So Where Are the Pundits?

“We need some Johnsonian or Ruskinian pundit to frighten everybody with near impossible conditions for true creativity. We have to stop thinking that what kindergarten children produce with pencil or watercolour, is anything more than charming or quaint. If you want to be considered a poet, you will have to show your mastery of the Petrachan sonnet form or the sestina. Your musical efforts must begin with well-formed fugues. There is no substitute for craft. There, I think, you may have the nub of the matter. Art begins with craft, and there is no art until craft has been mastered. You can’t create unless you’re willing to subordinate the creative impulse to the constriction of a form. But the learning of a craft takes time, and we all think we’re entitled to short cuts.”

— Anthony Burgess, “A Deadly Sin — Creativity for All,” from But Do Blondes Prefer Gentleman?

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