Title: Reason and Beauty in the Poetic Mind
Binding: Paper Back
Book Condition: New
Publisher: Wipf & Stock Publishers March 2008
1556355548 / 9781556355547
Seller ID: 96589
REASON AND BEAUTY IN THE POETIC MIND REASON AND BEAUTY IN THE POETIC MIND BY CHARLES WILLIAMS OXFORD AT THE CLARENDON 1933 PREFACE THE four corners of this book lie at the following points i the use of the word Reason by Words worth in the Prelude ii the abandonment of the in tellect by Keats in the Nightingale and the Urn iii the emphasis laid on Reason by Milton in Paradise Lost iv the schism in Reason studied by Shake speare in the tragedies. Add to these the four middle points of i the definition of Beauty by Marlowe in Tamburlaine ii the imagination jof it by Keats in the same two odes iii the identification of it with Reason in Paradise Lost iv the humanization of it in the women of Troilus and Othello and the later plays and the ground plan will be sufficiently marked. The studies are meant as literary, and not as either philosophical or aesthetic criticism. They do not attempt to consider what the poets ought to do, only what they have done, and that from the special point of view of their explicit use of those two words, or of their implicit attention to them. The book is therefore but an exploration of the content of certain places of poetry, in an order sug gested by the relative richness of that content. There are obviously many other places that might be con sidered, and the present way is open to the objection that it has been chosen to fit a predetermined pattern. Patterns are the bane, as they are the necessity, of criticism as of life they can be corrected only by destruction, and no doubt this pattern will soon enough be destroyed. But their creation and destruc tion is our only method and I am not conscious of having anywhere dishonestly forced an interpretation VIPREFACE or ingeniously sought for correspondences. At least this pattern does not go outside the verse it can there fore be considered and if desirable denied by any reader of the verse without expert biographical, his torical, or philosophical knowledge. After a small preliminary discussion the order of the chapters moves from the definitions of Words worth and Marlowe through the arguments of Pope, the allegories of Spenser, and the contemplation of Keats, to the division of reason in Shakespeare. The greater achievements of Milton and the later Shake speare suggest two hemispheres of imagination, and it is with the cartography of those two hemispheres, one inhabited by Reason, the other by Unreason, that the later chapters are concerned. That definition is theirs on their own showing it is Paradise Lost which pretends to deal with Reason, and Lear which pre tends to deal with Unreason. Even the strongest op position to the present pattern might admit so much. The relation between poetic experience and actual experience, which has divided some critics, has been no more than touched on. That relation is of high importance, yet it is obscure. We must not make poetry serve our morals, yet we must not consider it independent of ourmorals. It is not a spiritual guide, yet it possesses a reality which continually persuades us to repose upon it even in practical things of every day. We have only to enj oy it, but only in proportion as we enjoy it with our whole being can it be said of it that no man shall take its joy from us. But that dis cussion is beyond the purpose of the present book. C. W. CONTENTS I. THE OSTENTATION OF VERSE . . I II. THE ANALYSIS OF WILLIAM . . 17 III. C WHAT ISBEAUTY 30 iv. REASONING BUT TO ERR The Essay on Man . . . 37 V. THE EVASION OF IDENTITY i SpCHSCr 5 VI. THE EVASION OF IDENTITY 11 TheNig lt ingale and the Grecian Urn . . 63 vii. C A LADYS EYES .... 82 VIII. THE DEIFICATION OF REASON . . 9 1 IX. THE ABOLITION OF SIGNIFICANCE . .129 X. THE DISPERSAL OF MIST . . .169 I THE OSTENTATION OF VERSE i TIKE distinction between prose and verse has long JL been accepted the distinction between prose and poetry has often been discussed. The two lines of demarcation have not been allowed to coincide...