|Rift (2005) © Mary Snyder Behrens|
Carl Van Doren Three Worlds. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1936, p. 110 (this reads like a concise restatement of the rationale of the Aesthetic Movement).—
Odysseus is not good: he is adulterous and crafty; Faust is not good: he sells his soul for the sake of forbidden power; Gargantua is not good: he buffets and tumbles the decencies in all directions; Henry V is not good: he wastes his youth and wages unjust war; Huckleberry Finn is not good: he is a thief and a liar. The heroes, the demigods, the gods themselves occasionally step aside from the paths into which men counsel one another; there are at least as many stories about gorgeous courtesans as about faithful wives. It is not the "goodness" of all such literature but the vividness that gives it perennial impact. Better a lively rogue than a deadly saint.