In 1946, William K. Wimsatt and Monroe Beardsley published a classic and controversial New Critical essay entitled " The Intentional Fallacy ", in which they argued strongly against the relevance of an author's intention , or "intended meaning" in the analysis of a literary work. For Wimsatt and Beardsley, the words on the page were all that mattered; importation of meanings from outside the text was considered irrelevant, and potentially distracting.
I heard of the commission to do the tomb of Oscar Wilde the day after it had been announced at a dinner given to Robert Ross by his friends at the Ritz. I neither knew of this dinner nor of its being made the occasion for an announcement that I was to receive the commission . . The rumour was confirmed later in the day, and I believe the secrecy with regard to me can only be explained by the fact that other sculptors knew of the commission and expected it to be given them, and the trustee for the monument, Robert Ross, was too timid to let it be known that I would be offered the work for fear of what these sculptors might do to hinder the plan. (Epstein 51)
The jacket copy of The Last of the Nuba summarizes faithfully the main line of the self-vindication which Riefenstahl fabricated in the 1950s and which is most fully spelled out in the interview she gave to the prestigious French magazine Cahiers du Cinéma in September, 1965. There she denied that any of her work was propaganda, insisting it was cinema verité. “Not a single scene is staged,” Riefenstahl says of Triumph of the Will . “Everything is genuine. And there is no tendentious commentary for the simple reason that there is no commentary at all. It is history — pure history .”
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