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    A difficult text

    My questions about the following paragraph are in blue (see the questions at the end of the paragraph) :

    Although art historians have spent decades demystifying van Gogh's legend, they have done little to diminish his vast popularity. Auction prices still soar, visitors still overpopulate van Gogh exhibitions, and The Starry Night remains ubiquitous on dormitory and kitchen walls. So complete is van Gogh's global apotheosis that Japanese tourists now make pilgrimages to Auvers to sprinkle their relatives' ashes on his grave. What accounts for the endless appeal of the van Gogh myth? It has at least two deep and powerful sources. At the most primitive level, it provides a satisfying and nearly universal revenge fantasy disguised as the story of heroic sacrifice to art. Anyone who has ever felt isolated and unappreciated can identify with van Gogh and hope not only for a spectacular redemption but also to put critics and doubting relatives to shame. At the same time, the myth offers an alluringly simplistic conception of great art as the product, not of particular historical circumstances and the artist's painstaking calculations, but of the naive and spontaneous outpourings of a mad, holy fool.

    1. Primitive in the sense that it appeals to human being's basic instinct rather than just basic. Am I right?
    2. "universal revenge fantasy" Can we paraphrase this as an everybody's fantasy in which people can imagine "revenge against.."? To me, "revenge" is very broad, not just to punish someone or to defeat someone to get even, but not to do any harm to anyone to mentally punish the enemy, right?
    3. Spectacular redemption seems to me to mean to get the reputation back. Spectacular means high degree of redemption, right?
    4. Alluringly simplistic conception: to me, the conception is alluring because of it's simplicity. It attracts people, because great art in this conception is so not complicated that you and me, even though never had a chance to study art, can do it or enjoy it, right? By the way, can someone make a clear distinction between simple and simplistic?
    5. Mad, holy fool: Is there an idiomatic aspect of this phrase? I googled it and found so many "holy fool"s.



  1. curmudgeon's Avatar
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    Re: A difficult text

    Yes you have understood this very well. I canot really expand on your comprehension. A mad holy fool is not a phrase I am familiar with but I would imagine it literally means a crazy, driven(devout) simpleton. A holy fool is someone who pretends they are stupid so I guess a mad holy fool is someone who pretends they are mad and stupid.Simple is as it says- uncultured or basic. Simplistic means in a simple way.

    Happy New Year!

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