Rage of Caliban

Rage of Caliban
Salimis
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Posted Oct 25, 2005 - 1:16 PM:
Subject: Rage of Caliban
In the preface of "The Picture of Dorian Gray" by Oscar Wilde, an interesting thing was said. Something that I have been able to remember 2 years after I had read it. It was this: "The nineteenth century dislike of Realism is the rage of Caliban, seeing his own face in a glass. The nineteenth century dislike of Romanticism is the Rage of Caliban, not seeing his own face in a glass." Any thoughts? It does not only apply to the 19th century, as Romanticism and Realism still exist today? Was Wilde's an accurate statement. I would greatly appreciate the opinions of you all as I am on my own road to understanding this. Philosophy is one of few instances when sitting around talking does get things done. And I, being an inherently lazy social being, love it deeply because of that fact.
notquitethere
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Posted Oct 25, 2005 - 6:19 PM:

I assume that he is making a literary allusion to the Caliban in Shakespeare's The Tempest, as I know of no other Caliban that Oscar Wilde would make a reference to. Caliban was a savage who decieved himself into thinking two drunkards were noble beings, only to curse his foolishness at the end of the play. He was an 'odious' being with ideas above his station. So the dislike of Realism is that it sees itself as it is and it is ugly. In turn the dislike of Romanticism is that it refuses to see itself; it refuses to acknowledge it's own ugliness. You can change the word ugliness here for any of Caliban's qualities and the analogy still holds.
This is but my interpretation of it.
Salimis
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Posted Oct 25, 2005 - 6:30 PM:

Yes i did understand the allusion to caliban.
My question could have been clearer:
What I want to be discussed is, the rage against romanticism and realism in our modern day.

Edited by notquitethere on Nov 18, 2005 - 6:42 PM. Reason: removal of allusion to double post.
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Posted Oct 25, 2005 - 6:53 PM:
Subject: The Rage against Romanticism and Realism, with regards to literature
I'm sure you did understand who Caliban was, I was making the point clear for other forum readers.

The Rage against Romanticism and Realism

For clarification purposes (Taken from an online essay):

Romanticism was as an artistic movement that took place during the eighteenth century. Romantic writers had a very different style than the normal writers of the time. They stressed the examination of inner feelings, emotions, and use of imagination. They also stressedan accent on the mysterious, strange, and fantastic aspects of the human experience. The last element of Romanticism is an intense reverence for nature and concern with the experience of the individual over the universal. These are some of the elements of Romanticism. Unlike the Romantic writers, Realistic writers were interested in reaction, logic, and scientific observation. They tried to render reality closely and in comprehensive detail. One aspect of Realism that completely differs from Romanticism is that in Realism there are no characters that overcome insurmountable to be heroes and save the day.


Arguably it only makes sense to portray realistic accounts of physical behaviour, as any 'inner feeling' one might have can only make sense with regards to corresponding actions. So if one is trying to describe a lustful person, it doesn't make sense to try and portray this lust as an inner mental attribute: "Kathy felt intense desire for Patrick", as these inner attributes can only be understood with regards to physical displays of these attributes: "Kathy stroked Patrick's leg under the table". Without these physical displays we wouldn't know that, for example, Kathy was a lustful person. Except if the writer told us so, and in life there is no writer telling us stuff.

Of course, in the wrong hands this can make for boring, uninvolved literature which ignores the subjective feeling of what it is like to be human in different circumstances (qualia).

Edited by notquitethere on Nov 18, 2005 - 6:43 PM. Reason: Removal of allusion to double post.
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Posted Oct 25, 2005 - 7:15 PM:

notquitethere wrote:
You can change the word ugliness here for any of Caliban's qualities and the analogy still holds.


I've never read the play. Do you suppose you could describe Caliban's other qualities?

Personally I'm really torn between romanticism and realism. What's the middle ground?

salimis wrote:
"The nineteenth century dislike of Realism is the rage of Caliban, seeing his own face in a glass. The nineteenth century dislike of Romanticism is the Rage of Caliban, not seeing his own face in a glass."


How did Caliban express his rage?
Salimis
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Posted Oct 25, 2005 - 7:22 PM:

sorry for the ambiguity
I have a feeling that Wilde was merely being clever
a subforum might have to be started regarding the philosophy of shakespeare
notquitethere
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Posted Oct 25, 2005 - 7:34 PM:

Heh. Perhaps. I would happily contribute my views about the conflict of moral objectivity and subjectivity in Shakespeares work, in any debate.
I don't think Wilde would just be clever for the sake of being clever. nod As the Portrait of Dorian Gray was quite controversial at the time, I think what he was anticipating here was the attack his work would come under, and his response that he was portraying things as they were in Victorian society, rather than as Victoria would like it to be. I'm not sure, I'd have to read it in the context of the rest of the preface. Do you think Oscar Wilde was a Realist or a Romantic writer? Or neither?
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Posted Oct 25, 2005 - 8:44 PM:

Well, anyway... Yeah based off of notquitethere's descriptions of the two ideas I'd say of course they're ever present in modern thinking. Romance and Realism seem almost inescapable. As long as mankind feels the need to express emotion and heroism, there will always be the romance, and as long as there is reality to challenge the romantic there will be realism. But what I wanna know is it neccessary to side with one or the other? And how does these two ideas cause this rage?

For realism is the rage built up from the inability to coup with reality? For romanticism is the rage built up from the disillussion from reality? I mean if Caliban is in a rage over both results what other choice does he have but to be angry? He rages over disillussion, and he rages over the truth... Of course I could be misinterpreting something here... fill me in.
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Posted Oct 25, 2005 - 8:53 PM:

I think you've summed it up- Caliban is always in a constant rage!
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Posted Oct 25, 2005 - 8:57 PM:

But if that's true as long as soceity has the two ideals of realism and romanticism, isn't the rage within humanity inescapable? Or is there a happy medium? a balance?
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