To the Reader

IT HAS never been my intention to write this book. For many years I have waited hopefully for someone else to write it--someone with more learning, authority, and literary competence than I have. This book, or a more judicious version of it, should have appeared a full generation ago, but we are still without it. The dictatorship of intellectual "modernism," the sanctimonious ministry of "the Tradition," the ugly programmatic quality of twentieth-century criticism have maimed our poetry and turned it into a monstrosity of literature. This criticism and the poetry it purveys have corrupted the curriculum of literature at every level in our schools and universities and have effected a complete blackout of public opinion in the art of poetry. An opposing voice will indeed seem quixotic; yet it may be the signal for a general assent.

These essays are addressed to the general public, to young poets and to teachers. The vast and well-organized army of critics will of course negate me; the intellectuals will drop their poses of serenity and hurry to defend their editorial castles. But poets, teachers, and public will, I hope, find comfort in these pages and once more take courage in the act of spontaneous

-ix-

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In Defense of Ignorance
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgments v
  • Contents vii
  • To the Reader ix
  • The Critic In Spite of Himself 3
  • T. S. Eliot: the Death Of Literary Judgment 35
  • Ezra Pound: the Scapegoat Of Modern Poetry 61
  • W. B. Yeats: Trial By Culture 87
  • The Retreat of W. H. Auden 115
  • William Carlos Williams: The True Contemporary 143
  • Dylan Thomas 171
  • The First White Aboriginal 187
  • The Jewish Writer In America 205
  • Poets and Psychologists 219
  • The Unemployed Magician 239
  • What is Not Poetry? 263
  • Poets of the Cosmic Consciousness 287
  • The Greatest Living Author 313
  • About the Author *
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