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A study of poetry.doc.doc

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A study of poetry.doc.doc

TitleAStudyofPoetryAuthorBlissPerryReleaseDateJune,2005EBook8221Yes,wearemorethanoneyearaheadofscheduleThisfilewasfirstpostedonJuly3,2003Edition10LanguageEnglishCharactersetencodingASCIISTARTOFTHEPROJECTGUTENBERGEBOOKASTUDYOFPOETRYProducedbyEricEldred,CharlesBidwellandtheOnlineDistributedProofreadingTeamASTUDYOFPOETRYbyBLISSPERRY_ProfessorofEnglishLiteratureinHarvardUniversity_AuthorofASTUDYOFPROSEFICTION,WALTWHITMAN,THEAMERICANMIND,etc.TOM.S.P.PREFACEThemethodofstudyingpoetrywhichIhavefollowedinthisbookwassketchedsomeyearsagoinmychapteronPoetryin_CounselUpontheReadingofBooks_.Myconfidencethatthegeneticmethodisthenaturalwayofapproachingthesubjecthasbeensharedbymanyloversofpoetry.Ihope,however,thatIhavenotallowedmyinsistenceuponthethreefoldprocessofimpression,transformingimagination,andexpressiontohardenintoasetformula.Formulashaveacertaindangeroususefulnessforcriticsandteachers,buttheyareaverysmallpartofonestrainingintheappreciationofpoetry.Ihaveallottedlittleornospacetothespecificdiscussionofepicanddrama,asthesetypesareadequatelytreatedinmanybooks.Ourowngenerationispeculiarlyattractedbyvariousformsofthelyric,andinPartTwoIhavedevotedespecialattentiontothatfield.WhileIhopethatthebookmayattractthetraditionalgeneralreader,Ihavealsotriedtoarrangeitinsuchafashionthatitmaybeutilizedintheclassroom.Ihavethereforeventured,intheNotesandIllustrationsandAppendix,tosuggestsomemethodsandmaterialfortheuseofstudents.IwishtoexpressmyobligationstoProfessorR.M.Alden,whose_IntroductiontoPoetry_and_EnglishVerse_IhaveusedinmyownHarvardcoursesinpoetry.HisviewsofmetrehaveprobablyinfluencedmineevenmorethanIamaware.Thelastdecade,whichhaswitnessedsuchanextraordinaryrevivalofinterestinpoetry,hasproducedmanyvaluablecontributionstopoetictheory.IhavefoundProfessorFairchilds_MakingofPoetry_particularlysuggestive.Attentioniscalled,intheNotesandBibliography,tomanyotherrecentbooksonthesubject.ProfessorsA.S.CookofYaleandF.B.SnyderofNorthwesternUniversityhavebeenkindenoughtoreadinmanuscriptcertainchaptersofthisbook,andDr.P.F.BaumofHarvardhasassistedmemostcourteously.Iamindebtedtoseveralfellowwritersfortheirconsenttotheuseofextractsfromtheirbooks,particularlytoBranderMatthewsforapassagefrom_TheseManyYears_andtoHenryOsbornTaylorforapassagefromhis_ClassicalHeritageoftheMiddleAges_.Iwishalsotothankthepublisherswhohavegenerouslyallowedmetousebriefquotationsfromcopyrightedbooks,especiallyHenryHoltCo.forpermissiontouseaquotationanddrawingfromWilliamJamess_Psychology_,andTheMacmillanCompanyforpermissiontoborrowfromJohnLaFargesdelightful_ConsiderationsonPainting_.B.P.CONTENTSPARTIPOETRYINGENERALI.AGLANCEATTHEBACKGROUNDII.THEPROVINCEOFPOETRYIII.THEPOETSIMAGINATIONIV.THEPOETSWORDSV.RHYTHMANDMETREVI.RHYME,STANZAANDFREEVERSEPARTIITHELYRICINPARTICULARVII.THEFIELDOFLYRICPOETRYVIII.RELATIONSHIPSANDTYPESOFTHELYRICIX.RACE,EPOCHANDINDIVIDUALX.THEPRESENTSTATUSOFTHELYRICNOTESANDILLUSTRATIONSAPPENDIXBIBLIOGRAPHYINDEXASTUDYOFPOETRYPARTIPOETRYINGENERALSidneyandShelleypleadedthiscause.Becausetheyspoke,mustwebedumbGEORGEE.WOODBERRY,_ANewDefenseofPoetry_ASTUDYOFPOETRYCHAPTERIAGLANCEATTHEBACKGROUNDItisagraydayinautumn.Iamsittingatmydesk,wonderinghowtobeginthefirstchapterofthisbookaboutpoetry.Outsidethewindowawomaniscontentedlykneelingontheupturnedbrownearthofhertulipbed,pattinglovinglywithhertrowelasshecoversthebulbsfornextspringsblossoming.DoessheknowKatharineTynansversesaboutPlantingBulbsProbablynot.ButIfindmyselfdroppingtheprocrastinatingpen,andmurmuringsomeofthelinesSettingmybulbsarowIncoldearthunderthegrasses,TillthefrostandthesnowAregoneandtheWinterpassesTurningthesodsandtheclayIthinkonthepoorsadpeopleHidingtheirdeadawayInthechurchyard,underthesteeple.Allpoorwomenandmen,Brokenheartedandweeping,Theirdeadtheycalloninvain,Quietlysmilingandsleeping.Friends,nowlistenandhear,Giveovercryingandgrieving,ThereshallcomeadayandayearWhenthedeadshallbeastheliving.Thereshallcomeacall,afootfall,AndthegoldentrumpetersblowingShallstirthedeadwiththeircall,Bidthemberisingandgoing.Theninthedaffodilweather,LovershallruntoloverFriendsalltroopingtogetherDeathandWinterbeover.Layingmybulbsinthedark,VisionshaveIofhereafter.Liptolip,breasttobreast,harkNomoreweeping,butlaughterYetthisisnowaytostartyourchapter,suggestsConscience.Whydoyounotwriteanopeningparagraph,forbetterforworse,insteadoflookingoutofthewindowandquotingKatharineTynanAndthenitflashesoverme,inlieuofanswer,thatIhavejustdiscoveredonewayofbeginningthechapter,afterallForwhatIshouldliketodointhisbookistosetforthindecentprosesomeofthestrangepotenciesofverseitspower,forinstance,toseizeuponaphysicalimagelikethatofawomanplantingbulbs,andtransmuteitintoasymboloftheresurrectionofthedeaditscapacityforturningfactintotruthandbrownearthintobeautyforremouldingthebrokensyllablesofhumanspeechintosheermusicforliftingthemind,boweddownbywearyingthoughtandhauntingfear,intoabroodingecstasywhereinweepingischangedintolaughterandautumnalpremonitionsofdeathintoassuranceoflife,andthenarrowpathsofindividualexperiencearewidenedintothoseillimitablespaceswheretheimaginationrules.Poetrydoesallthis,assuredly.ButhowAndwhyThatisourproblem.Thefutureofpoetryisimmense,declaredMatthewArnold,andtherearefewloversofliteraturewhodoubthistriumphantassertion.Butthepastofpoetryisimmensealsoimpressiveinitssheerbulkandinitsimmemorialduration.Ataperiodearlierthananyrecordedhistory,poetryseemstohaveoccupiedtheattentionofmen,andsomeofthefinestspiritsineveryracethathasattainedtocivilizationhavedevotedthemselvestoitsproduction,oratleastgiventhemselvesfreelytotheenjoymentofrecitingandreadingverse,andofmeditatinguponitssignificance.Aconsciousnessofthisrichhumanbackgroundshouldaccompanyeachnewendeavortoexaminethefactsaboutpoetryandtodetermineitsessentialnature.Thefactsareindeedsomewhatcomplicated,andthenatureofpoetry,incertainaspectsofit,atleast,willremainasalwaysamystery.Yetinthatverycomplicationandtouchofmysterythereisafascinationwhichhaslaiditsspelluponcountlessgenerationsofmen,andwhichhasbeendeepenedratherthandestroyedbytheadvanceofscienceandtheresultsofscholarship.Thestudyoffolkloreandcomparativeliteraturehashelpedtoexplainsomeofthesecretsofpoetrythepsychologicallaboratory,thehistoryofcriticism,theinvestigationoflinguistics,themoderndevelopmentsinmusicandtheotherarts,haveallcontributedsomethingtoourintelligentenjoymentoftheartofpoetryandtooursenseofitsimportanceinthelifeofhumanity.Thereisnofieldofinquirywheretheinterrelationsofknowledgearemoreacutelytobeperceived.Thebeginnerinthestudyofpoetrymayatoncecomforthimselfandincreasehiszestbyrememberingthatanyrealtrainingwhichhehasalreadyhadinscientificobservation,inthehabitofanalysis,inthestudyofracesandhistoricperiods,intheuseoflanguages,inthepracticeorinterpretationofanyofthefinearts,oreveninanybodilyexercisethathasdevelopedhissenseofrhythm,willbeofascertainablevaluetohiminthisnewstudy.Butbeforeattemptingtoapplyhisspecificknowledgeoraptitudetothenewfieldforinvestigation,heshouldbemadeawareofsomeofthewiderquestionswhichthestudyofpoetryinvolves.ThefirstofthesequestionshastodowiththerelationsofthestudyofpoetrytothegeneralfieldofAesthetics._1.TheStudyofPoetryandtheStudyofAesthetics_TheGreeksinventedaconvenientwordtodescribethestudyofpoetryPoetics.Aristotlesfamousfragmentarytreatiseborethattitle,anditwasconcernedwiththenatureandlawsofcertaintypesofpoetryandwiththerelationsofpoetrytotheotherarts.FortheGreeksassumed,aswedo,thatpoetryisanartthatitexpressesemotionthroughwordsrhythmicallyarranged.Butassoonastheybegantoinquireintotheparticularkindofemotionwhichisutilizedinpoetryandthevariousrhythmicalarrangementsemployedbypoets,theyfoundthemselvescompelledtoaskfurtherquestions.HowdotheotherartsconveyfeelingWhatarrangementorrhythmicorderingoffactsdotheyuseinthisprocessWhattakesplaceinusasweconfronttheworkofart,or,inotherwords,whatisourreactiontoanartisticstimulusForananswertosuchwiderquestionsasthese,wemodernsturntothesocalledscienceofAesthetics.Thisword,derivedfromtheGreek_aisthanomai_toperceive,hasbeendefinedasanythinghavingtodowithperceptionbythesenses.ButitwasfirstusedinitspresentsensebytheGermanthinkerBaumgarteninthemiddleoftheeighteenthcentury.Hemeantbyitthetheoryofthefinearts.IthasprovedaconvenienttermtodescribebothTheScienceoftheBeautifulandThePhilosophyofBeautythatis,boththeanalysisandclassificationofbeautifulthingsaswellasspeculationastotheoriginandnatureofBeautyitself.Butitshouldbeborneinmindthataestheticinquiryandanswermayprecedebythousandsofyearstheuseoftheformallanguageofaesthetictheory.Mr.KiplingsStoryofUngcleverlyrepresentsthecavemenasdiscussingtheverytopicswhichthecontemporarystudioandclassroomstriveinvaintosettle,invain,becausetheyaretheeternalproblemsofart.Herearetwofaces,twotrees,twocolors,oneofwhichseemspreferabletotheother.Whereinliesthedifference,asfarastheobjectsthemselvesareconcernedAndwhatisitwhichthepreferablefaceortreeorcolorstirsorawakenswithinusaswelookatitThesearewhatwecallaestheticquestions,butamanoraracemayhaveadelicateandsuresenseofbeautywithoutconsciouslyaskingsuchquestionsatall.Theawarenessofbeautifulobjectsinnature,andeventheabilitytocreateabeautifulworkofart,maynotbeaccompaniedbyanygiftforaestheticspeculation.Conversely,manyaProfessorofaestheticshascontentedlylivedinanuglyhouseandyouwouldnotthinkthathehadeverlookedatriverorskyorhadhispulsesquickenedbyatune.Nevertheless,noonecanturnthepagesofaformalHistoryofAestheticswithoutbeingremindedthattheoldestandapparentlythemostsimpleinquiriesinthisfieldmayalsobethesubtlestandinasensethemostmodern.Forillustration,takethethreephilosophicalcontributionsoftheGreekstoaesthetictheory,astheyarestatedbyBosanquetFootnoteBosanquet,_HistoryofAesthetic_,chap.3.1theconceptionthatartdealswithimages,notrealities,i.e.withaestheticsemblanceorthingsastheyappeartotheartist2theconceptionthatartconsistsinimitation,whichtheycarriedtoanabsurdity,indeed,byarguingthatanimitationmustbelessvaluablethanthethingimitated3theconceptionthatbeautyconsistsincertainformalrelations,suchassymmetry,harmonyofpartsinaword,unityinvariety.NownoonecansnapaKodakeffectivelywithoutputtingintopracticethefirstoftheseconceptionsnorunderstandthenewmusicandfreeversewithoutreckoningwithboththesecondandthethird.Thevaluetothestudentofpoetryofsomeacquaintancewithaesthetictheoryissometimesdirect,asinthereallyinvaluablediscussioncontainedinAristotles_Poetics_,butmoreoften,perhaps,itwillbefoundintheindirectstimulustohissympathyandtaste.Forhemustsurveythewidespreadsenseofbeautyintheancientworld,thesplendidperiodsofartisticcreationintheMiddleAges,thegrowthofanewfeelingforlandscapeandforthericheranddeeperhumanemotions,andtheemergenceofthesenseofthesignificantorindividuallycharacteristicintheworkofart.FinallyhemaycometolosehimselfwithKantorHegelorColeridgeinphilosophicaltheoriesaboutthenatureofbeauty,ortofollowthecuriousanalysesofexperimentalaestheticsinmodernlaboratories,wherethepsychophysicalreactionstoaestheticstimuliarecunninglyregisteredandtheeffectsoflinesandcolorsandtonesuponthehumanorganismaresetforthwithmathematicalprecision.HeneednottroublehimselfovermuchattheoutsetwithdefinitionsofBeauty.Thechiefthingistobecomeawareofthelongandintimatepreoccupationofmenwithbeautifulobjectsandtorememberthatanyinquiryintothenatureandlawsofpoetrywillsurelyleadhimintoadeepercuriosityastothenatureandmanifestationsofaestheticfeelingingeneral._2.TheImpulsetoArtisticProduction_Furthermore,noonecanaskhimselfhowitisthatapoemcomesintobeingunlesshealsoraisesthewiderquestionastotheoriginandworkingofthecreativeimpulseintheotherarts.Itisclearthatthereisagulfbetweenthemeresenseofbeautysuchasispossessedbyprimitiveman,or,inlaterstagesofcivilization,bytheconnoisseurinthefineartsandtheconcreteworkofart.Thousandsenjoythestatue,thesymphony,theodenotoneinathousandcanproducetheseobjects.Mereconnoisseurshipissterile.Theabilitytoproduceonefineline,saidEdwardFitzGerald,transcendsalltheAbleEditorabilityinthisablyediteduniverse.WhatistheimpulsewhichurgescertainpersonstocreatebeautifulobjectsHowisitthattheycrossthegulfwhichseparatestheenjoyerfromtheproducerItiseasiertoaskthisquestionthantofindawhollysatisfactoryanswertoit.Platosexplanation,inthecaseofthepoet,issimpleenoughitisthedirectinspirationofthedivinity,thegodtakespossessionofthepoet.Perhapsthismaybetrue,inasense,andweshallreverttoitlater,butfirstletuslookatsomeoftheconditionsfortheexerciseofthecreativeimpulse,ascontemporarytheoristshaveendeavoredtoexplainthem.Socialrelations,surely,affordoneoftheobviousconditionsfortheimpulsetoart.Thehandclappingandthighsmitingofprimitivesavagesinastateofcrowdexcitement,thesonganddancebeforeadmiringspectators,thechorusofprimitiveballads,thecrowdrepeatingandalteringtherefrains,therhythmicsongoflaboringmenandofwomenattheirweaving,sailorschanties,thecelebrationoffuneralrites,religiousprocessionalandpageant,areallexpressionsofcommunalfeeling,anditisthiscommunalfeelingthesenseofjoyinwidestcommonaltyspreadwhichhasinspired,inGreeceandItaly,someofthegreatestartisticepochs.Itistruethatascivilizationhasproceeded,thiscommunalemotionhasoftenseemedtofadeawayandleaveusinthepresenceoftheindividualartistonly.WeseeKeatssittingathisgardentablewritingtheOdetoAutumn,thelonelyShelleyintheCascineatFlorencecomposingtheWestWind,WordsworthpacingthenarrowwalkbehindDoveCottageandmumblingverses,Beethoveninhisgarretwritingmusic.Butthecreativeactthusperformedinsolitudehasasingularpotency,afterall,forarousingthatcommunalfeelingwhichinthemomentofcreationtheartistseemstoescape.Whatheproducesinhislonelinesstheworlddoesnotwillinglyletdie.Hiswork,asfarasitbecomesknown,reallyunitesmankind.Itfulfillsasocialpurpose.Itsfunctionissocialconsolidation.Tolstoymadesomuchofthistransmissionofemotion,thisinfectiousqualityofartasameansofunionamongmen,thathereducedagoodcasetoanabsurdity,forhearguedhimselfintothinkingthatifagivenworkofartdoesnotinfectthespectatorandpreferablytheuneducatedpeasantspectatorwithemotion,itisthereforenotartatall.Heoverlookedtheobvioustruththattherearecertaintypesofdifficult

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