Spring 1957 • Vol. XIX No. 2 Book ReviewsApril 1, 1957 |

Professional Aesthetics

M. H. Abrams PROFESSIONAL AESTHETICS THE ARTIST AS CREATOR: AN ESSAY OF HUMAN FREEDOM. By Milton C. Nahm. Johns Hopkins Press. $5.50. C RITICS have their metaphors, no less than the poets they criticize. Professor Nahm addresses himself to the metaphor we use in speak- ing of the artist as a creator, of the imagination as creative, and of the work of art as a creation. These terms suggest an underlying parallel between the process of the artist and God's activity in bringing the universe into being. "The great analogy" Nahm calls it, and the phrase is justified by the drastic changes it effected in traditional criticism when, in the course of the i8th Century, the possibilities of this theological parallel to art began to be intensively explored. The "creative imagination" replaced reasoll as the closest human equivalent to God's unique power; the artistic "creator" became the subject almost of idolatry; and, especially in German Romantic philosophy, aesthetic "creation" was put at

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