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If the new art is not accessible to everyone,which certainly seems to be the case, this implies that its impulses are not ofa generically human kind. It is an art not for people in general but for aspecial class who may not be better but who are evidently different.
Before we go further, one point must beclarified. What is it that the majority of people call aesthetic pleasure? Whathappens in their minds when they “like” a work of art; for example, a play? Theanswer is easy. They like a play when they become interested in the humandestinies that are represented, when the love and hatred, the joys and sorrowsof the dramatic personages so move them that they participate in it all asthough it were happening in real life.
And they call a work “good” if it succeeds increating the illusion necessary to make the imaginary personages appear likeliving persons. In poetry the majority of people seek the passion and pain ofthe human being behind the poet.
Paintings attract them if they find in themfigures of men or women it would be interesting to meet.
It thus appears that to the majority ofpeople aesthetic pleasure means a state of mind that is essentially indistinguishablefrom their ordinary behavior. It differs merely in accidental qualities, beingperhaps less utilitarian, more intense, and free from painful consequences. Butthe object toward which their attention and, consequently, all their othermental activities are directed is the same as in daily life: people and passions.When forced to consider artistic forms proper—for example, in some surrealisticor abstract art—most people will only tolerate them if they do not interferewith their perception of human forms and fates. As soon as purely aestheticelements predominate and the story of John and Susie grows elusive, most peoplefeel out of their depth and are at a loss as to what to make of the scene, thebook, or the painting. A work of art vanishes from sight for a beholder whoseeks in that work of art nothing but the moving fate of John and Susie or
Tristan and Isolde.
Unaccustomed to behaving in any mode exceptthe practical one in which feelings are aroused and emotional involvementensues, most people are unsure how to respond to a work that does not invitesentimental intervention.
Now this is a point that has to be madeperfectly clear. Neither grieving nor rejoicing at such human destinies as thosepresented by a work of art begins to define true artistic pleasure; indeed,preoccupation with the human content of the work is in principle incompatiblewith aesthetic enjoyment proper.
Q: The author’s attitude toward the majorityof people can best be described as
A. genuinely puzzled
B. aggressively hostile
C. solemnly respectful
D. generally indifferent
E. condescendingly tolerant
(2) (2005版本OG-P677-S8-Q11)A condolatory smile, capping this enumeration, materialized on his lips; theletter was so inconsonant with the simplest precepts of strategy that itelicited a kind of pity, mingled with contempt and dry amusement.
Q: In context, Mulcahy’s “Condolatory smile”is most probably an expression of both
A. cynical skepticism and comical self-pity
B. sincere compassion and whimsical delight
C. profound surprise and delightedappreciation
D. bitter disappointment and sly criticism
E. condescending sympathy and amused scorn
(3) (2005版OG-P873):(Lines12-14) They treat it condescendingly as a harmless but amusing example ofAmerican vulgarity—a kind of patriotic Disneyland。