What are the essential points made about judging literature and the importance or 'genius' or 'originality' in Immanuel Kant's Critique of Judgement?
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Kant breaks down judging beauty in literature and art into four different aspects. The first is the feeling of pleasure that results from viewing or reading a work of art or literature. This pleasure does not satisy a need or desire, but is merely elicited by the thing in itself. The second is the claim that others should also find it beautiful, in other words, a claim to its universality. It is important to note that one is not categorizing it by saying this in the same way that one categorizes colors, for example. It is simply saying that judging art or literature is saying that others ought to find it beautiful, as well. The third is that beauty need not presuppose utility. Finally, the fourth is the recognition that one's pleasure derives solely from one's relationship with the thing that elicited it, not from some rules or norms about art. Beauty, Kant argued, is not related to politics, nor was it related to some intelligent design. Rather, it is the product of genius, which creates beauty not by catering to some popular whim or taste, but by creating art that elicits the responses described above:
It cannot indicate scientifically how it brings about its product, but rather gives the rule as nature. Hence, where an author owes a product to his genius, he does not himself know how the ideas for it have entered into his head, nor has he it in his power to invent the like at pleasure, or methodically, and communicate the same to others in such precepts as would put them in a position to produce similar products.
Genius is, it seems, an inborn talent, a decidedly Romantic point of view. It cannot be gained through hard work or any other method, and it cannot be imitated.
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