Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Etruscan Forgery - The Style of Your Own Time is Always Invisible

The story of the Etruscan forgery,

"Hugh liked to tell the story of a statue that had been exposed as a forgery. In the nineteenth century, it had been passed off as an ancient Etruscan sculpture; but in the twentieth century a sharp critic had detected its recent origin. How? The forger had endowed it with the ancient Etruscan mannerisms he could see; but also, unconsciously, with the nineteenth-century mannerisms he couldn’t see. His contemporaries couldn’t see them either, so for a while the counterfeit succeeded. But as fashions changed, those nineteenth-century mannerisms 'rose to visibility.'

As Kenner put it, 'The style of your own time is always invisible.' This was a favorite moral of his. You have to be alert for the unconscious assumptions you share with your own era. Conservatives and radicals, thinking themselves opposites, may actually share the same prejudices without being aware of them."

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