If there is one lesson to be learned as a result of studying the works of Oscar Wilde, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Edward Said this semester, it is that to be an intellectual you must separate yourself from the “world we live in…[that’s] pacified by consumption” (Ryan 117). We must negate and refuse participation in commodity culture; become unattached and unbiased – create an individualized meaning of ourselves and articulate our beliefs. (Ryan 117). We began this semester with the critical lens originally directed at the aesthetic realm of literature – formalism. It has since shifted to encompass the realms of politics, discourses of race and global citizenship, and issues of society and gender roles. For me, this shift is celebrated. It has brought a large amount of knowledge and concern toward speaking up and using literature to do so. Nevertheless it still places importance on the aesthetic form of literature, where it initially began. As a result of this movement and the arguments articulated by Wilde, Emerson, and Said, in relation to the critic’s role as an intellectual, I have established my position: the critic is an artist with social responsibilities, a critic is an intellectual.In Oscar Wilde’s The Critic as Artist, he argues that “criticism demands infinitely more cultivation than creation does,” insisting that to construct meaning out of a pre-existing piece of work, by means of criticism, requires more creativity than the initial creation demands (Wilde). I stand to agree with Wilde’s argument thought not entirely. I do believe, an artist provides creativity when fashioning a piece of work; however, it requires a lot more from an intellectual like an artist to take that piece and make more of it by means of criti…
…r own way reached out to the public and expressed their arguments of how not only intellectuals should be, but we as a body of people should be. As Said put it, an intellectual’s “raison d’etres” is to personify the public and its subjects that are so habitually ignored nad put out of sight (Said 11).
Emerson, Ralph Waldo. Essays: First Series. Project Gutenberg, 2010. iBook.Emerson, Ralph Waldo. Essays: Second Series. Project Gutenberg, 2010. iBook.Ryan, Michael. Literary Theory: a Practical Introduction. Malden, MA: Blackwell Pub., 2007. Print.Said, Edward W. Representations of the Intellectual. New York: Vintage, 1996. Print.Wilde, Oscar. “The Critic As Artist by Oscar Wilde.” The Literature Network: Online Classic Literature, Poems, and Quotes. Essays & Summaries. Web. 02 Dec. 2011. .