Reason in Madness: Critical Essays by Allen Tate

Reason in Madness: Critical Essays by Allen Tate

Reason in Madness: Critical Essays by Allen Tate

Reason in Madness: Critical Essays by Allen Tate

Excerpt

The essays collected here were written either for an occasion or upon assignment from an editor. Only one, Literature as Knowledge," has been written specially for this book. Every essayist--and I distinguish the essayist from the systematic literary critic--must be grateful to his editors, as I am grateful for suggestions that led to the writing of all but three of these essays.

The reader will expect to see here only the consistency of a point of view. I hope that he will not be disappointed if he does not find it. Yet I believe that all the essays are on one theme: a deep illness of the modern mind. I place it in the mind because that is the level at which I am interested in it. At any rate the mind is the dark center from which one may see coming the darkness gathering outside us. The late W. B. Yeats had for it a beautiful phrase, "the mad abstract dark," and we are all in it together.

Few of the questions which have agitated what used to be called the "press" in the five years since the first of the papers was written, appear in this book. There are war and democracy, which are only casually mentioned. Certain features of the present war may be unique in the history of war, and if they are they may also be a symptom of our . . .

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