Jesse Haynes: Huntly Gilbert’s “The Golden Age.”

I chose to look at the Huntly Carter article, “The Golden Age,” which was an attempt to define “Art” as a concept and even make a point about the dangers of it becoming too academic. Carter was a British journalist and critic of the performing and visual arts, particularly during World War One. While little is known about Carter’s personal life, we know that he received training in the medical field, but he worked predominantly as a journalist and theater critic (Source).

The paper is written in an interesting way, percolated with rhetorical questions throughout, and while Carter attempts to define Art, he is not overly exertive with his definition. He states “I would define it as an activity, which is called vibrative force. The beginning of Art is life; the end of Life is Art.” This is a very abstract definition, but he then goes on to explain how he views art as something of a web that is interwoven between all aspects of life, connecting everything and serving as something of an adhesive that makes the world go ‘round.

One word that stands out in the paper (I know this is beyond obvious, but hear me out) is Art. “Art” is always capitalized in the essay, and it is used as several different things: an idea, a hobby, a concept, a savior, and even a giver of life. Carter is not saying that art is for certain all of these things, but he poses many hypotheticals to build his argument about it – defining art and looking at what it is, and what it isn’t. This is very similar to how we discussed archives in class on Tuesday, September 22nd, going as far as to muse whether or not a chair was an archive. Being able to use the term “Art” so freely really allows for a greater argument, so that is most likely why Carter did this. Additionally, Carter’s use of first person pronouns stood out to me as well, because it seemed to help relate the reader directly to him.

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3 thoughts on “Jesse Haynes: Huntly Gilbert’s “The Golden Age.”

  1. I also found particular interest in this article as well, and also picked up on the word “Art” as it is used throughout. I also found it highly interesting that it is used to encompass so much within the article, as well as his views on the subject. I didn’t quite pick up on the first person pronouns, until I reread it with your thought in mind, and it really does make a lot of sense. It adds another whole level of insight into him, even though the words themselves take away a sense of uniqueness. I totally think you “hit the nail on the head” for sure on this one, because I know I couldn’t have said it any better myself.

  2. Jesse, be sure to check the publication date (in this case, June 15, 1913) before making historical claims such as this piece forms “a critique of theater during the First World War.” But let’s try to work with this a little: what was it about the piece that make you take it as a comment on WWI? There could be something interesting to draw out of the mistake.

  3. Prof. Drouin,

    Sorry! My mistake. While researching Huntly Gilbert I read a lot about (well, there wasn’t THAT much about him out there) his WWI critique. I don’t know why, but for some reason when I was writing the post I had it in my head that the piece was from 1918 instead of 1913, so that is why I was thinking the Great War. I even looked at the publication date first think (that is my habit), but for some reason I got my dates mixed up. That being said, this piece was about the art itself instead of WWI (obviously because the war was yet to arrive,) and it was this study of art that probably led to his delving into the theatre, since that can be such a very wide variety of “arts” rolled into one. Sorry about this mistake! I hope the rest of my commentary on “Art” in this piece holds true. Thanks for the correction! I will adjust my post so that it will be accurate.

    – Jesse Haynes

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