My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Great book. I've been working on a movie review blog that comments on the moral value of movies, and Gardner's book has added a lot of value to my critical analysis process. The first part of the book was most valuable to what I needed, subtitled, "Premises on Art and Morality."
He says that all art should to some extent promote good. A few quotes from his book,
"If art destroys good, mistaking it for evil, then that art is false, an error; it requires denunciation."
"To Plato it seemed that if a poet showed a good man performing a bad act, the poet's effect was corruption of the audience's morals. Aristotle agreed with Plato's notion that some things are moral and others not; agreed, too, that art should be moral; and went on to correct Plato's error. It's the total effect of an action that's moral or immoral."
"True art...clarifies life, establishes models of human action, casts nets toward the future, carefully judges our right and wrong directions, celebrates and mourns. It does not rant. It does not sneer or giggle in the face of death, it invents prayers and weapons. It designs visions worth trying to make fact."
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