Poetic Unreason: And Other Studies

Poetic Unreason: And Other Studies

Poetic Unreason: And Other Studies

Poetic Unreason: And Other Studies

Excerpt

This book was first intended as a sober development of certain wayward notes on poetic psychology published three years ago in my On English Poetry; it was further to serve as a thesis for a B.Litt. degree at Oxford University, the subject offered being "The Illogical Element in English Poetry, with a study of its modification by Classical, and its exploitation by Romantic Writers." But the thesis outgrew its title and sobriety and since 1921 has been sitting on my shoulders like a Proteus constantly changing shape; I have cast and re-cast it nine times, and found necessary to write two other books before I could finally get rid of it.

One of these, Mock Beggar Hall, provides the poetic and philosophical background, and the other, The Meaning of Dreams, which should be read as an introduction to the present volume, is a simply-written study of the mechanism of imaginative psychology. The final chapter making the analogy between "inspired" poetry and fantastic dreams is a bridge between the two books and contains psychological studies of Coleridge's Kubla Khan, Keats' La Belle Dame sans Merci, and a short dramatic piece, The Gnat, chosen not for its poetic worth but because . . .

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