Current & recent issues of The Right of Aesthetic Realism to Be Known

Love, Art, & Cleverness

March 21, 2018

Issue #1975

We continue to serialize Poetry and Cleverness, by Eli Siegel, an important and wonderful lecture of 1949. Here too is an article by Lynette Abel, from a recent public seminar titled “How Can a Woman Be Sure of Herself in Life & Love?” Yes, Aesthetic Realism truly answers that question, which fact in itself is evidence for how needed Aesthetic Realism is.

And there is the subject of Mr. Siegel’s lecture. Aesthetic Realism explains the difference between cleverness that’s valuable, useful, charming, meaningful—and cleverness that is devious and hurtful. The first is impelled by respect for reality; the second by contempt. And in this section of his lecture, Mr. Siegel speaks about two kinds of good cleverness, one of which is larger and deeper....more

Cleverness, Beauty, & Contempt

March 7, 2018

Issue #1974

With this issue we begin to serialize Poetry and Cleverness, by Eli Siegel. This 1949 lecture is, as literary criticism, important, big, scholarly, humorous, deep. It is also about everyone’s life; it is needed by, and immensely kind to, every person.

What is cleverness? Why are people so taken by clever things? There is, for instance, the immortal cleverness of Sherlock Holmes as he finds clues in objects others overlooked, and thereby shows, with such grace, who committed that “unsolvable” crime. There is the physical and mental cleverness that thrills people watching acrobatic feats—as they see, perhaps, someone dangle upside down from a trapeze, then shape herself into a soaring bird on it.

In this talk, Mr. Siegel shows that cleverness affects people so much because it stands for something large in themselves and the world. And that Something is described in the central principle of Aesthetic Realism: “All beauty is a making one of opposites, and the making one of opposites is what we are going after in ourselves.” Cleverness of any kind, he explains, even the kind that cannot be called truly beautiful, always joins in some fashion the great opposites of Difficulty and Ease. “Somebody who is clever,” he says, “seems to be doing something that people would think hard, with ease.”...more

We Have to Learn What Expression Is

February 21, 2018

Issue #1973

Here is the conclusion of Eli Siegel’s 1949 lecture Poetry and Space. In the previous section he spoke, greatly and newly, about Walt Whitman—who, he said, “strangely enough, seems most to be the poet of space. ...He just couldn’t leave the subject alone.” While understanding and describing Whitman’s particular way of seeing the subject, Mr. Siegel is illustrating in this talk the meaning for all people of that tremendous thing, Space. He gives the following informal definition: “Anything seen as permitting motion without any interference at all could be seen as space.”

In the final section, Mr. Siegel comments on one more Whitman poem, and then speaks about something that could seem so very unlike Whitman, and so far away from him: a Japanese work of over a thousand years ago. ....more

Space, Walt Whitman, & Our Lives

February 7, 2018

Issue #1972

Here is part 4 of Poetry and Space, a beautiful, amazing, vivid, and very important lecture that Eli Siegel gave in 1949. “Anything,” he explained, “seen as permitting motion without any interference at all could be seen as space.” That description takes in all the various ways the word has been used and is central to the many feelings, good and bad, that people have about space. For instance, there is the feeling we have looking far out to the horizon. There is the assessing of whether a parking space is large enough for one’s car. There is the design question of how to fill that space on the wall, or on that web page. There is the use of the word to mean air, interval, vacancy, expanse—and more....more

The Right Of is edited by Ellen Reiss, Aesthetic Realism Chairman of Education, who is author of its commentaries.

The Right of Aesthetic Realism to Be Known online:

*Current Issues: The most recent issues in which Aesthetic Realism explains the news, happenings in people's lives, events in history, and some of the most moving works in literature.

*National Ethics: What honest criteria can we use to be good critics of ethics on the national and international levels? Aesthetic Realism looks at ethics as to loyalty, international affairs, & more.

*Literature / Poetry: Discussing many great works of poetry and prose. Criticism, wrote Eli Siegel compactly, is showing "a good thing as good, a bad thing as bad, and a middling thing as middling."

*Love: How Aesthetic Realism describes the purpose of love—"to like the world honestly through another person." Discussion of what interferes with having real love—today and in history.

*Racism—the Cause & Solution: The Aesthetic Realism understanding of contempt as the cause of racism, and the place of aesthetics in respecting, pleasurably, people different from oneself.

*The Economy: Why our economic system has failed to meet the needs of the American people, and the Aesthetic Realism understanding of good will as the basis for successful and fair economics

*Education: The success of the Aesthetic Realism Teaching Method in having students learn to read and write—learn science, social studies, art, every subject—and be kinder, less angry, less prejudiced.

*Eli Siegel Day in Baltimore: Talks given on August 16, 2002, Eli Siegel's Centenary, placing Mr. Siegel and Aesthetic Realism, his work, in terms of world culture and history.

*Art: "Aesthetic Realism sees the purpose of art as, from the beginning, the liking of the world more..."

*Archives: The rich education provided by Aesthetic Realism in issues of The Right of Aesthetic Realism to Be Known which are online.

Aesthetic Realism Foundation online

The most comprehensive source of information about Aesthetic Realism is the website of the Aesthetic Realism Foundation—and the sites connected to it, including this one. You can start, for instance, at the Foundation's home page. Then, go on to biographical information about Eli Siegel, who founded Aesthetic Realism in 1941. You will see how the education he began teaching in those years continues now in Aesthetic Realism consultations and in public dramatic presentations and seminars at the Aesthetic Realism Foundation—as well as in the Foundation's Outreach Programs for seniors, young people, libraries, teachers. Meanwhile in the schools of New York, the dramatically effective Aesthetic Realism Teaching Method has enabled students to learn, to love learning, and to pass standardized examinations for four decades. And artists since 1955 have exhibited at the Terrain Gallery for which many have written commentaries (including on their own works), based on the philosophic principles of Aesthetic Realism. You can read about Ellen Reiss, Aesthetic Realism Chairman of Education, online, as well as about every person on the faculty of the Foundation. As editor of TRO her commentaries are in every issue (see, e.g., "Nature, Romanticism, & Harry Potter"; "Clothing and Emotion"; and "Jobs, Discontent, and Beauty"). In the Aesthetic Realism Online Library, you'll find the largest single repository of reviews, articles in the press, lectures, poetry; and The Right of Aesthetic Realism to Be Known. In 2002, Eli Siegel' s centenary, the Governor of Maryland and the Mayor of Baltimore, the city where he grew up, wrote on the meaning to America of Aesthetic Realism and its founder. So did the former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, in the U.S. Congressional Record.

Selected Resources online

People in America's diverse professions—the humanities, the arts, education, the social sciences, medicine, labor—have written on the value of Aesthetic Realism. They describe the way Aesthetic Realism teaches people how to understand themselves more accurately; how the ability to be just to other people is enhanced; how one's professional attainments are augmented. Language arts teacher Leila Rosen, for example, writes on the Aesthetic Realism teaching method. Anthropologist Arnold Perey writes on the way Aesthetic Realism opposes prejudice and improves international understanding. And there are many others. Historically, new knowledge has often been met unjustly. This was true about the new, innovative thought of Louis Pasteur and John Keats, Beethoven and William Lloyd Garrison, Jonas Salk and Isaac Newton. And it has been true about Aesthetic Realism. Documenting and opposing this, the website "Friends of Aesthetic Realism — Countering the Lies," written by more than 60 individuals, refutes the falsehoods of the few persons who have attacked Aesthetic Realism and lets the facts speak for themselves. People who want to express their opinion of Aesthetic Realism, and have the knowledge to back it up, have created blogs and websites and have written numerous articles. See, for example, composer and educator Edward Green; essayist Lynette Abel; photographer Len Bernstein; teachers Ann Richards, Christopher Balchin, and Alan Shapiro. Others are listed in "What People Are Saying." The education of Aesthetic Realism enables a person to understand oneself more exactly than has been possible before, and to like the world honestly, authentically.

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