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A House of Pomegranates
by [?]

Properly speaking, they are no part of a real aesthetic impression at all, and the constant preoccupation with subject-matter that characterises nearly all our English art-criticism, is what makes our art- criticisms, especially as regards literature, so sterile, so profitless, so much beside the mark, and of such curiously little account.–I remain, Sir, your obedient servant, OSCAR WILDE.



(Pall Mall Gazette, December 11, 1891.)

To the Editor of the Pall Mall Gazette.

SIR,–I have just had sent to me from London a copy of the Pall Mall Gazette, containing a review of my book A House of Pomegranates. {1} The writer of this review makes a certain suggestion which I beg you will allow me to correct at once.

{1} November 30, 1891.

He starts by asking an extremely silly question, and that is, whether or not I have written this book for the purpose of giving pleasure to the British child. Having expressed grave doubts on this subject, a subject on which I cannot conceive any fairly educated person having any doubts at all, he proceeds, apparently quite seriously, to make the extremely limited vocabulary at the disposal of the British child the standard by which the prose of an artist is to be judged! Now, in building this House of Pomegranates, I had about as much intention of pleasing the British child as I had of pleasing the British public. Mamilius is as entirely delightful as Caliban is entirely detestable, but neither the standard of Mamilius nor the standard of Caliban is my standard. No artist recognises any standard of beauty but that which is suggested by his own temperament. The artist seeks to realise, in a certain material, his immaterial idea of beauty, and thus to transform an idea into an ideal. That is the way an artist makes things. That is why an artist makes things. The artist has no other object in making things. Does your reviewer imagine that Mr. Shannon, for instance, whose delicate and lovely illustrations he confesses himself quite unable to see, draws for the purpose of giving information to the blind?–I remain, Sir, your obedient servant,