Neither Dream, Nor Fantasy, Nor Mystery

‘At bottom what is Greek art? It is realism of the beautiful, with nothing of the ideality preached by the art teachers of the institute. In Greek beauty there is neither dream, nor fantasy, nor mystery.’

Jules and Edmond de Goncourt, as quoted in French Folly in Maxims of Art, translated and edited by Henri Pène du Bois.

‘In ancient Greece there was no such thing as ‘conscience’, just the balance of body and intellect…I found the conclusion of my leanings toward classicism here. That’s to say, making a beautiful work and making yourself into something beautiful are discoveries of the same ethical principles.’

Yukio Mishima, as quoted in Yukio Mishima by David Flanagan.

‘What Mishima wanted from Greece was an antidote to his Romantic affliction. It was not only the reason, the rule and measure of classicism that he sought; he wanted physical and mental sunlight in place of darkness, radiant surfaces in place of deep interiors, a balance between the intelligence and the body uncompromised by the “spirit”, the conscience, the poetic imagination.’

John Nathan, Mishima: A Biography.

‘According to Maulnier, the truth of classical art and all great art in general for Nietzsche is that art is “a mode of expression different from life, more perfect than life whose awkwardness, insignificances, and stammerings it ignores. No one, perhaps, got closer to defining the lively value of classical discipline, which claims to make passion more ardent and more intelligible, not mutilate it or moderate it. A style of life, a classical style consists thus not in restraining life but in maintaining it, by a skilful and severe constraint, at  its height and at the point of its most expansive intensity. Such a constraint allows for a more exposed, more essential, more violent existence.”‘

Theirry Maulnier quoted by David Carrol in French Literary Fascism: Nationalism, Anti-Semitism, and the Ideology of Culture.

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