The Heritage of Symbolism

The Heritage of Symbolism

The Heritage of Symbolism

The Heritage of Symbolism

Excerpt

Some years ago I wrote, for my own satisfaction, and with no real intention to publish, a series of essays on some poets whose work meant much to me. I have at times showed them to friends, who have pressed me to make a book. They tell me that there is a general interest in these poets and that some account of them is needed. I have therefore rewritten my chapters and tried to make them into a whole. In Chapters III and V I have included parts of two essays already published, and I am grateful to Messrs. Sidgwick and Jackson and Messrs. Faber and Faber for allowing me to do so. This book makes no claim to learning or to scholarship or to be anything more than an attempt at explanation and criticism. Although two of the poets with whom it deals were known to me, I have abstained from biographical details except where they seemed relevant to my argument. I can make no pretence to have a good knowledge of Russian or even of German, and I may well have made mistakes. For these I ask forgiveness. I have been quite inconsistent in my treatment of foreign languages. I have assumed that all my readers will know French, will be willing to attempt German with the help of translations, and will be content not to have original texts in Russian. I am most grateful to Professor Oliver Elton for his translations from the Russian, to Mr. J. B. Leishman for revised versions of Rilke, and to Mr. Cyril Scott for pieces of George from his forthcoming book. These admirable versions do far more than anything I can say to show the excellences of the originals. Where they are lacking, I have in desperation made translations of my own, but I hope that the originals will not be judged by them.

C. M. B.

OXFORD October 23, 1942 . . .

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