December 21, 2010

Chesterton on poetry...

The man who wishes to feed on mahogany — The Hebdomadal Chesterton:

...Poetry deals with primal and conventional things — the hunger for bread, the love of woman, the love of children, the desire for immortal life. If men really had new sentiments, poetry could not deal with them. If, let us say, a man did not feel a bitter craving to eat bread; but did, by way of substitute, feel a fresh, original craving to eat brass fenders or mahogany tables, poetry could not express him. If a man, instead of falling in love with a woman, fell in love with a fossil or a sea anemone, poetry could not express him. Poetry can only express what is original in one sense — the sense in which we speak of original sin. It is original, not in the paltry sense of being new, but in the deeper sense of being old; it is original in the sense that it deals with origins.

    — Robert Browning (1903)....
Posted by John Weidner at December 21, 2010 4:18 PM
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