Friday, July 26, 2013

The New Age, July 10 1913

Just going to jot down one cool thing in this one: Richmond Haigh, Beatrice Hastings's brother and fellow South African, contributed a piece on how racist British justice was destabilizing South Africa.  He claims that the British tendency to lock up native Africans for mostly-innocent misdemeanors criminalized and radicalized them once they spent time with hardened criminals.  Check it out: "What fools we are! I mutter.  What utter imbeciles!  And I mentally kick myself as being one of the white men of twentieth century civilization concerned in the deliberate manufacture of criminals."  The solution: instead of prosecuting people under a system of laws they didn't create, have never had explained to them, etc., Haigh proposes sending them back to their country homes, where they will be disciplined by their own people, and to ban them from returning to the city for two years (not sure about city people).  Things change slowly in the world. 

One other cool thing in this issue: instead of mooning about Italy, Aldington uses his column to discuss Florentine art.  His still-radical position is that the Byzantines had it right, while Renaissance realism was inherently flawed: "The Italians were like young children and could never have understood Byzantine art."  Or: "The student of the arts takes a macabre pleasure in observing the transition from a style of painting whose aim was to conventionalize beauty to one which is no more than a commonplace 'verisme.'  All this and more on page 296. Best Aldington piece thus far.

[Edit: I wonder how much Aldington's position owes to Roger Fry, who compared the Post-Impressionists to the Byzantines in 1910, in a March 1908 letter to the Burlington Magazine, for instance, reproduced in The Post-Impressionists in England. End edit.]

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