The creative drive as the basic force of all literature and the involvement of this drive with the ways of life of periods and peoples demand a corresponding adjustment of our critical approach to literature. Normative poetics has become impossible through the realization that historical peculiarities have an autonomous existence and that artistic production is unpredictable. It would be absurd to derive certain formal rules from the works of a great poet, be it Homer or Sophocles, and set them up as a measure for the poetry of other nations and periods. It would be absurd for the reason that poetic fulfillment is not attained through the observance of abstracted norms but through the vital realization of an inner law.
This does not mean that a systematic and appraising comparison is impossible. To make it possible, however, it is necessary to penetrate to the deeper layers of poetic creation. A single work can never be a pattern applicable to all. But each truly poetic product can make its contribution to the field where the formative, creative forces are dominant. It is only from these forces and from their fundamental structural laws that general rules can be derived. Such