not only do not point to any discoverable object, but are hardly ever expected to do so by the reader." --Orwell, "Politics and the English Language."

[Note Orwell's clumsy passive voice here; something he rails against elsewhere in the essay]

Is that really so? Or do those words have a "meaning" shared by others who speak the same code, but not by me? I've always been bothered by this in Art Catalogue writing, and even in the writing of artists themselves when they use that particular vocabulary. Words that seem to refer to a pre-existing debate whose terms I am not privy too. I can imagine someone coming along and correcting me, saying that this language is perfectly reasonable in its context, that it is indeed meaningful.

1 comentario:

Tony R dijo...

He also notes in the essay that these errors are so common, so prevalent, that he himself has committed several of them in that very essay.