The troubles that beset the arts, though perhaps less amenable to diagnosis than those besetting the political and social order, may be thought relevant to the whole question of civilization. And their particular phenomena often seem to be melded with the attitudes one finds in those other fields.

Changes in art and cultural history have never been easy to assimilate to political or economic changes. But perhaps we have enough evidence to show that particular sub-ideologies, combined with or supported by a bureaucratic upsurge, have caused, or been associated with, what appear to be downhill trends. Different generations naturally engender different styles. No harm in that. Still, it can be argued that some fashions in the field are less troublesome than others.

In an analysis of this sort, one cannot exclude subjectivity. (And Wordsworth warned us against the “hope of reasoning [one] into...


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