Poetry & Myth

Poetry & Myth

Poetry & Myth

Poetry & Myth

Excerpt

In the following chapters my main object is to consider the proper reading and interpretation of poetry. Poetry is essentially the language of the imagination; it expresses the poet's imagination; and therefore if it is not read imaginatively it is not read in spirit and in truth. In our rational age such genuine reading is probably becoming rarer. Poetry in the true sense is obviously not something that can be fixed on a printed page and bound up into volumes; it is rather made up of the series of thoughts and feelings, induced by the printed symbols, succeeding each other in the reader's mind. The response to these symbols may not be poetical at all; it may be some quite rational construction in place of the series of images, spontaneously accompanied by appropriate thoughts and feelings, which the poet intended, and for which the symbols have at best served him as a very imperfect means of communication. Untutored and unsophisticated persons, though they may fall short of its full value, are often the most genuine readers of poetry, because like children they read spontaneously and naturally; while critics and professors of literature, with their intellects uppermost, sometimes never come to the true poetry at all.

Probably from the beginning--at least from the early time . . .

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