The Rules of Art: Genesis and Structure of the Literary Field (Meridian: Crossing Aesthetics)
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The literary universe as we know it today took shape in the nineteenth century as a space set apart from the approved academies of the state. No one could any longer dictate what ought to be written or decree the canons of good taste. Recognition and consecration were produced in and through the struggle in which writers, critics, and publishers confronted one another.
transmutation and can posit the autonomy of form over the subject, at the same time assigning to cultivated perception its fundamental norm. The second reason for the reflexive and critical return of art upon itself is the fact that the closing of the field of production creates the conditions for a circularity and an almost perfect reversibility of the relations of production and consumption. In becoming the principal object of the position-takings and contentions among producers, stylistic
Pleasure of the Text, trans. Richard Miller (New York: Hill and Wang, 1 975), p. 9. 133 The suspension of disbelief produced by the literary text relies, we shall see, on the agreement between the assumptions it makes and those that we make in ordinary experience of the world. 134 Conferring on Sentimental Education the status of 'sociological document', as has been done many times (see for example J. Y. Dangelzer, La Description du milietf dans Ie roman franfais (Paris, 1 939), or B. Slama, 'Une
which he is forcing on himself. 'What thIS book will be, I don't know; but I can say that it will be written.' The only assurance in the face of the unthinkable is the feeling of a tour de force conveyed by the experience of the immensity of the effort, corresponding to the extraordinary difficulty of the enterprise: 'I will have done true writing, which is rare.' 'True writing': for any mind structured according to the principles of vision and division shared by all those who get involve,d
best designed to produce the poetic effect of a debanalization of words and things, the ostranenie of the Russian Formalists, without drawing on techniques socially desig nated as 'poetic'. Every time one of these relatively autonomous universes is instituted - whether an artistic field, a scientific field or one or another of their specifications - the historical process that is established there plays the same role of abstractor of quintessence. In The Emergence of a Dualist Stru.cture 139
directly on the education system, even though they increasingly inveigh against it. The School occupies an homologous place to that of the Church which, according to Max Weber, must 'found and systematically delimit the new victorious doctrine and defend the old against prophetic attacks, establish what has and what does not have sacred value, and make it penetrate into the faith of the laity'. By means of the demarcation between what merits being transmitted and what does not, it reproduces