New Bearings in Esthetics and Art Criticism

A Study in Semantics and Evaluation

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"ARTISTIC TRUTH"                                         85
and are in consequence so unlike "reality/' that an insistence upon any correspondence between them and external actuality would seem singularly inappropriate. In short: although "imagination" plays a paramount role both in presenting "truth" as ontological revelation and in expressing artistic insights, there seems to be a notable difference between the two resultant qualities of experience: the truth as ontological revelation which the imagination or intuition presents must correspond with some kind of external realitywith "things as they are"; whereas any correspondence between external reality and the artistic insights expressed by the artistic imagination is, according to the theory I am advocating, an unessential or even irrelevant consideration.
Now acceptance or rejection of any linguistic distinction will mainly depend upon one's exact analysis of the qualities of experience involved; the solution to the verbal problem is dependent upon the solution to the real one. Thus Ransom and Auden, I should imaginejudging by their previously quoted insistence that the "beliefs" expressed by an artist must seem true to the critic if he is to understand and appreciate themwould reject the foregoing distinction between the qualities of experience truth as ontological revelation and artistic insights, and consequently would reject the linguistic distinction. If one accepts the distinction, however, truth as ontological revelation and artistic insights should be verbally dissociated, not identified. And they should be dissociated regardless of one's solutions to the two problems, earlier discussed, concerning the efficacy of defining artistic insight as "truth." Even if, that is to say, one emphatically believes that imaginative or intuitive knowledge should be called "truth"; and even if one rejects the suggested verbal distinction between "belief" and "truth" as a means of clarifying the difference between emotive and referential language; nonetheless the present distinction alone, if it is valid, between imaginative truth as ontological revelation and imaginative artistic in-