Poetry and Morality: Studies on the Criticism of Matthew Arnold, T. S. Eliot, and F. R. Leavis

Poetry and Morality: Studies on the Criticism of Matthew Arnold, T. S. Eliot, and F. R. Leavis

Poetry and Morality: Studies on the Criticism of Matthew Arnold, T. S. Eliot, and F. R. Leavis

Poetry and Morality: Studies on the Criticism of Matthew Arnold, T. S. Eliot, and F. R. Leavis

Excerpt

Having watched the growth of this book from its beginnings, I am now happy to introduce it to the reading public as something worth most careful attention. I am not writing a publisher's blurb, but I can promise the prospective reader all sorts of good things: candour, lucidity, subtlety, insight, understanding, wisdom -- and all enlivened by the freshness of a mind that has not lost its bloom.

It might be thought that, after all the discussions about Poetry and Morality which have gone on for the last two thousand years and more, nothing much remained to be said on this topic. Indeed, when Mr Buckley first arrived in Cambridge from Australia a few years ago, full of his project, I hinted to him some such misgiving. But I very soon saw that it was groundless, and this, the finished book, will triumphantly prove the same thing to others.

Let no one be put off by the title; 'Poetry and Morality'. The reader will find here no jargon, no humbug, nothing weary, stale, flat or unprofitable; he will find no boring historical summaries, and still less will he find any vague uplift or pretentious theorising. All is fresh, first-hand and responsible: the work of a man who is himself a poet and a critic, and who cares intensely for both poetry and morality -- cares for them so much, indeed, that he sees with extreme clearness the complexities of their inter-connection.

Mr Buckley has wisely avoided the beaten track of the historian of critical ideas; we are spared the hackneyed themes of academic disputation (Plato, Artistotle, Sidney and the rest). Instead, he analyses and expounds some relevant writings of three modern critics (one dead and two living) whose contributions in this field have been especially important and influential: Matthew Arnold, T. S. Eliot and F. R. Leavis.

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