Curb Your Enthusiasm: On Scarcity and Replenishment in Literature


In literature and the arts, scarcity has often been given a positive interpretation. It appears in the form of asceticism: something to be cherished not shunned, actively endorsed and idealized rather than dismissed as an obstacle to artistic success. Romantic notions of the “artist in the garret” living a life of poverty for art’s sake, or the idea that art is the product of genius, make rarity a source of value. In the abundance and oversaturation of modernity, minimalism in art has come to be seen as a virtue, what some have termed an “aesthetics of silence.”