Expression And Expressiveness In Art

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The concept of expression in the arts is Janus-faced. On the one hand expression is an author-centered notion: many Romantic poets, painters, and musicians thought of themselves as pouring our or ex-pressing their own emotions in their artworks. And on the other hand, expression is an audience-centered notion, the communication of what is expressed by an author to members of an audience. Typically the word “expression” is used for the author-centered aspect of expression as a whole, and the word “expressiveness” is used for the audience-centered aspect, and I shall keep to this usage. In this paper I shall argue that although expression is closely related to expressiveness, the two concepts are distinct and, in particular, expressiveness cannot be analyzed in terms of expression, as has been recently suggested by Stephen Davies and Jerrold Levinson. Nonetheless, the richest examples of expression in the arts involve both expression and expressiveness.
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Archival date: 2019-07-28
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