Satire at its best, [Mr. Siegel said,] has three forms: satire of one person, as we find it in Sinclair Lewis's Babbitt; satire of a group like the Rotarians or the D.A.R. Gilbert and Sullivan in their operetta Patience were satirizing the aesthetic movement of the 1890's; and third, there is a satire of mankind in general. Here Swift's Gulliver's Travels is one of the best examples in literature. In all of these, Mr. Siegel went on, it can be seen that satire is always about pretense, about how persons will choose what is false in order that their vanity be undisturbed. We have a picture of ourselves which truth will destroy; and so to protect that picture of ourselves, we will accept what is untrue and unimportant. Satire changes a bad thing into a good thing, an untrue thing into a true thing. Satire makes us laugh to make the ugly more apparent.
Sunday, April 03, 2016
Thursday, November 13, 2014
Eli Siegel said, in a note to this 1926 poem in his first collection Hot Afternoons Have Been in Montana: Poems:
Annabel is a person; also a way of being. I found that feminine names could stand for, indeed, had to stand for, a way of the universe and a way of taking the universe: it all arises from the primitive and historical tendency to see femininity as logic and abstraction.Here's how the poem begins:
We shall have, Annabel,This Annabel IS a woman—and more. She is affected by, stirred by, the surrounding world—a world of evenings, trees, leaves falling to earth. And she becomes a quality of reality itself, and adjective describing what reality is and has: "it will be Annabel November." With so much more to say about this richly musical poem, I simply want others to know of it. You can read the whole of it on the Aesthetic Realism Online Library.
In November this,
With the changing of trees,
And the changing of skies,
And the changing of sun,
And the changing of all.
You will smile other, Annabel,
Feel other, Annabel,
Look on the past other, Annabel....
Wednesday, October 29, 2014
Still, the central question about teaching and learning must be asked—and answered—in order for education to succeed in the fullest sense: in order for students to love learning.
This will take place at an urgently needed seminar at the Aesthetic Realism Foundation in New York City on November 6: "The Aesthetic Realism Teaching Method Succeeds, & Answers the Question "Education—What For?" I'm proud to have used this exciting, practical method in my English classes for nearly 30 years, and I can say with confidence that it can change what goes on in every classroom for the good of students and teachers alike.
The announcement for the seminar begins:
AMERICA’S SCHOOLS are in tremendous turmoil, and in this desperately needed public seminar you will hear the solution. You’ll hear the convincing answers to questions which plague students and which teachers dread: “Why should I learn long division? What do I need history for?”—or earth science—or Shakespeare? Amidst new “standards” and relentless testing, a boy repeating 4th grade in the Bronx asks himself, “What’s the matter with me? Am I dumb? Will I ever be able to learn?” A frustrated 3rd grader asks her mother, “Am I learning math just to pass an exam?”
New York school teachers, using examples of actual classroom lessons, will show how the Aesthetic Realism Method enables young people to succeed—to learn with true pleasure, and also meet the feared “rigorous” academic standards with greater ease.
That is because Aesthetic Realism explains definitively the what for? of education, its purpose. "The purpose of education," Eli Siegel, the founder of Aesthetic Realism, explained, "is to like the world through knowing it." And he identified the greatest impediment to learning: contempt, "the addition to self through the lessening of something else."
This is the groundbreaking principle on which the Aesthetic Realism method is based: "The world, art, and self explain each other: each is the aesthetic oneness of opposites." At this event, NYC teachers will give examples from their classes of how lessons based on this principle make learning come alive!
To read the entire announcement, click here.
Wednesday, January 29, 2014
In her commentary introducing and placing the cultural value of this important essay, Aesthetic Realism Chairman of Education Ellen Reiss writes:
Here I quote, with enormous gratitude, something Mr. Siegel said in an Aesthetic Realism lesson many years ago. It is about a matter connected with the “everlasting dilemma of a girl”: it is about the opposites of body and intellect. He was speaking to a man I had to do with then, who was confused by both me and himself, as I was. Mr. Siegel said:
In the field of corporeal expression or enjoyment, or sex, we hope to be proud and pleased at once. Ellen Reiss hopes to be proud about her manner of taking earth—in the same way as she would take the page of a book. The difference between the two things is felt by man and woman: I’m a different person making love from him or her who goes after knowledge. Do you think if Ms. Reiss could solve this problem of somatic expression and cerebral expression, you could? Do you think, then, that the fate of man depends on the fate of woman?
Aesthetic Realism makes possible, for both man and woman, what has eluded people for centuries. It makes possible at last the proud feeling that what we’re after as body and how we use our intellect go together, are an integrity....
I want every woman, and every man hoping to understand women, to read this great issue of The Right of Aesthetic Realism to Be Known!
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
What is it people are really hoping for at this time of year? When someone speaks about this as a time for good will, what do they mean by that? Aesthetic Realism explains that good will is not the mushy thing people take it to be. It is, Eli Siegel showed, "the desire to have something else stronger and more beautiful, for this desire makes us stronger and more beautiful."
If you're planning to be in the NYC area on December 22, you can learn more about the meaning of good will at a special dramatic and musical event, including holiday songs, arias and choruses that have been loved by millions, a lecture on Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol," and more. Find out more here.
Sunday, October 27, 2013
They’re wonderful, of course. And their goodness has to do with the fact that through them, we can be better related to the outside world, less separate from it. To be able, at any moment, to text a person a thousand miles away makes a one of what’s close to us and what’s distant. That is related to romanticism, because one of the large, new things the romantic writers did was present what seemed strange and distant as also close to oneself, of oneself. Byron, for example, swept English readers by writing about his intimate personal turmoil and at the same time far-off places he was visiting: like Lake Geneva or the Roman Colosseum.And Ms. Reiss also explains that, in addition to people's using handheld devices to know the world better,
Those opposites, the close and distant, personal and vast, familiar and wondrous, are one in all art. They were joined in a bigger, fuller, more elemental, also wider way in romanticism. But it happens that they are in Twitter too. Through tweets we feel that words which have come close to us—we may see them on a device held in our intimate hand—are being seen by perhaps scores, hundreds, thousands of people we don’t know. And to be, along with many other people, the swift recipient of a tweet, and then retweet it, is to feel the world coming close to us and our going out to it.
We can use the smartphone or tablet we carry close to us to find out (for instance) the holdings of a library in Ankara, Turkey. As we do so, the intimate and distant, familiar and strange, are together...."
"they can also be a means of that entirely anti-art purpose: to grab the world through aspects of it; have people and things quickly, on one’s own terms. It’s good to get information speedily, and mobile devices can assist that. However, there is a huge tendency to think that what one can find out quickly is all one needs to know."Read the entire issue, which includes a portion of Eli Siegel's lecture Romanticism and Guilt.
Thursday, October 24, 2013
And she shows that even though they are not yet unionized, these workers are acting like a union—they show that many people work together to have each individual person get what he or she deserves. I love the commentary by Ms. Reiss. I'll write soon about the lecture by Eli Siegel that is being serialized in this journal, on a subject dear to my (English teacher's) heart: romanticism.
Read more here