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Fiction, The Science of:
I. By Paul Bourget
III. By Thomas Hardy
Gladstone, Mr., Close at Hand. By Dr. Parker ...
the Right Hon. Sir Lyon Playfair, K.C.B., M.P....
Hallucinations, A Census of. By Professor Henry Sidgwick
Ideals of Art, The. By W. Holman Hunt
I. Art. By W. H. Mallock
II. Politics. By Charles Bradlaugh, M.P.
Labour Commission, The, and its Duties. By Tom Mann
James Bryce, M.P.
Manipur Disaster, The Outcome of the. By Sir Richard Temple, Bart., M.P. 412
332, 444, 499
Naval Defence Act, The. By the Right Hon. Lord Brassey, K.C.B.
“Our Neighbour.” By the Countess of Cork
Parisienne in Ireland, A. By Malle. de Bovet
Shakespeare's Ignorance? By Edmund O. von Lippmann (of Halle) ...
I. Art. By William Morris
By Lady Dilke
332, 444, 499
Verses on the Death of Richard Burton. By Algernon Charles Swinburne
Woman's Rose, The. By Olive Schreiner ...
OME people will perhaps not be prepared to hear that Social
ism has any ideal of art, for in the first place it is so obviously founded on the necessity for dealing with the bare economy of life that many, and even some Socialists, can see nothing save that economic basis; and moreover, many who might be disposed to admit the necessity of an economic change in the direction of Socialism believe quite sincerely that art is fostered by the inequalities of condition which it is the first business of Socialism to do away with, and indeed that it cannot exist without them. Nevertheless, in the teeth of these opinions I assert first that Socialism is an all-embracing theory of life, and that as it has an ethic and a religion of its own, so also it has an æsthetic: so that to every one who wishes to study Socialism duly it is necessary to look on it from the æsthetic point of view. And, secondly, I assert that inequality of condition, whatever may have been the case in former ages of the world, has now become incompatible with the existence of a healthy art.
But before I go further I must explain that I use the word art in a wider sense than is commonly used amongst us to-day ; for convenience sake, indeed, I will exclude all appeals to the intellect and emotions that are not addressed to the eyesight, though properly speaking, music and all literature that deals with style should be considered as portions of art; but I can exclude from consideration as a possible vehicle of art no production of man which can VOL. IV.-No. 20.
be looked at. And here at once becomes obvious the sundering of the ways between the Socialist and the commercial view of art. To the Socialist a house, a knife, a cup, a steam engine, or what not, anything, I repeat, that is made by man and has form, must either be a work of art or destructive to art. The Commercialist, on the other hand, divides "manufactured articles” into those which are prepensely works of art, and are offered for sale in the market as such, and those which have no pretence and could have no pretence to artistic qualities. The one side asserts indifference, the other denies it. The Commercialist sees that in the great mass of civilised human labour there is no pretence to art, and thinks that this is natural, inevitable, and on the whole desirable. The Socialist, on the contrary, sees in this obvious lack of art a disease peculiar to modern civilisation and hurtful to humanity; and furthermore believes it to be a disease which can be remedied.
This disease and injury to humanity, also, he thinks is no trilling matter, but a grievous deduction from the happiness of man; for he knows that the all-pervading art of which I have been speaking, and to the possibility of which the Commercialist is blind, is the expression of pleasure in the labour of production ; and that, since all persons who are not mere burdens on the community must produce, in some form or another, it follows that under our present system most honest men must lead unhappy lives, since their work, which is the most important part of their lives, is devoid of pleasure.
Or, to put it very bluntly and shortly, under the present state of society happiness is only possible to artists and thieves.
It will at once be seen from this statement how necessary it is for Socialists to consider the due relation of art to society ; for it is their aim to realise a reasonable, logical, and stable society; and of the two groups above-named it must be said that the artists (using the word in its present narrow meaning) are few, and are too busy over their special work (small blame to them) to pay much heed to public matters; and that the thieves (of all classes) form a disturbing element in society.
Now, the Socialist not only sees this disease in the body politic,