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The Logic of Ecstasy

The Logic of Ecstasy: Canadian Mystical Painting, 1920-1940

Copyright Date: 1992
Pages: 217
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  • Book Info
    The Logic of Ecstasy
    Book Description:

    In focusing on those works, writings, as well as painting, which do reflect their fascination with spiritual issues, we are able to se how these artists tried, in very individual ways, to delineate their visions of eternal life.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-8166-8
    Subjects: Art & Art History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-xviii)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xix-2)
  5. CHAPTER ONE From Conventional Religion to Mysticism
    (pp. 3-41)

    Mysticism is a slippery concept. We all have a general idea what it means, but are hard put to define it precisely. Yet, whether we as individuals have had mystical experiences, believe in the possibility of such experiences, or relegate mysticism to the box of fantastical fabrications does not change the fact that Brooker, Carr, Harris, Macdonald, and Varley were all deeply interested in and more than a little influenced by mysticism. To understand their work we must understand the literature and art that influenced them; we must understand mysticism in Canada in the 1920s and 1930s.

    I want to...

  6. CHAPTER TWO Whitman and Transcendentalism
    (pp. 42-94)

    If Christianity was the point of departure in the mystical voyage undertaken by the five painters, transcendentalism was an important road that they all travelled individually. Through transcendental theories in general and those of Whitman in particular, Harris, Carr, Varley, Brooker, and Macdonald found support for their pantheism, their rejection of organized Christianity, their emphasis on the intuitive individual, and their generally optimistic outlook. The influence of Whitman and other transcendentalists on these painters seems considerable. However, since transcendentalism was a literary and religious movement, having virtually no pictorial form, its influences were of a philosophic rather than a visual...

    (pp. None)
  8. CHAPTER THREE Theosophy and the Fourth Dimension
    (pp. 95-161)

    Mysticism, at the heart of most known religions, provides a very broad basis from which to choose a religion. Bertram Brooker looked at this problem in his 1930 article inThe Canadian Forum.He concluded that the weaker mystic accepts the ‘paraphernalia of explanation’ or recognized religions, while the stronger mystic, such as Bucke or himself (by implication), attempts ‘to work out his own explanation in terms more natural to his own type of mind, feeling that the oriental element in most religions (including Christianity), with their metaphorical elaborations, is foreign to the forthright directness and “realism” which is increasingly...

  9. CHAPTER FOUR Nature, Space, and Movement
    (pp. 162-170)

    The five painters discussed here were discontented with a civilization alien to the spirit. Through their painting they sought to reconnect, to unify, the individual, the nation, the continent, and ultimately the universe to the One, to God. The means they employed were culled from nature and involved, beyond the representation of nature, space and movement. Their actual methods of procedure was as distinct as the individuals that practised them. Two of the five, Carr and Harris, progressed in a rather linear fashion, moving from the microcosm to the macrocosm. One, Brooker, was radically different, starting, as he explained it,...

  10. Notes
    (pp. 171-198)
  11. List of Illustrations
    (pp. 199-208)
  12. Photo credits
    (pp. 209-210)
  13. Index
    (pp. 211-217)