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# Shaw's defense of a theater of ideas brought him up against

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29 Aug 2016, 06:08
arirux92 wrote:
mojorising800 wrote:
8. The passage contains information that answers which of the following questions?
I. According to Shaw, what is the most important part of a work of art?
II. In Shaw’s view, what does the Hebrew Bible have in common with Don Giovanni?
III. According to the author, what was Shaw’s assessment of himself as a playwright?
(A) I only
(B) III only
(C) I and II only
(D) II and III only
(E) I, II, and III

Classic GMAT trap.
#1 rule of GMAT RC is avoid options that are too extreme unless specifically written in the passage.

The passage talks about Shaw's view of art, of the position of morality in art, so it must be very important to him. But is it written anywhere that it's the most important? No!

Always!! I can't stress this enough! Always avoid options with too strong keywords like : most important, not important at all, the highest, etc. Always leave some space for exceptions.

9. As it is revealed in the passage, the author’s attitude toward Shaw can best be described as
(A) condescending
(B) completely neutral
(C) approving
(D) envious

People here are confused between A and E. So Lets dissect.

Condescending implies superiority. A tone of arrogance. Looking down on somebody. But...

Shaw, whose essential modesty is as disarming as his pose of vanity is disconcerting,assigns to himself the role, not of the master, but of the pioneer, the role of a Marlowe rather than of a Shakespeare.

Shaw, who has the courage of his historicism, consistently withstands the view that moral problems do not change, and argues therefore that for us modern literature and music form a Bible surpassing in significance the Hebrew Bible.

Here the author is not looking down at Shaw. He approves of Shaw's stand on art. He says Shaw has the courage to stand for his point of view. You can't call someone a pioneer and look down upon them can you?

Hope it helped.

It's not extreme. It is written in passage itself that most important part of art is idea.

I think there's a typo here... it says ideas are a most important part of art. It should be either ideas are a very important part of art or ideas are the most important part of art. Looking at the answer, I am inclined towards the former.
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Re: Shaw's defense of a theater of ideas brought him up against  [#permalink]

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07 Sep 2016, 01:27
1
I got these wrong 4 ,7 ,8
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08 Sep 2016, 23:39
6. Which of the following does the author cite as a contradiction in Shaw?
(A) Whereas he pretended to be vain, he was actually modest.
(B) He questioned the significance of the Hebrew Bible, and yet he believed that a great artist could be motivated by religious zeal.
(C) Although he insisted that true art springs from moral passion, he rejected the notion that morals do not change.
(D) He considered himself to be the pioneer of a new philosophy, but he hoped his audiences would eventually adopt his point of view.
(E) On the one hand, he held that ideas are a most important part of a work of art; on the other hand, he believed that ideas go out of date.
[Obscure] Spoiler:
A

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28 May 2017, 01:45
Shouldn't the answer to question number 8 be E? I think 1 is true because of the following line:
"If, as Shaw holds, ideas are a most important part of a work of art"
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11 Jul 2017, 16:03
@
iamdp wrote:
Explanation for the following questions - 6, 7 & 8 ..?
: If you look at teh dictionary definition of "Conscending" => To put aside ones dignity or superiority voluntarily and assume equality with one regarded as inferior, does not look like the author is condescending. Also nothing in the passage indicates that the author is disapproving Shaw's ideas/thoughts. This led me to answer choice C. Hope this helps.
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24 Oct 2017, 01:16
arirux92 wrote:
mojorising800 wrote:
Shaw’s defense of a theater of ideas brought him up against both his great bugbears—commercialized art on the one hand and Art for Art’s Sake on the other. His teaching is that beauty is a by-product of other activity; that the artist writes out of moral passion (in forms varying from political conviction to religious zeal), not out of love of art; that the pursuit of art for its own sake is a form of self-indulgence as bad as any other sort of sensuality. In the end, the errors of “pure” art and of commercialized art are identical: they both appeal primarily to the senses. True art, on the other hand, is not merely a matter of pleasure. It may be unpleasant. A favorite Shavian metaphor for the function of the arts is that of tooth-pulling. Even if the patient is under laughing gas, the tooth is still pulled.

The history of aesthetics affords more examples of a didactic than of a hedonist view. But Shaw’s didacticism takes an unusual turn in its application to the history of arts. If, as Shaw holds, ideas are a most important part of a work of art, and if, as he also holds, ideas go out of date, it follows that even the best works of art go out of date in some important respects and that the generally held view that great works are in all respects eternal is not shared by Shaw. In the preface to Three Plays for Puritans, he maintains that renewal in the arts means renewal in philosophy, that the first great artist who comes along after a renewal gives to the new philosophy full and final form, that subsequent artists, though even more gifted, can do nothing but refine upon the master without matching him. Shaw, whose essential modesty is as disarming as his pose of vanity is disconcerting, assigns to himself the role, not of the master, but of the pioneer, the role of a Marlowe rather than of a Shakespeare. “The whirligig of time will soon bring my audiences to my own point of view,” he writes, “and then the next Shakespeare that comes along will turn these petty tentatives of mine into masterpieces final for their epoch.”

“Final for their epoch”—even Shakespearean masterpieces are not final beyond that. No one, says Shaw, will ever write a better tragedy than Lear or a better opera than Don Giovanni or a better music drama than Der Ring des Nibelungen; but just as essential to a play as this aesthetic merit is moral relevance which, if we take a naturalistic and historical view of morals, it loses, or partly loses, in time. Shaw, who has the courage of his historicism, consistently withstands the view that moral problems do not change, and argues therefore that for us modern literature and music form a Bible surpassing in significance the Hebrew Bible. That is Shaw’s anticipatory challenge to the neo-orthodoxy of today.
1. The primary purpose of the passage is to discuss
(A) the unorthodoxy of Shaw’s views on the Bible
(B) the aesthetic merit of Shaw’s plays
(C) Shaw’s theory of art
(D) Shavian examples of the theater of ideas
(E) Shaw’s naturalistic and historical view of morals

2. The author sets off the word “pure” (line 9) with quotation marks in order to
(A) contrast it with the word “true,” which appears later (line 10)
(B) suggest that, in this context, it is synonymous with “commercialized” (line 9)
(C) underscore its importance
(D) strip away its negative connotations
(E) emphasize its positive connotations

3. According to the author, Shaw compares art to tooth-pulling (lines 12-14) in order to show that
(A) the moral relevance of a work of art must be extracted from the epoch in which it was created
(B) true art is painful to the senses
(C) even the best works of art go out of date
(D) pleasure is not the sole purpose of art
(E) all art has a lasting effect on its audience

4. According to the author, Shaw’s didacticism was unusual in that it was characterized by
(A) idealism
(B) historicism
(C) hedonism
(D) moralism
(E) religious zeal

5. It can be inferred from the passage that Shaw would probably agree with all of the following statements about Shakespeare EXCEPT:
(A) He wrote out of a moral passion.
(B) All of his plays are out of date in some important respect.
(C) He was the most profound and original thinker of his epoch.
(D) He was a greater artist than Marlowe.
(E) His Lear gives full and final form to the philosophy of his age.

6. Which of the following does the author cite as a contradiction in Shaw?
(A) Whereas he pretended to be vain, he was actually modest.
(B) He questioned the significance of the Hebrew Bible, and yet he believed that a great artist could be motivated by religious zeal.
(C) Although he insisted that true art springs from moral passion, he rejected the notion that morals do not change.
(D) He considered himself to be the pioneer of a new philosophy, but he hoped his audiences would eventually adopt his point of view.
(E) On the one hand, he held that ideas are a most important part of a work of art; on the other hand, he believed that ideas go out of date.

7. The ideas attributed to Shaw in the passage suggest that he would most likely agree with which of the following statements?
(A) Every great poet digs down to a level where human nature is always and everywhere alike.
(B) A play cannot be comprehended fully without some knowledge and imaginative understanding of its context.
(C) A great music drama like Der Ring des Nibelungen springs from a love of beauty, not from a love of art.
(D) Morality is immutable; it is not something to be discussed and worked out.
(E) Don Giovanni is a masterpiece because it is as relevant today as it was when it was created.

8. The passage contains information that answers which of the following questions?
I. According to Shaw, what is the most important part of a work of art?
II. In Shaw’s view, what does the Hebrew Bible have in common with Don Giovanni?
III. According to the author, what was Shaw’s assessment of himself as a playwright?
(A) I only
(B) III only
(C) I and II only
(D) II and III only
(E) I, II, and III

9. As it is revealed in the passage, the author’s attitude toward Shaw can best be described as
(A) condescending
(B) completely neutral
(C) approving
(D) envious

Hi,

This may seem like a hard passage due to all the hard words in it, but if you slow down and read, you'll easily find the way. 9 Question implies that you have at least 9 X 1.5 = 13.5 minutes to create a map for it.

Since people are asking for 5,6,7,8,9 I will be focusing on only those, you can ask me if you have doubts on the ones before :

5. It can be inferred from the passage that Shaw would probably agree with all of the following statements about Shakespeare EXCEPT:
(A) He wrote out of a moral passion.
(B) All of his plays are out of date in some important respect.
(C) He was the most profound and original thinker of his epoch.
(D) He was a greater artist than Marlowe.
(E) His Lear gives full and final form to the philosophy of his age.

a) Shaw considers Shakespeare as a great artist. So hence his view points on Morality must apply.
b) As pointed in the last paragraph, all works of art are out of date.
c) Even though Shaw consideres Shakespeare's work of art as greatest, there's no explicit mention of thinker ( Let's hold on to this for the moment)
d) As mentioned, past artist are greater; present ones are pioneers. As the author compares in his notes.
e) Last paragraph. No one will write a tragedy better than Lear. Implies that Shaw considers this the ultimate form of art.

So out of these options, C is the least likely.

6. Which of the following does the author cite as a contradiction in Shaw?
(A) Whereas he pretended to be vain, he was actually modest.
(B) He questioned the significance of the Hebrew Bible, and yet he believed that a great artist could be motivated by religious zeal.
(C) Although he insisted that true art springs from moral passion, he rejected the notion that morals do not change.
(D) He considered himself to be the pioneer of a new philosophy, but he hoped his audiences would eventually adopt his point of view.
(E) On the one hand, he held that ideas are a most important part of a work of art; on the other hand, he believed that ideas go out of date.

Only C and E are mentioned in the passage. But if you read between the lines, in the last paragraph the author explains the theory that E is not contradictory. Difficult to comprehend, but not contradictory ( Since he provides an explanation for it)

7. The ideas attributed to Shaw in the passage suggest that he would most likely agree with which of the following statements?
(A) Every great poet digs down to a level where human nature is always and everywhere alike.
(B) A play cannot be comprehended fully without some knowledge and imaginative understanding of its context.
(C) A great music drama like Der Ring des Nibelungen springs from a love of beauty, not from a love of art.
(D) Morality is immutable; it is not something to be discussed and worked out.
(E) Don Giovanni is a masterpiece because it is as relevant today as it was when it was created.

As Shaw writes that ideas evolve with time, you can't grasp the idea behind an art without having the context behind the idea during the time the play was written.
Clear winner B

8.

8. The passage contains information that answers which of the following questions?
I. According to Shaw, what is the most important part of a work of art?
II. In Shaw’s view, what does the Hebrew Bible have in common with Don Giovanni?
III. According to the author, what was Shaw’s assessment of himself as a playwright?
(A) I only
(B) III only
(C) I and II only
(D) II and III only
(E) I, II, and III

Classic GMAT trap.
#1 rule of GMAT RC is avoid options that are too extreme unless specifically written in the passage.

The passage talks about Shaw's view of art, of the position of morality in art, so it must be very important to him. But is it written anywhere that it's the most important? No!

Always!! I can't stress this enough! Always avoid options with too strong keywords like : most important, not important at all, the highest, etc. Always leave some space for exceptions.

9. As it is revealed in the passage, the author’s attitude toward Shaw can best be described as
(A) condescending
(B) completely neutral
(C) approving
(D) envious
[/box_in][/box_out]

People here are confused between A and E. So Lets dissect.

Condescending implies superiority. A tone of arrogance. Looking down on somebody. But...

Shaw, whose essential modesty is as disarming as his pose of vanity is disconcerting,assigns to himself the role, not of the master, but of the pioneer, the role of a Marlowe rather than of a Shakespeare.

Shaw, who has the courage of his historicism, consistently withstands the view that moral problems do not change, and argues therefore that for us modern literature and music form a Bible surpassing in significance the Hebrew Bible.

Here the author is not looking down at Shaw. He approves of Shaw's stand on art. He says Shaw has the courage to stand for his point of view. You can't call someone a pioneer and look down upon them can you?

Hope it helped.[/quote]

From the passage
" ideas are a most important part of a work of art,"
So "I" should definitely be true.
The passage does talk about Shaw and and does mention that Shaw did write the preface to "Three plays for Puritans", however,
the passage doesn't mention if Shaw calling himself "a pioneer" is also applicable to Shaw as a playwright.
We can still infer the aforementioned information in which case I and III will be true, however, this choice isn't in the options provided.

The correct answer therefore should be A.
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04 Nov 2017, 00:08
16 min 58 secs.
got 5 wrong.
tough one.
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15 Nov 2017, 05:48
Hey this passage was difficult. Would appreciate an OE on this.
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18 Nov 2017, 05:41
It was the toughest topic I came across. Is it 750+ level ?
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Re: Shaw's defense of a theater of ideas brought him up against  [#permalink]

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06 Jan 2018, 01:33
gmatter0913 wrote:
Found this passage to be very tough.

Can somebody help me with question 4?

Quote:
4. According to the author, Shaw’s didacticism was unusual in that it was characterized by
(A) idealism
(B) historicism
(C) hedonism
(D) moralism
(E) religious zeal

In the last paragraph, it can be seen, the author is talking about Historicism view of Shaw.
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10 Mar 2018, 10:03
7
Some important takeaways from this passage (vocab and expressions)

1. Theater of ideas--> it simply means all the ideas of a particular type.

2. Bugbear --> a cause of obsessive fear , irritation or loathing ( I should face my bugbear of public speaking). simply put , it means fear.

3. Didactic-->intended to teach, instructive (A didactic novel)

4. Hedonistic --> pursuit of pleasure, self indulgence (Hedonistic existence of drink, drug and parties)

5. Disarming --> manner or effect of allaying suspicion or hostility, especially through charm. Simply put, to reduce hostility or suspicion using your charm.

6. Disconcerting --> causing one to feel unsettled (Tom's disconcerting habit of inviting people home, irked his wife).

7. Vanity---> a) pride, self admiration b) it also means the quality of being worthless, futile.(vanity of human wishes)

From the passage:
Shaw, whose essential modesty is as disarming as his pose of vanity is disconcerting. ( Shaw is so modest that he can allay hostility through his charm and at the same time, he pretends (pose) to show self admiration/love which unsettles people).

8. Whirlgig of time: A thing regarded as hectic or constantly changing ., like with changing time, things change.

9. Historicism: The theory that social and cultural phenomena are determined by history.

In the 1st para, it mentions, that Shaw's didactic and hedonistic style, and in the last para, it mentions he believes in historicism, so his didactic style follows the patterns of history.

10. Adulatory vs approving--> adulatory is excessive praise or admiring. Where as approving is mildly agreeing and not going over the board.
So author was approving of Shaw and not adulatory.
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28 Jul 2018, 06:57

It's not extreme. It is written in passage itself that most important part of art is idea.

I completely agree on this one. In question 8. the statement one has been mentioned explicitly in the passage as " Ideas are the most important part of art" & further it is said - since all ideas go out of date , all works of art too go out of date. Then how can the OA to q 8 be D? I was hoping for a I & III as OA & an option to choose from!

daagh hazelnut chetan2u abhimahna, experts, someone please guide here.

Thanks,
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28 Jul 2018, 12:15
A very tough passage. What should be the approach to solve passages like this one? I tried re-phrasing every passage, but was lost looking for details while solving question. Few days later, i tried again writing down details. Again, was running out of time. Clueless now what works for long passages. Can anyone describe her/his strategy? Big help it will be!
Re: Shaw's defense of a theater of ideas brought him up against &nbs [#permalink] 28 Jul 2018, 12:15

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