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This article is taken from PN Review 12, Volume 6 Number 4, March - April 1980.

On Creation and Discovery David J. Levy

CREATION AND DISCOVERY is the title of a volume of essays first published in 1955 and reissued as a paperback with a new preface eleven years later. The author, Eliseo Vivas, though born in Colombia of Venezuelan parents, has lived his adult life in the United States where he has made a deserved reputation as one of the most important aestheticians and moral philosophers in the continent through a long life of scholarship, writing and teaching. Apart from the cited volume his works include The Moral Life and the Ethical Life (1950), D. H. Lawrence; The Failure and Triumph of Art (1961), The Artistic Transaction (1963) and Contra Marcuse (1971). The field is broad but the work unified by a mind and a style clear and combative, unsparing of confusion and nonsense but essentially modest in its unwillingness to erect the intimations of truth into any dogmatic system. As Vivas's former student, the philosopher William Earle writes: "If there is an official chloroform given off by our academies, it is not to be found in the writings of Eliseo Vivas. They sting; they also celebrate. In a word, thought shapes a style. Santayana, also of Spanish heritage, wrote with style. Aside from doctrinal differences, Santayana and Vivas at least share that in common with Ortega and Unamuno: the thought bears upon the universal, but its manner of expression is personal and poetic. In a word, one encounters a whole man in their writings, not simply Bewusstsein überhaupt or a ...


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