A New Approach to Poetry

A New Approach to Poetry

A New Approach to Poetry

A New Approach to Poetry

Excerpt

Alfred North Whitehead, in his recent book, Science and the Modern World, has pointed out the basic difficulty of modern education. In his last chapter, "Requisites for Social Progress," he says that specialized knowledge and the professionalism that must inevitably develop to convey its discoveries to men leave the modern world "with no expansion of wisdom and with greater need of it." He goes on, "My own criticism of our traditional educational methods is that they are far too much occupied with intellectual analysis.... We neglect to strengthen habits of concrete appreciation of the individual facts in their full interplay of emergent values, and.... merely emphasize abstract formulations which ignore this aspect of the interplay of diverse values..... The general training should aim at eliciting our concrete apprehensions, and should satisfy the itch of youth to be doing something. There should be some analysis even here, but only just enough to illustrate the ways of thinking in diverse spheres. In the Garden of Eden Adam saw the animals before he named them: in the traditional system, children named the animals before they saw them." The last sentence calls to mind someone's remark about pedantic scholarship: "There is Heaven, and there are lectures about Heaven. The pedants read the lectures."

This volume tries to show that there is Heaven--a Heaven of poetry, at least. There can be no better explanation of the need for such a book at such a time than . . .

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