POETRY AND PHILOSOPHY

We say, in a vague way, that Shakespeare, or Dante, or Lucretius, is a poet who thinks, and that Swinburne is a poet who does not think, even that Tennyson is a poet who does not think. But what we really mean is not a difference in quality of thought, but a difference in quality of emotion. The poet who "thinks" is merely the poet who can express the emotional equivalent of thought. But he is not necessarily interested in the thought itself. We talk as if thought was precise and emotion was vague. In reality there is precise emotion and there is vague emotion. To express precise emotion requires as great intellectual power as to express precise thought. But by "thinking" I mean something very different from anything that I find in Shakespeare. Champions of Shakespeare as a great philosopher, have a great deal to say about Shakespeare's power of thought, but they fail to show that he thought to any purpose; that he had any coherent view of life, or that he recommended any procedure to follow. "We possess a great deal of evidence", says Wyndham Lewis, "as to what Shakespeare thought of military glory and martial events." Do we? Or rather, did Shake

-35-

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Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Note 5
  • Select Bibliography Of Prose Writings 6
  • Contents 7
  • Part 1 - Literary Criticism 9
  • The Function of Criticism 11
  • Criticism 13
  • The Experience of Literature 17
  • Tradition 21
  • Tradition and the Individual Talent 23
  • Poetry and Philosophy 35
  • Romantic" and "Classic 40
  • Journalism and Literature 42
  • The Appreciation of Poetry 46
  • The Critic of Poetry 48
  • "Difficult" Poetry 50
  • Poetic Imagery 53
  • Metrical Innovation 54
  • Auditory Imagination 55
  • Part 2 - Dramatic Criticism 57
  • Poetic Drama 59
  • Greek Drama 61
  • The Pattern of Shakespeare 62
  • The Unity of Shakespeare 63
  • Ben Jonson 66
  • Middleton's "Changeling" 67
  • Part 3 - Individual Authors 69
  • Dissociation of Sensibility 71
  • Marvell 73
  • Blake 76
  • Coleridge 81
  • Wordsworth 83
  • Arnold 85
  • Walter Pater and "Marius The Epicurean" 88
  • Tennyson 93
  • Thomas Hardy 94
  • The Pensées of Pascal 96
  • Baudelaire 116
  • Part 4 - Religion and Society 127
  • Christianity and Society 129
  • Christian" or "Pagan 131
  • War 133
  • Private Religions 134
  • The Reformation of Society 135
  • The Strait Gate 137
  • A Christian Community 138
  • Society and the Arts 142
  • Religion and Literature 145
  • Church and State 147
  • Conformity to Nature 151
  • Modern Education 154
  • The Decay of the Music-Hall 157
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