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Lesson Plans

Fwd: MEANING: intention?

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Sun, 7 Feb 1999 15:36:14 EST

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To: oxydol
Subject: Re: MEANING: intention?
Date: Sun, 7 Feb 1999 15:35:44 EST
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I studied both art and english in college and the issue of intentionality came
up repeatedly in literary discussion.

My own take on it is that what the artist intended cannot always be known and
cannot be rlied upon for interpretation. Also consider that the art (or poem
or novel or whatever) may communicate something other than what the artist
intended. Something that is not necessarily contradictory, but something
different. I always found that (for me) the criticism that worked the best
was always attempting to strike a balance between what the artist's
imagination, the sensibilities of the viewer, and the particular time and
place in which the art was made.

I don't think it is possible to look at a piece of art and instantly step into
it's meaning. For me, the fact that a piece of art or literature endures is
not due to the fact that its message is clear and timeless: it's that we are
still asking what it means.