Re: RARA-AVIS: Public Acclain & "Masterpeices"/Street 8

From: Bob Toomey (
Date: 26 Apr 2000

Keith Alan Deutsch wrote:
> I couldn't disagree more vigorously with Anthony Dauer's equation that a
> "masterpeice" must have critical acclaim. It is unsound as logic, and as
> critical theory.
  Keith argues the point and then:
> And what is the value of Public acclaim in the standards by which we judge a
> work of art?

Leaving us where? If neither critical nor public acclaim count in identifying masterpieces, how is the determination made? I suppose historical critical and reader consensus -- those works which have stood the test of time and the slings and arrows of outrageous academics. Most can agree, for example, that at least one of Hammett's novels is a masterpiece, even if we can't decide which one. On the other hand, it may be a while before all of the votes come in on, say, Ross McDonald. Finally, words like "masterpiece" and "genius" and "brilliant" are tossed around like confetti these days, and mostly just litter the floor. I use them and abuse them myself, but I don't really take them seriously. It never occured to me that anybody would.


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