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Late Style and its DiscontentsEssays in art, literature, and music$
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Gordon McMullan and Sam Smiles

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198704621

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198704621.001.0001

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(p.235) Afterword
Late Style and its Discontents

Ben Hutchinson

Oxford University Press

Offering a brief summary of the main arguments of the volume, this Afterword argues that some artists are born late, some achieve lateness, and some have lateness thrust upon them. Malvolio’s categories offer an appropriate discursive structure precisely because the secret subtext of lateness is invariably greatness: late style is as much a critical construct as a creative achievement. After considering both the privileges and problems of late style as suggested by the various essays collected in the book, the Afterword reaches the conclusion that the aesthetic category amounts all too often to a psychological one: late style emerges as akin to a Rorschach test, where the observer sees what he or she wants to see in the inkblot.

Keywords:   late style, lateness, opsimath, epigone, German literature

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