Spring 1941 • Vol. III No. 2 The American Culture: A SymposiumMarch 2, 2024 |

The Arts

To speak on the future of anything whatsoever is to take on, not only the prerogatives of a prophet, but the risks. And the risk of a prophet is always that he may be dishonored by events. So many of the true prophets have seemed on their appearance to see not more, but less, than the public. Tiresias came before Oedipus blind, led by a boy, unable to see the steps before him. But what Tiresias could see, his great eyes opened on the night, was how the past impenetrated the present and the impulsion it gave. Seeing the direction of events, he could have foretold, had he been willing, their outcome. For what was about to be was implicit in what had been. The future of the arts in America is contained in their present. If it can be clearly seen, if it were possible to perceive what has brought us to the actual hour, we should know as much as it is necessary for us to know about the future. For not being professional prophets like Tiresias, not living, as he did, out of time, where

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