Thursday, February 23, 2012

Refreshing the Beautiful with the Grotesque

The modern muse . . . will realize that everything in creation is not humanly beautiful, that the ugly exists beside the beautiful, the unshapely beside the graceful, the grotesque on the reverse of the sublime. . . In the idea of men of modern times . . . the grotesque plays an enormous part. It is found everywhere; on the one hand it creates the abnormal and the horrible, on the other the comic and the burlesque. It fastens upon religion a thousand original superstitions, upon poetry a thousand picturesque fancies. . . How boldly it brings into relief all the strange forms which the preceding age had timidly wrapped in swaddling clothes! . . . We need a little rest from everything, even the beautiful. . . The grotesque seems to be a . . . starting-point whence one rises toward the beautiful with a fresher and keener perception. 
- Victor Hugo 

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