Five collaborators to whom I am especially grateful are Mr Quentin Anderson. I one of those essays of Mr which most admire. when the literary history of the past two decades comes to be written. Collaboraoperative labour. or they are nothing . if he is to justify his existence. was a place for quiet co-operative labour. 'Johnson and Augustanism' and 'Mr Eliot and Milton' appeared in The and I Kenyan Review and The Sewanee Review respectively. Professor L. they tion may take the form of disagreement. one would suppose. should endeavour to discipline tares to his personal prejudices and cranks with which we are all subject and compose his differences as many of 'The his fellows as possible in die common : pursuit of true judgment. and I am indebted for the peculiar advantage reprecritics to whom A* . Stephenson. Fr. C. Knights.J. His and judgments are his. in this a Most of the matter collaborative volume enterprise originated in a consciously sustained effort to promote the 'co-operative labour* of criticism. It appeared in Scrutiny. yana. perceptions whether or not he has consciously addressed himself to co- are inevitably collaborative. have to thank the Editors for permission to reprint those essays. Mr George SantaProfessor Rene Wellek.. one would suppose. The critic. and what it should be for him.Preface T TAKE JL the title of this book from The Eliot's : Function of Criticism. but.' common pursuit of true judgment' chat is how the critic should see his business. S. A. a review that. A. may perhaps be found to have done more to vindicate and maintain the critical function in the Englishspeaking world than the very small amount of publicly accorded of Scrutiny I am recognition would suggest To the Editors indebted for permission to reprint what first appeared there. The immediately relevant passage runs 'Here. and one is grateful to the critic whom one has found worth disagreeing with.

a critic has his toil must feel that he is committed may who to taking the opportunity that offers. LEA vis . where the critical function referring to. how formidable. It seems to me that no one seriously interested can is have failed concerned. So striking are some of the most recent. in so far as they are present in the essays of mine referring to them. the 'pursuit of true judgment*. of course. that this discouraging moment is perhaps especially one altogether pointless. it the salience of the final place I following collection. R. and obviously consequently for so much else. a pursuit that one can count on finding very commonly practised or favoured. The reader will recognize that. given the my opportunity. Everyone can think of striking illustrations of what I am to perceive that. the last piece presented in the I have not included that piece and given out of wanton provocativeness. they would have nothing to rejoin. It was by way of countering the wrong meaning of 'common' that I picked my epigraphs from Henry James. what characterizes our time in England is the almost compeculiarly plete triumph of the 'social' (or the 'associatioiial') values over those which are the business of the critic. and so disastrous must this state of affairs be for literature. and that what they referthemselves have said is not fairly to be deduced from ences any more than it is to be concluded that. they are present for my convenience. F. is not. when the However thought his pursuit worth seem not explicit challenge that may be. suggest in 'The Progress of Poesy'. and to turning such attention as he can win if he can win any on the lamentable and unanswerable PREFACE sented by a set critical exchange. Criticism. The 'associational process' to which he refers (he is declining the offered chairmanship of the English Association) has become a much more formidable menace since his time.

F. for kind permission to quote the extract from Professor Raleigh's * Writing and Writers in essay on Sociology and Literature*.L. and to The Society of Jesus and the Oxford University Press for permission to quote from Hopkins's letters and poems.R. to the Oxford University Press for permission On my to quote the extract on page 190 from Cecil Sharp's Introduction to English Folk-Songs from the Southern Appalachians. .Acknowledgments I am indebted to Messrs Edward Arnold & Co.

against the so almost universal Anglo-Saxon absence of these They are. D. in our general trade. which tends so. and are more I can't them at this day than ever go into it all much against sense of it is that I believe only in absolutely but the rough independent. 1912 of plea for Criticism. some ROBERT GRAVES. The spokesman coughed and said a little stiffly: 'I understand.For me. frankly. Letter to John Bailley. my dear John. but have dodged them poor to the best of my power all at least. Obituary notice O/KNUT HAMSUN I At the end of my first term's work attended the usual college board to give an account of myself. but he asked them to scratch off the inscription and give it to somebody else. It appears. there is simply no question of these things: I am a mere stony.' I say. and that the associational process for bringing it on is but a no fruit ripens bright and hollow artifice. Letter to it seems to me. for Disfor Appreciation on other than infantile lines as crimination. that you prefer authors to others. Goodbye to All That . all vain and delusive. in general. individual and lonely virtue. trump up for the my 'genius' have been against them. break the heart* HENRY JAMES. that the essays that you write for your English tutor arc. Mr Graves. I have never in all my life gone in for these and shirked and successfully evaded things. or even still may. 1908 AUGUST The Norwegian Society of Authors gave him a loving cup. a sort things. ii Nov. and in the serenely occasion as the same. shall a trifle temperamental. in fact assaulted me: I my instincts and so far as they have and the very essence of any thing that might. HENRY JAMES. indeed. ugly monster of Dissociation and Detachment. to Howells. 17 W. that unsociable (or if need be at a pinch sulky and sullen) practice of the observation of a lifetime having convinced me but under that temporarily graceless rigour.

to 'the field of literary is. perfunctory evidence that his interest in Milton was at any time intense. criticism'. and it that the recent paper shows him interested might perhaps be said for the purposes of an address on Milton to the British enough have been his best days as a critic. speaks as a practitioner. In it Mr : petence Eliot recognizes two kinds of relevant critical comthat of the practitioner of verse. the paper has the effect of showing On that Mr Eliot found himself unable interest.MR ELIOT AND MILTON MR ELIOT'S British paper on Milton. which were very Academy. and later broadcast in the Third Programme. me. is there one whose vigour takes effect useless. scholar- ship. was widely acclaimed as a an authoritative and final piece of criticism. in his own phrase. He himself. The quesdeplorable (they enjoy tions discussed in his paper belong. . I know of no was adequate effectually achieved. and die skill that enables the critic to sensibility develop is sensitive and closely relevant thinkingresponses in That skill is not common among scholars. classic of recantation vindicating Milton against 'errors and prejudices' propounded by the same critic in his less discerning days. Of the time' who have rectified the errors' 'champions of Milton in our with 'vigorous hands' and who have opposed the 'prejudices' with 'commanding voices'. or command attention . ' as a whose arguments vigour of relevance. But let me first say that a qualifying great the deference he exhibits towards the scholars seems to me wholly deference enough in any case). In I intend no score against Mr Eliot. however. and that of the scholar. For the purposes of criticism. unless directed critical its that by an intelligent interest in poetry without. In what I judge saying this to And. as a to bring to Milton any but a matter of fact. His own distinction no one to-day disputes I cannot however acquiesce in his ascription of competence to the 'practitioner' as such without deal more than he does. as a critic of course. and slavishly taken up by his followers. delivered in England as a * Academy Lecture on a Master Mind'. the interest to his purposes.

though I cannot claim to be either a practiI confess to being a 'teacher* that is. only if one delimits one's practitioner very narrowly* Mr Eliot seems to me to be merely abetting confusion when he suggests that 'the criticism of the scholar wul be all the . there is relevant that a critic must have in order to understand and knowledge that in such a case as judge. confident as they profit in arguing with are in their status as authorities. intimation of Mr finding. The application of such skill will involve a recourse to scholarship. I feel in fact. their critical education has so : my own which that there can be little is to be discussed. As for the special critical competence of the 'practitioner*. Milton's the enabling knowledge will be very extensive. But nothing is plainer to me than that the learning of the scholars to whom Mr Eliot defers has not. readily to promoting the deferential study of the and that the kind of student who has the best chance of academic distinction finds it easier to acquire skill in showing familiarity with the 'work on* (say) Milton than the skill I have referred to above the skill to develop in relevant thinking the : responses of a trained sensibility to the work of the poet. a deferential attitude towards the scholars. according to powers. And everyone whose gent study business is die same knows that the academic world in general my business is my takes more THE COMMON across PURSUIT And no is because they so unquestionably represent an intelligent interest in poetry ? If so. to promote. on to make the point with a certain indelicate because. they show patently not begun where poetry themselves unaware of the elementary conditions of talking to the No doubt their learning sometimes has relevance to the point. Even intelligent students may waste much of their limited time and energy (literature is extensive and the critical lights rare) making a foil discovery of the latter truth for themselves. and the acquisition of knowledge but it will involve also some. too. I think. one can grant it. these champions. enabled. I haven't Eliot's alters come him. understanding and judgment of Milton's poems relevance they No doubt. the intelliand discussion of literature. tioner of verse or a scholar. It is possible to argue plausibly are themselves unable to enforce. thing quite different from. called bluntness. since. and the teacher accordingly has his responsibilities.

tend that way in the least. Cerontion and The Waste Land was in the nature of the case qualified to write criticism as any in literary history. one would readily agree. he had the consciousness'. creative and original.) More the practitioner' who may be assumed to have advangenerally. Had he would be of writing a better critic if he were capable of becoming a poet of the kind of originality for which Mr Eliot is important in literary history. In such a creative achievement a dis- * tinguished critical intelligence has its inseparable part. Mr Eliot's best criticism. but expression is only altered by a man of genius'. with immediate relevance. to 'use words differently'. if ELIOT AND MILTON difficulties 11 he has some experience of the said that the scholar verse'. critic or. and acquired the technical skill. whether Eliot . The interest it shows Mr Eliot taking in his subjects is correspondingly restricted. instead of denouncing his verse as unscannable. to * a major poet in Mr Eliot's time. required perception and understanding of a rare order. As he himself * has said. most part on the poetry of the past. tages as a critic is the real poet. when current conventions and idioms afforded no starting point. But it would be more to the point to say that the scholar's criticism would be better worth attending to if he were critic enough to be able to acclaim an Eliot when he appears. But the restriction can be seen to be a condition of the extraordinary cogency of the criticism the clean finality with which it does what was necessary for his essential purposes. that Bridges' long experience of the difficulties of writing verse didn't make him an intelligent all appearances. About Milton directly he says very influential as directed for the . Never was there a finer economy. so unpoetic adaptable to the needs of 'sensibility' were the inveterate habits To become of expression. is immediately to his own problems as a poet a poet confronted with related the task of inventing the new ways of using words that were necessary if there was to be a contemporary poetry.MR better. The author of Portrait of a Lady. Mr Eliot's superiority as critic over the champions to shows so misleading a courtesy has certainly the closest whom he of relaevery- tions to the creative genius manifested in his verse. and seeing the contemporary poetic achievement in a Testament of Beauty. sensibility alters from generation to generation in we will or no. The man of genius in our time has been Mr body. (One may add.

THE there COMMON PURSUIT was no need to say more. and who wishes to bring to bear on the solution of those problems'. And now matter. as a result work. is what the passage says. Milton had long been prepotent as of Mr Eliot's an influence in taste and practice. The measure of past his own importance is die efficacity with which he served the function defined here. could be of no help it was only a hindrance'. The deriders represent servile showing me in a posture of comically authority: Mr Eliot. The brief statement has for support. And. a decade and a half ago. What I object to in that part of his argument is the he puts the case *the study of Milton way : ways in which the Miltonic 'prepotence' is manifested. he ceased to be. says. that passage states briefly certain historical facts. That. a good deal of particular observation and analysis. no good'. The facts (as I saw and see them) are that. we read in The Sacred Wood. in his well-known * deference to pontifical way. leaving me exposed in disMilton's I. in which Mr Eliot. discussing predominseem to him to call for appreciative antly qualities and effects that maintains so sharp and consistent a relevance to his focal study. Actually. The passage opens a discussion of Milton's verse it as that is to be found in my Revaluation. in a passage that has been a good deal I cited for derision. and my comfiture for the amusement of his less snobbish his judicious and real admirers. proclaim Mr Eliot goes back on his tip. illustrating the Mr Eliot himself. explicitly recognizes that his achievement in poetry entailed as an essential condition a critical attitude towards Milton. interest. 'The important critic'. put this last word in inverted commas because it is the one I used. the interest of the practitioner. in as critic and poet was Milton's 'dislodgment'. as I shall explain. 'is the person who is absorbed in the the forces of the present problems of art. in other parts of the book. passing the ensemble of essays. so little Though he result about Milton.12 little. says innocently supposing that to settle the Milton's annihilation to the world. That frank and simple statement seems to me insidious. But the two or three observations transmit the force of a whole close context. and that. the recognition of which seems to me to be entailed in any intelligent response to Mr Eliot's poetry. when Mr Eliot began to write. the of his work his influential criticism. at any the paper under discussion. I : .

: . then. I don't know whether Mr it Eliot is a 'musician' or not. so that our hearing : this peculiar hension. that amounts. a 'weakness of visual imagination' that is apparent in his imagery. but also vitiated by familiar confusions and fallacies.MR associate it ELIOT AND MILTON 13 with an attitude about Milton's influence in the past I think. the pretensions of 'music' and 'musical'. however. Perhaps 'analysis' may be judged to be the wrong word for what Mr Eliot gives us but his undertaking certainly commits him to offering an analysis. But has 'musicians' adduce the poet's evident in the parenthesis above any function but that of supporting. illegitimately. to a surrender of the function of criticism 'we can never prove that any particular poet would have written better poetry if he had escaped that influence'. I have to turn to immediately is Mr Eliot's account of the Miltonic fact I mean. mustn't be accounted a disadvantage it is offset by a strength of which we can see it to be a condition a strength of 'music*. not the vision. upon the word. demand for a readjustment of the reader's mode of appreThe emphasis is on the sound. : We must. and in the end it is the unique versification that is the most certain sign of Milton's intellectual mastership. his analysis of Milton's own characteristic use of language. He recognizes a 'fault' in Milton. and what he does offer is not only surprisingly superficial. however. not expect to see clearly sense . in Milton's use of language. as he employs them. in reading Paradise Lost. And Mr Eliot in developing his case proceeds to work the time-honoured abuse of 'music' and 'musical' with an apparent wholeness of conviction that I find astonishing in so distinguished a critic and in the author of his poetry. each writing a language of his own based upon English) makes of sight must be blurred. Milton's interest in entirely different thing from the sound as a musician was an entirely different thing from his . but if one aims must insist that this 'sound' is an business of critical thinking one musician's. Paradise Lost like Finnegans Wake (for I can think of no work which provides a more interesting parallel two great books by musicians. our may become more acute. the at advancing the 'emphasis is on the sound'. This weakness. What. in its poised liberality. and not mere conIt is true fusing substitutes for the analysis he leaves unperformed ? in suggestion to say that. but in to would be very much to the point discussing Four Quartets interest in music. to be respectable instruments of criticism. not the idea .

That is what Mr Eliot meant when. and a man may appreciate the 'music' of Milton's verse I who enough hum God Save the King 'The emphasis is on the sound. In order to apply our normal criteria we have to check our response. we see that to define the peculiarities that make Milton's use of language appear to be a matter of . or the Wordsworth of The Ruined Cottage. movement and quality it is not only our 'sense of sight' that is blurred. What is the 'word' ? no poet can make us take his It is certainly not the pure sound verbal arrangements as pure sound. The state induced has analogies with intoxication. : and of a buoyant ease of command. some years ago. illustrates the insidiousness of die fallacy inherent in sound'. upon the word. satisfaction . Our response brings nodiing to any arresting focus. and is Miltonic 'music' . not the idea' that simple antithetic use of 'sound' and 'vision' seems to me pregnant with fallacy and I find it odd indeed that the author of Burnt Norton should have been content to leave us in that way with the word 'word' on our hands. whatever his skill or his genius. This proposition . when * Eliot uses it. he said that 'we have to read effordessness. specializing in 'verbal music' isn't altogether Eliot's start by challenging a proposition of We might Mr : 'in reading Paradise Lost . so that our hearing may our sense of sight must be blurred. And once we recognize that meaning must always enter largely and inseparably into the effect. say that the 'emphasis is on die sound' because we are less exactingly conscious in respect of meaning than when we read certain odier poets say Mr Eliot. or the Yeats of Sailing to Byzantium not because meaning doesn't give the 'sound' its body. of energetic is induced in us. become more acute'. but gives us a feeling of exalted significance. not the vision. To say is used for critical purposes as that in responding to the Mutonic 'music' our hearing becomes specially acute is to suggest that some kind of sharp attentiveness the term Mr this seems to me the reverse of true.14 THE COMMON hasn't ear PURSUIT to interest in 'sound' as a poet. . a simple job. In return for of this order rhythmic and 'musical' we lower our criteria of force and consistency in meaning. what our 'hearing' hears is words and the sense in which Milton's use of words is characterized by a 'musical' bias can be explained only in terms of a generally relaxed state of mind he induces in us. The not the music of die musician. We .

oft. as Sea-men tell. Titanian or Earth-born. 'sparkling blaz'd'. darkness visible. and Eyes That sparkling blaz'd. while night Invests the Sea. Mr Eliot comments : There are. Chain'd on the burning Lake . though. unless with the argument that if you read Milton as he demands to be read you see no occasion to make them. Briarios or Typhon. criticisms of detail which could be made. they unanswerable. The fact that the lake was burning somewhat diminishes the effect of the fiery eyes and it is difficult to imagine a burning lake in a scene where there was only : . that warr'd on Jove. I am not too happy about eyes that both blaze and sparkle. whom the Den By ancient Tarsus held. or by These criticisms . once for the sound and once for the meaning' implying that the two kinds of reading cannot be given at the same time. this Thus Satan talking to his neerest Mate uplift above the wave. extended long and large With Head Lay floating many a rood.MR ELIOT AND MILTON 15 Milton twice. In the recent paper he notes the tolerance of inconsistency. seem to me unanswerable. as : He subject'. unless Milton meant us to imagine a roaring fire ejecting sparks and that is too fiery an image for even supernatural eyes. or that Sea-beast Leviathan. With fixed Anchor in his scaly rind Moors by his side under the Lee. his other Parts besides Prone on the Flood. whom God of all his works : Created hugest that swim th'Ocean stream Him haply slumbring on the Norway foam The pilot of some small night-founder'd Skiff. Very few admirers of Milton. I believe. in bulk as huge As whom the Fables name of monstrous size. properly amount to more than criticism of mere detail understood. and wished delayes So stretcht out huge in length the Arch-fiend lay : Mom . as often with Milton. . Deeming some Island. have ever been troubled by the inconsistency that Mr Eliot notes. showing 'Milton's skill in extending a period by introducing imagery which tends to distract us from the real quotes.

their ' ' : leafy entanglements thickly loaded. It is a matter. too. The imagery going with that strength cannot be easily classified. It is more than merely tactual. To . With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees.16 THE COMMON PURSUIT : Such things escape as critical recognition from the responsive reader Milton's and for the same reason response to the they escaped 'Miltonic music' (which. The strength that distinguishes Keats so radically from Tennyson can be localized in the un-Tennysonian 'moss'd cottage-trees'. therefore. It is not fanciful. And if we are to talk of imagery. they don't disturb) is a relaxation of attentiveness to sense. the simple statement that is so much plump' more than a statement in the Kcatsian context). This strength caimot be taken stock of in any Sitwellian analysis of 'texture'. and plump the hazel shells . to * find that (the sense being what it is) the pronouncing of cottagetrees* suggests. gnarled and sturdy in trunk and bough. The action of the packed consonants in moss'd cottage-trees is plain enough there stand the trees. we must that of visual imagery of 'imagery' with any some difficulty. . And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core To swell the gourd. I think. among other things. . diat is. since the term precision is a critical undertaking of covers such a variety of things so I will make my point with a note that it is more than a weakness talk Mr Eliot calls attention to. has from first to last its inseparable and essential part in the effect of the 'sound') enforce and enact the paraphrasable meaning. quotation : Season of mists and mellow fruitfulncss Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun Conspiring with him how to load and bless ! . . With a sweet kernel . though the distinctively tactual * clearly owes its full-bodied concrctencss to the pervasive in the use of words represented by 'moss'd cottage-trees' strength (as does 'swell the gourd'. The word itself tends to 'image' encourage . of die way in which the analogical suggestions of die varied complex efforts and motions compelled on us as we pronounce and follow the words and hold diem properly together (meaning. the crisp bite and the flow of juice as the tcedi close in the ripe apple.

felicity : of the versification in the Mulciber passage (Bk. both compensates for the lack in the verse of any concrete body. 1. un-Miltonic the rhythmic habit of Milton's : verse runs counter to such uses of stress and movement. In this 'music'. And to take critic the importance illustration commonly of an unnon- from Keats one more seems to : Miltonic visual effect. the upright steadying carriage of the gleaner as she steps from one stone to the next. then imagery hasn't for the assigned to it. and with the setting Sun Dropt from the Zenith like a falling Star From Heav'n. Mr Eliot denies Milton. 1 So that the expressive 1. . It may be said that apart from such a use there be a strength of visual imagery. the rhythm plays an essential part the Grand Style movement that. What then has he 5 trated He has his 'music'. and the visualist have it in Imagism it is present in Pound's 'phanofallacy (we is wide-spread. may with unanswerable justice. : On Lenrnos th'Aegaean lie . compelling with its incantatory and ritualistic habit a marked bodily response. I say. it me that we have a very obvious image here And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep . As we made pass across the line-division from 'keep' to 'steady* we are to enact. is properly brought under the head of 'image'. Steady thy laden head across a brook . . they fabl'd. 738) is exceptional and how he fell thrown by angry Jove Sheer o're the Chrystal Battlements from Morn To Noon he fell.MR the notion that ELIOT AND MILTON 17 imagery is necessarily visual. A Summers day . But if we haven't imagery peia' and 'melopeia') and non-visual imagery in the kinds of effect just illustrated.. And such an enact- ment seems This to me effect. But this is just what. analogically. from Noon to dewy Eve.. of course.1 And Milton's preoccupation with 'music' precludes any strength in the kinds of imagery that depend on what may be called a realizing use of the body and action of the English language the use illus- from Keats.

ideas or thoughts or a theme for all the 'distortion 'into words'. that we naturally think of as the eloquence can. the foreign ordinary language' ^* Si ( 1 'the use of a word in a foreign' idiom.>*. . 'maximal .i8 THE as is COMMON PURSUIT such its given by normal attentiveness. Again. nothing could be further removed (and in a comprehending approach to the poem one has to be aware of this) from any process that can be thought of as one of 'putting* some- thing But the Miltonic mode. that Milton employs devices of eloquence and of the word-play in which poets in his time were practised. . is the lack of body 'body' as I have illustrated it from Keats that. makes us talk about sense. 'music' makes us say that the 'emphasis is on the sound'.. a eloquence mode. our sense of words as words. The passage Mr Eliot quotes in illustrating his point provides a for questioning his earlier proposition that 'Milton's poetry is poetry at the farthest possible remove from prose'. of mind. things for the mouth and ear. and facilitate the declamation. if one supposes oneself to faced with something at all in the nature of the prose uses of language. in the of any challenge to a sharp awareness. as the passage quoted by Mr Eliot . visualist fallacy) any realization is they convey. It and lulls the mind out of strength in imagery. one will be defeated. and gives diat order of satisfaction. significantly.. way' and so on presented nothing radically alien or uncongenial to the eighteenth-century *. . we have the feeling that the 'medium' is for the poet what musical sound is for the comthe poser our sense of it as something that employs (and flatters) skill of the vocal organs. not the idea': that is. in reading which. together with the lack. I have noted. We remain predominantly aware of eloquence and declamation. which perpetually relieve the mind. it is 'upon the word. alteration of construction'. . is not transcended in any vision or (to avoid the . The use oflanguage is exploratorycreative. remains uppermost. If called upon to instance poetry at the poetic farthest possible remove from prose I might reasonably adduce in the sense Mr be Eliot's Marina. the 'Declamation'. Miltonic mode : word Mr Eliot uses for the It may be observed also. If it is so far removed from prose it is not so (it seems to good opportunity me) of exhibiting in concentration the distinctively uses of language. It is .

The fact that a mind familiar with Paradise Lost will. shall the rest. For while they sit contriving. and it is difficult to imagine a burning lake in a scene where there was only darkness visible. 1 Though in this mode too. boast not then let those Contrive who need. sit lingring here Heav'ns fugitives . associate the voice of England' with a mode of strong rhetorical statement. But I have to pursue my examination of the weakness the weakness noted by Mr Eliot (though he won't call it flatly that) in the extract from him given above . because we first find the arch-fiend chain' d on the burning lake and in a minute or two see him making his way to the shore. " millions that stand in arms" could not at the same time "sit lingring"/ . And it is safe to venture that no parts of Paradise Lost have been unaffectedly enjoyed by more readers. or when they need. running to die memorable phrase. . is of the greatest importance historically (I am thiiking of the question of Milton's influence). Millions that stand in Armes and longing wait The Signal to ascend. take ELIOT : AND MILTON open Warr of Wiles : : 19 a decided on without any disconcerting change of declamation strength My sentence More is for I unexpert. without making any sharp disMiltonic music' 'God-gifted organ tinctions. It also a commonplace a kind commonplace that Milton's peculiar powers have found here an especially congenial vein. of course. is to expect a kind of consistency which the world to which Milton has that * introduced us does not require. : The fact that the lake was burning somewhat diminishes the effect of the fiery eyes . not now. To complain. < 1 argument and exposition.MR reminds us. . there is a critical or realizing awareness there is no sharp challenge to the relaxation of the demand for be objected that consistency characteristic of rhetoric : 'It might. But with this kind of inconsistency we are familiar in Milton. In these speeches in Hell we have it is is a of ideal parliamentary oratory. as Mr Eliot notes. Earlier I Mr Eliot has said : : do not think that we should attempt to see very clearly any scene Milton depicts it should be accepted as a shifting phantasmagory.

A. that is because.20 THE COMMON . an aspect of something more general a weakness of realization (a term the force of which I have tried to make plain). The kind of consistency which that world 'does not require' turns out. Waldock (so finding an point the commentary of 1 it to recommend his Paradise Lost and Its Critics opportunity Mr seems to me by far the best book on Milton I have read). . I will adduce on this A. . The instances of visual inconsistency that Mr Eliot remarks are : drawn from Milton's Hell. of course. when we consider it. not their flames' (II. The plain fact of it. we have to recognize as something more than a characteristic of imagery and local expression it affects the poet's grasp of his themes. : . It is obvious that as the conclave proceeds Hell. much . If we are not bothered by the absence of visual consistency. conceptions and interests. when examined with any attention. in its turn. are (theoretically) bad enough 'torture without End still urges' (1. . when there of the (somewhat is leisure. our in general have become very unexacting. If the weakness of visualization becomes. . PURSUIT I have to insist that. because of Milton's inconsistencies of conception and imagination. his Hell 'loses most of its meaning'. Hell ing fires Will slack'n. in reading Milton. in spite of which organized field sports are possible. The livid flames become mere torches to light the assembly of the powers. What they illustrate is Milton's failure to give us a consistently realized Hell at all. has as good as vanished. A little later. 2) . if his breath stir : 1 Published by the Cambridge University Press. He points out that. J. The reason for these and other vaguenesses in the picture is fairly evident Milton was trying his best to accomplish two incompatible things at the same time . 67) 'these rag. a nominal one Yet conditions. But as he had just proved to us in are inconvenienced by their situaimpossible for us to take these further lurid descriptions very seriously. while we are criteria of consistency submissively in and of Milton's world. even while the action is in progress. Milton recollects his duty. it isn't merely a matter of our not seeing very clearly the weakness of realization that he exhibits can't be limited to the visual field. for all the effective pressure it exerts on our consciousness. this. to be decidedly comprehensive. resumes his account infernal landscape and adds further items to his meagre) list of tortures. is that Milton's Hell is very the clearest it is way how little the rebels tion.

not the . so far from being merely a limitation of to take up a word that Mr Eliot offers us with an visual power'. The emphasis is on the sound. The inconsistency plainly touches essence. One can only comment that it may be the most certain sign. the literal founder immediately presents moored. . and of per- also in the of a poem. which I presume to be of Milton's inven- seems unsuitable here. The term tion. as Mr meaning (the for 'the idea'. as here in Paradise Lost. though extravagant. But when. in such an undertaking as of Paradise Lost the conception of Hell must be. surely the nature of the 'versification' to induce a relaxed concern for that.MR petual practice ELIOT AND MILTON is it 21 a place is therefore as a locality has to serve a double duty : it and increasing punishment in theory. It cannot be disposed of with the explanation that Milton's work doesn't require visual consistency. and it most seriously for surely. and not to the men but to their itself. is touches that . a base for operations. my attention to the use of the same adjective in Comus. to a radical criticism of Paradise Lost a more damaging criticism than Professor Waldock himself recognizes (my main criticism of him is that he doesn't draw the consequences of his findings). not the vision. 483 : Either someone like us night-foundered here it where. and in the end it is die unique versification tnat is the most certain sign of Milton's intellectual mastership. and it would be easy . to a whale or to anything A foundered skiff could meaning of not be else. upon the word. . it Eliot himself notes that it is doesn't amount to much. All this amounts. an assembly ground. The weakness is profoundly characteristic. * odd idea insistence intellectual. The two conceptions do not very well agree . He : illustrates the point (though he simile doesn't say so) in a footnote to a line of the long he quotes one reproduced above) night-founder d. I cannot help thinking. it is transferred from travellers on land to adventurers by sea. a military area. significant if the poem attains to significance at the level of the promise. Dr Tillyard has called 1. draws a permissible comparison between travellers lost in the night. and seafarers in extremity. The weakness. but a justification for attributing intellectual mastership. in a majorway. skiff.

and I find the that the diversion strengthens anything is say logic specious. straining for images of hugeness. Therefore the diversion strengthens. Miltonic similes don't focus one's percep- The force of that 'therefore' seems to me To inapt tion of the relevant. conscious or unconscious. would make Mr Eliot s present claims tor him look odd. or sharpen definition in any way : that. Any writer. instead of weakening. Other marks [of Milton's greatness] are his sense of structure. manifests itself in die looseness about illustrated and the best con- . talents. if duly considered. it seems to me that Mr Eliot is unconsciously exploiting the ambiguity. is the point to imagery*. just this [musical] as it relaxes our grasp of sense. his inerrancy. and not the least.22 THE COMMON PURSUIT demanding similar to find other instances see it comment. And I myself Mr Eliot's instance as being significantly ofthe passage to which the simile of which he says : belongs What I wish to call your attention to is the happy introduction of so much extraneous matter. be made about them. and in his syntax . and finally. energy. If they represent surely. In fact. might have thought of the whale. but only Milton could have included the anecdote of the deluded seaman without our wanting to put a blue in attending to the story of pencil through it. 'mind' is an ambiguous word. in writing so as to make the best display of his cealment of his weaknesses. if he unquestionably exhibits great 'night-founder'd'. We nearly forget Satan the whale Milton recalls us just in time. We have to remind ourselves that Milton's control of words by his meaning and that. illusory. then it is the kind of imagery that goes with the are happy about the introduction of so Miltonic music*. both in the general design of Paradise Lost and Samson. To be power able to control so many words at once is the token of a mind of most exceptional energy. . and misleading . the impulsion towards doing so deriving from an uneasy awareness (betrayed in that insistence on 'intellectual') of criticism to be brought against Milton that. * much extraneous matter because the Miltonic music' weakens * * We our sense of relevance. the passage. But mastery is more conclusive evidence of his intellectual than is his grasp of any * deas that he borrowed or invented.

I think. More. and why it is so deplorable that literary students should be required to take that kind of thing seriously. One Father in order to go to the argumentative speeches of God the the point that such an undertaking was one for which Milton had no qualifications. 'Milton's central theme denied him He can read the myth (or make a valiant attempt to do so) in terms of Passion and Reason. unaccommodating and heroically self-confident. and. is not really interested in the achievement of precise thought of any kind he certainly hasn't die kind of energy of mind needed for sustained analytic and discursive thinking. the twin principles of his own humanistic think- . of Paradise Lost meant for Milton. Yet the : subject tially. in many forms. subject been so often remarked' [as that of the subject of Samson]. inevitably and essen- the undertaking to assert Eternal Providence And justify the wayes of God to men. believe that it has anything to do with intelligent literary criticism. Professor Waldock seems to me unanswerable when he says that the full expression of his the theme cut clean against them : deepest interests'. What the choice of subject illustrates is that lack of selfknowledge which gives us such obvious grounds for saying that in Milton we have to salute character rather than intelligence for character he indisputably has he massively is what he is proud.MR That 'inerrancy* structure') is ELIOT AND MILTON * 23 will leave aside for the time (I being the sense of to me an astonishing proposition. : no knowledge meets us. Those speeches do doesn't need to make indeed exhibit fied to it is him as (considering his offer) ludicrously unqualimake even a plausible show of metaphysical capacity. That is why the ardours and ingenuities of the scholars who interpret Paradise Lost in terms of a supposed consistency of theological intention are so absurd. But in the 'versification' everywhere that the essential inaptitude Eliot appears : the man who uses words in this way has (as Mr virtually says) 'grasp of ideas'. The choice of subject presents it in other ways than that which I have specified. Mr Eliot makes the next paragraph) that he covers with it the choice of plain (in 'the complete suitability of Paradise Lost has not. in Paradise Lost. and devote any large part of their time to the solemn study of Milton's 'thought'. whatever he may suppose. The lack of self.

the from what most deeply of affairs that could a 'wayfaring Christian') to the celebration of state never have profoundly interested him. drawing him away absorbs him (effort. determining. * which. . the weakness (without calling it that) here : Adam than at this poem is he is bitterly.24 ing . and it occurs at the centre of the poem. . if one read Milton at full cock of attention) a false account of it Adam himself gives a false account of it to the Son the Son accepts it. The weakness meets us in a characteristic that everyone has noticed the personal quality that obtrudes itself in a good number of passages. requires us with the full weight but with the full and simultaneously . or concomitant. the life of the all that. weight of our minds to believe that Adam did right. It is as if the two. and the view he instructs us of the central episode of the myth provides notable illustration. levity. as Professor Waldock shows (it would be obvious enough in any case. The inconsistency can hardly be dismissed as not mattering in the world to which Milton has introduced us'. of course. THE but with COMMON PURSUIT myth obstinately remains. combat. . pride or lust. requires us. not tentatively. is discrepancy between theory and between the effect of a given crucial matter as Milton feeling to take of it. some of them among the most admired. and that he never persuades us does. weepingly with Milton himself more thoroughly with him. . His handling presents it. not half-heartedly . . uxoriousness. Professor Waldock illustrates At no point in the . they busy themselves (and would be an amusing spectacle if one authorities to know that they were whom thousands of students are expected to apply themselves deferentially) with. The didn't Miltonists. and it becomes the official account. as Professor Waldock says. After rendering Adam's fall with affecting pathos he gives. don't it see the problem in this way . of our minds to believe that he did wrong. The result. if a word can't be found to cover both Adam and Eve. just what Adam's sin is to be called gregariousness. Conflict between feeling and theory is not the only way in which a radical lack of integration manifests itself in Paradise Lost.

without any doubt. declaiming. own stance*. where he seems 'to be giving of his own subwe have the clear marks of Milton's failure to realize his undertaking to conceive it dramatically as a whole. that unwittingly he was led away by the creature of his own imagination* and he feels (to my mind with perfect tightness) that 'it is not would be hard Satan. will accuse. more than conscious disapproval. trouble It is quite other : to say about but he does not see 'how we can avoid admitting that Milton did partly ally himself with Satan. but chiefly. coalesce. more than conscious recognition. as he writes of [Satan] to be giving of his substance. In these passages. Not that the great Satan of die first two books isn't sufficiently dramatized the . He remains in the poem too much John Milton. even keel. but he can give of his own substance everywhere. in the lines of Abdiel. The balance is disturbed the poem. a part of which he disapproves and of which he was quite conscious'. now in the lines of the other. 1182) weak indulgence Again: Milton seems to us often. and Satan is the cause of it. for example. and whose voice perated indictment we hardly know : in that final exas- Him who to And left to She first his Thus it shall befall worth in Women overtrusting . the Satan of the address to the Sun near the beginning of Book IV being a different one different in con- . (IX. insisting. Dr Tillyard is not with the to quarrel with * what Dr Tillyard has Satanists'.MR ELIOT AND MILTON it is 25 author and character. : enough to say with Saurat that Satan represents a part ofMilton's mind. if evil not brook. arguing. between Satan and Abdiel in Books V and VI we feel Milton now in the lines of the one. instead of being on an . The feeling of most readers would surely be with Dr Tillyard that there is in all this. capable of and depersonalizing the relevant interests and impulses absorbing of his private life. In those altercations. thence ensue. suffering. And Professor Waldock points out that the Satan ofthe first two books appears no more. Lets her Will rule restraint she will herself. and protesting. has a pronounced list. The best known example of his 'own substance' getting the upper hand and becoming a problem is in Satan.

not satisfied that this substitution balance of Milton. detail. leave to Paradise Lost ? Milton has so little self- knowledge and the is so unqualified intellectually. with tie result that the 'balance is disturbed' and very badly. That 'epic poem'. too much for it'. . are made to hiss. classical and traditional suggestion of qualities goes with those words. what wholeness. which Professor Waldock enforces with minute observation and analysis. as Professor Waldock shows in sympathy. make obstinate fact that Paradise Lost is an epic poem much difference to the of singularly hard and would be our first definite outline. can. As a result of the conflict between feeling and theory Milton's treatment of the Fall is such that Professor Waldock has to conclude : cannot take the strain at the centre. gives the clue to a large part of the Paradise Lost is a classical epic it is epic.26 THE COMMON PURSUIT restores the proper ception. the undertaking to treat the chosen theme in an epic on the classical model illustrates very monumental : a strong strikingly the peculiarities of the Miltonic genius that made strongly against . what gives the idea its plausibility Professor Waldock to say : But it is perhaps worth asking what makes it possible for Nothing of this. expressing itself (or so at least impressions) with unmistakable clarity and point. gets out of hand (and a closely related misfortune overtakes God the Father). conflict. it seems to me. And yet he seems to diinJc that Milton can be credited with 'architectonic' just as Mr Eliot 'Paradise Lost the theme is speaks of Milton's 'sense of structure'. that his intention at the level (the intended significance of the poem) ofjustifying ways of God to Men'. Actually. The attribution looks to me no better than a mere inert acquiescence in convention: 'architectonic' power has always been taken to be Words the mark of the Miltonic genius. a major element in the poem. What radical 'consistency*. do these criti- cisms. But. used in that way seem to me to have no meaning. explanation : I think. intervenes constantly to incite a disparaging view of Satan to 'degrade' him. the extreme instance of the 'technique of de- gradation* being the pantomime trick in Book X by which the infernal host. with disastrous consequences to both poem as such and intention. Satan. breaking into applause. it breaks there. and what he actually contrives as poet to do. .

MR clarity ELIOT AND MILTON 27 and outline (at least. his massive egotism and his conviction that nothing but the highest enterprise was worthy of him for the Renaissance poet and scholar the form must be the epic for the dedicated voice of the chosen English people the theme must be the greatest of all themes. and. seems to have had some difficulty in persuadhimself that he was taking it seriously. says that the poem *has enough left. it illustrates the peculiarities that lead us to say that the word for Milton is 'character' rather than 'intelligence*. Waldock Having elaborated his criticisms. in the others. muddle and vagueness. a use of paradoxical association of this 'character' with that tends to the reverse of 'hard and definite outline' language has much to do with the strength of Milton's influence in the The nineteenth century his prepotence in taste and practice in the period of English poetry to which Mr Eliot's work put a decisive . it cannot justify talk about 'architectonic'. and in reading Paradise Lost we are rarely unconscious of the author. the Miltonic character may be invoked it certainly suggests massiveness and a 'hard and definite outline'. On the other hand. and made for inconsistency. To put it in a positive way. But. after pondering such an undertaking. But what it left ? There are the first two books. surely. Professor Waldock. And it is natural to associate our sense of the whole characteristic enterprise with our sense of has : the character. numbers of 'beauties* major and minor. implicit criticism incurred by his intentions in the attempt to realize them could have permitted him. On the one hand there was his heroic self-confidence. to When he came to the war in Heaven even Milton. whatever is left. in any complex whole). only : . to stay it against anything we can do*. in all conscience. which are of a piece and grandly impressive. and toforesee the absurdity of the part would have been to forswear the whole. or Milton's 'sense of structure'. as Professor observes. a great capacity for unawareness unawareness in the face of his own limitations. and the impossibilities. 'hard and definite outline'. persist in it. in the 'Conclusion* to his book. And if more is to be said by way of explaining illusions to the contrary. Yet the war in ing Heaven is an essential part of the epic conception.

or rather. and that make Tennyson's. For there is something decidedly Tennysonian about the handling of the medium in Hyperion. not to promote critical 'And the study of Milton could be of no help it was only a light. that he had to give Milton much of his critical attention. insidious ! call a speciously judicial refusal to judge And we can never prove that any particular poet would have written better poetry if he had escaped that influence. Mr Eliot. as it did. As if it were a matter of deciding not to study Milton The problem. who 'had the consciousness to perceive that he must use words differently' from Tennyson and Swinburne. is it sensible to repine for an unwritten masterpiece. rather. in exchange for one which we possess and acknowledge ? What we can say. major his. as I have noted elsewhere (Revaluation. in its way of being at the same time Tennysonian and Miltonic. reference to Tennyson has much point. belonging. that Keats would have written a very great epic poem if Milton had not preceded him. pp. that constitute the proof of his recognition for Keats's greatness. and must. That his admits. THE own COMMON PURSUIT critical attitude I technical preoccupations as a poet entailed a towards Milton. to the climate of the habitual and 'natural'. of course. put side by side with a decidedly minor one. if he hadn't of putting the beautiful first Hyperion behind him. 267-8). offers the critic. as I said. any representative passage of which. that is. because it seems to challenge his way of putting things : calculated. genius. Mr Eliot. artist's humour'. Even if we assert.) Along with this misleading formulation goes what I can only me. in his recent paper.28 end. hindrance'. he wouldn't have been capable of the qualities that are the strength of the ode To Autumn and of the induction to the revised Hyperion. was to escape from an influence that was so difficult to escape from because it was unrecognized. had at the same time the consciousness that enabled him to name Milton for immediately relevant criticism. in so far as we are bent on getting been capable with the remark that 'Milton's verse cannot be written but in an artful. an admirable way of bringing home the fact of Milton's predominance in the Victorian age for in Tennyson we have the Victorian main The . (That didn't mean. what can only be a matter of faith. is that.

. and his 'music' ('the emphasis . says ELIOT AND MILTON : 29 Milton in Tennyson. as the symbol of a spiritual superi- be much more . But he. to be worth much. is associated with and Tennyson had his specific original genius 'he knew'. and emerges from that period to a subtle predominance in the Victorian age. on the sound') was as the type of serious accepted poetic expression. The Tennysonian Palace of Art had no attractions for him. Tennyson himself defined his ambition as being to bring English as near to the Italian as possible. and he states in his criticism a view of the function of the poet that postulates something very different from the poetry of the Victorian 'otherworld' . with unmistakable moral unction. . ought to know life and the world before dealing with them in poetry . he aspired to be among 'the great sage-poets of all time'. He offers the Scholar. Shelley.... like Milton. Spenser. the creation of a modern poet. In the ease with which he reconciled the two bents we see the Miltonic inheritance as in the readiness with which the nobly-phrased statement of 'thought' and moral attitudes in sonorous verse (the 'emphasis . . but holds for us is that Arnold so clearly intended it than charming. upon the word. : every one can see that a poet . on the sound. appears in varied forms in the great poets of the Romantic period (it asserts itself plainly in Wordsworth... . . Arnold was not an original poetic genius he was a very intelligent man with a talent of the kind that provides evidence of what cultivated people in a given age feel to be 'natural' in modes of poetic expression. as in Keats. everything about Latin versification that an English poet could use* and had a 'unique and unerring feeling for the sounds of words'. . . But Arnold's the significance to characteristic poetic it achievement may fairly be represented by The Scholar-Gipsy. Mr * the idea') has a highly distinctive quality. implies a great critical effort behind it.MR current. had other than musical preoccupations . Coleridge. take a long separate essay to provide the historical for these last suggestions (obviously valid as they appear backing to me) in an examination of the Miltonic influence as it passes It would through the eighteenth century. It must be enough here to adduce the case of Matthew Arnold. not Eliot. Keats and Byron). This is a charming poem. and life and the world being in modern times very complex things.

it is but the notion of distinctively poetic expression that in. when writing verse. poetry. Arnold himself was an adverse critic of die prevailing tradition. : How can so intelligent a man as Arnold have been capable. in this 'iron time'. to have tried. of the . but unable to be in essence anything but relaxed. such intellectual debility. suffer Which much the sick fatigue. To the just-pausing genius we remit Our worn-out life. had 'one aim. have all that Arnold knows about it. one desire' his powers were 'firm to their mark'. while being a medium for intellectual statement for the presentment of 'thought' such as might have been expressed in prose. The Scholar-Gipsy. For him. the 'aim' and the not'. one business. differs from prose (we can see) in not imposing any strict intellectual criterion.30 THE COMMON PURSUIT and an ideal ority . I are what we have been. of such as mean. are insistently told. who. the languid doubt. in rigour and force. And tired upon a thousand schemes our wit. He has his own personal style. The Scholar-Gipsy exposes? He exemplifies with peculiar force the general habit and tendency of Victorian poetic. when we are considering the question weak confusion. and Significant clue. And what the Scholar-Gipsy really symbolizes Victorian poetry.The inferiority. alas. but he was not the 'man of genius' by whom alone 'expression is altered'. a superiority that makes him an admonition 5 for 'us . a charm of relaxation. vehicle (so often) of explicit intellectual and moral intentions. But it 'mark' are mere abstract is mere telling. forms it is quite normally and ordinarily Victorian. in much been baffled. reminders of Milton as this : Till having used our nerves with bliss and teen. a holiday and what the poem from serious is aims and exacting business. relaxing and anodyne. And that is postulates: 'thou hadst what we. He exhibits the Scholar as clearly in drifting about the Oxford countryside 'For early didst thou leave the world' actually offers is an eternal week-end. we . brings. Various true influences are to be seen in the diction and phrasing of The but the significant clue is to be seen in such obvious Scholar-Gipsy.

And it seems that the altering could not have been done by a poet hadn't arrived at the judgments about Milton expressed in and he did so by me Mr Eliot's early criticism. of course. and that consequently he has the duty so to judge. in Victorian poetic. at the same time. out of whose varied achievement emerged the Victorian poetic tradition. to be essentially preoccupied with the evocation of a poetic 'otherworld'. But the compensating cannot be clearly distinguished from a process that combines exaltation and an effect of heightened significance with an actual relaxing of the mind. Of course. Milton's moral and intellectual prestige. as Mr Eliot himself has pointed out. had his own special exposure to Miltonic influence in his cult of Wordsworth. it may be said that Milton cannot be held responsible for Victorian bents that made him congenial as an influence. whatever they suppose. should be plain. Arnold. It was my Mr is Eliot who made us fully conscious of the weaknesses of that tradition. tended. plain to who who 'altering expression'. need not be enlarged on here. and his power over the English mind. But his poetic was normally Victorian. 9 * cognize the Miltonic influence. though conscious of an intellectual appeal. so that the reader. for 'music' and yet for statement. just as see in those seems plain to me that people judgments merely regrettable prejudices (now outgrown) don't. The relevance of our earlier examination of Milton's use of language. But that the critic has every ground for judging the point Victorian poetic tradition to have been unsatisfactory in this and that way. we have to re. sonority and of phrasing.MR intellectual content finish ELIOT AND MILTON 31 is compensated for by nobility. really appreciate Mr it . found the grand Wordsworth of the Immortality ode and the 'platform' sonnets more positively congenial than the Wordsworth of Lyrical Ballads and. doesn't notice any need for compensation for the nobility and sonority go with a subtly 'musical use of language the emphasis' is sufficiently 'on the sound' to save the 'idea' from close scrutiny. For in a tradition or habit a use of language that seemed to the age 'natural' which could do with a critic of Arnold's intelligence what the Victorian poetic did with him there is a potency that calls for a Milton to explain it. which favoured nobility. That prestige and that power had been refreshed by the great poets of the Romantic period. and consideration of his case should bring home the force of the contention that.

And I find it hard to * believe that salutary lessons in verse structure' or in the avoidance of 'servitude to colloquial speech' are likely to be learnt from a master in whom 'there is always die maximal. and the be ignored or unperceived. Paradise Lost and Its Critics above. 'It [poetry] might also learn that the music of verse is strongest in poetry which has a definite meaning expressed in the propercst words'. where that lesson has been judged to be necessary. the late Professor Waldock said that of course lie hadn't was afraid drawn the consequences of enough about what he had done. As for the possibility of Milton's becoming now a profitable study for poets. To recommend. the study of Milton seems to me merely inconsequent. he . his findings : he daren't . alteration of ordinary language' who departs so consistently and from speech that the sensitiveness and subtlety of rhythm that depend on an appeal to our sense of the natural run are forbidden him. never the minimal.32 THE COMMON PURSUIT a clear Eliot's creative achievement* And there is. I am convinced. I am convinced. And the lessons he it proposes as the profit of frequenting Milton would. And that point suggests to me that an effective concern for the future of English poetry must express itself in a concern for the 1 present function of criticism . for itis the weakness of that function during the tary and lessons to 1 last essential discriminations to pass twenty years that has permitted die most elemenunregarded. I should have been more shy about questioning such a suggestion when offered by Mr Eliot if he himself had appeared to offer it with any conviction. Milton has been made the keep of an in a letter to the present writer. The lesson of 'freedom within form'. in that early criticism (which bore significance in the association so closely on his technical preoccupations) of comments on the weaknesses of Victorian verse with the judgments on Milton and with the display of positive interest in poetry exemplifying 'the intellect at the tip of the senses'. would be better learnt from the study of Mr Eliot's so far own verse. But the terms in which he phrases it are curiously large and general. to the criticism passed on his Replying. seems to me. anti-critical defensive system. be more reasonably sought elsewhere.

or permitted (that is. any fineness of perception and one. it 'authority' authority must be remembered. to defend literature to defend the classics and the literary tradition against the academic mind. . The defence is admirable in itsek coming from the editor of in : 1 The Miltonic Setting. when the quality of the literary studies encouraged at the academic places of education has an obviously important bearing on the prospects of literary culture of humane culture generally). and certainly not less important than it has been in less desperate times. The professional student of letters. So when Dr Tillyard 1 adduces Sir Herbert Grierson (in a large and varied company of supporters Tillyard seems to think that numbers strengthen his case and recruits even from the Dr Sunday newspaper) as pronouncing with peculiar authority on the critical questions concerning Milton's verse and its influence.IN DEFENCE OF MILTON TO-DAY. a kind that is not constituted. the also. in matters of curricula. one can only reply that the genuine respect in which one holds the editor of Donne doesn't confer on him authority of that kind : Professor Grierson has one peculiar advantage in writing on Milton. it is correspondingly important. instruction and at the high seats of learning is rarely qualified in relation to his subject with one very relevant kind of authority (I had almost said the indispensable kind. Having edited and praised Donne he camiot be suspected of giving untested allegiance to the old poetic hierarchy of the seventeenth century which the Metapliysicals were accorded an inferior place. It is this that gives a peculiar force to his defence of Milton against modern defamation. but things are as they are). This is limitations : judgment. and need not be asserted or claimed he is rarely a good first-hand critic or even a good second-hand examination : a truth we are often reminded of by the evident ofjustly respected scholars a man may do work that exacts the gratitude of us all as readers of poetry who yet betrays a lack of any developed sensibility.

' probably I do not recall these things wantonly. We read there. have been at least as surprised as myself when he came to p. I shall be taken as returning the note of im. E. and it is one of the most puzzling passages in the whole of Milton . a necessary point. and especially to the passage (see p. perhaps. A. is susceptible with the reference to of something less disqualifying than the obvious interpretation I refer him to the Introduction (so valuable in various ways) to Metaphysical Lyrics and Poems of the Seventeenth Century. who has all the scholarly virtues. At the worst. xxxiii) in which Professor Grierson agrees with Professor Gregory Smith that 'the direct indebtedness of the courtly poets to Ben Jonson is small. patience and asperity perceptible in his comments on What is there to say. after the appropriate quotation : the opening of L Allegro. with all due respect to Professor Grierson. then. . Housman. has no claim to be treated as a critical authority on the verse of the period or any verse ? But I must add at is once that Professor Grierson. but in order to make. incapable of original critical extravagance or of any of the kinds of critical originality for which Dr Tillyard's book is remarkable. metres of the 'metaphysicals' must have grated as did those of his friend Browning . if he has read the book. If anyone should think that this remark. except that the scholar my own who commits himself to such pronouncements. criticism. . what possessed him that he should That y is . distinguished authority on seventeenth-century matters as he certainly is.34 THE it. and he must. I imagine. the limitations being apparent in (to take a recent piece of evidence) this from the Preface : sentence to the Oxford Book of Seventeenth Century Verse on whose fine ear the Palgrave's chief and best guide was Tennyson. COMMON PURSUIT otherwise been quite sealed up Donne it may penetrate ears which had against I am obliged to comment that on Donne himself Professor Grierson speaks only with a limited kind of authority. and a distinguished poet of our own day has in a recent lecture indicated clearly that his judgment is more in agreement with that of Tennyson than with that of tne admirers of Donne. 8 of it.

he exhibits a characterist c that has a charto be defined in terms of opposition to disinterestedness we cannot imagine as impairing the scholarship of Professor Grierson. to what end ? There is nothing in the rest of the poem that suggests I humour at least of the burlesque sort. The accumulation of scholarship 'work on' about and around the great things of literature is in any case. As * for the strange can only say that the deserial makes the modesty that he expresses elsewhere about his to discuss eighteenth-century verse appear wellqualifications judged. a matter for misgiving. but it never occurred to me to have doubts about his intention or touch in that opening paragraph. obviously anticipation' that successful. in relation to the it must permit myself change that follows. for all the measure one may recognize of the relevant and illuminating. And if he meant to be funny. But it is no mere academic deficiency. that is. The explanadescries. Dr Tillyard regrets. whom (as I have intimated) I take as representing the academic virtues. in effect. he failed dreadfully. in defence of Milton. that can explain so fantastic an exhibition. he knew what he was doing. The problem. to comment. be die libraries and reading-lists reverse of an aid and an encouragement to humane education and acteristic that . these remarks. can only have the effect of discrediting the writer's very large critical pretensions. If. in his Preface. however. no mere lack of ability to perceive. as a uniensure that the versity teacher should be especially aware. that seems to me. Did anyone ever before find that passage puzzling ? I do not myself rank L' Allegro (or II Penserosd) very high among Milton's works. that he has had 'no room to refer to more than a fraction of the recent work on Milton' that has interested him. I Dr Tillyard tion comes when Dr Tillyard imparts his discovery that the themes 9 of L Allegro and II Penseroso were derived from one of Milton's If there had been no such discovery of a Latin Prolusions. is to of such work shall not.IN write such bombast DEFENCE OF MILTON j ? 35 By what strange anticipation did he fall into the manner of the worst kind of eighteenth-century ode If Milton meant to be noble. 'solution* would there have been any problem to solve? The answer is plain. which seems to me. he can only have meant to be funny. convicts himself of something worse than a deficiency. The discoverer.

In so far as Dr Tillyard is that he is an accepted authority is a likely to be influential (and reason for discussing him) I think this aim deplorable. I must here Tillyard's aim come to Milton's defence (and tradition's) myself. but it seems to me an odd defence that offers to rob the English tradition for such is explicitly Dr of that unique heroic figure. he is offerway major explicit undertaking is to unsettle the tradiing to do. is To that I will make a point of attempt to suggest what this as Dr Tillyard conceives it and attributes it . effect apparent in the knowing what. in the book is that of his never of discussible theme. if possible. maintaining in his age an aloof and majestic self-sufficiency. is peculiarly establishing. it deplored. and leaving virtue of 'awareness' it alone for die future. after should have been better pleased if Dr Tillyard had pointed out the blunder in my analysis. is he altogether ? the changes Milton made in his style correspond to the general just If trend. As for my alleged insistence that poets should be 'aware of the contemporary situation. ought he to be grudged the virtue of this 'awareness* ? (p. Being likewise so insistent that poets should be 'aware of the contemporary situation'.' I assure him that. to me. to pillory the style of Paradise Lost as exhibiting a shocking proceeds decline in vitality and flexibility. it was certainly without any suspicion of what it would look like in the context given it by him. he takes no account of what the changing ideas of the age demanded. In these conditions anything sets out to establish the indispensapproaching the spirit that and seeks fresh impedimenta with a of fresh ability impedimenta view to to be seems A concomitant really their indispensability. neither the critic's nor the scholar's disinterestedness. For Dr Tillyard's Milton has no greatness. He merely produces a Milton of his own very much his own and with a truly notable assurance commends him to us as the up-to-date substitute for the great Milton. 137. and assert that Dr Tillyard nowhere produces anything that can be called a reason. In fact.) I When Dr Leavis. Dr Tillyard's interest in his projects shows.36 THE COMMON PURSUIT the vitalizing currency of the classics. if (and the suggestion surprises me) I have indeed used the phrase. tional notion of Milton as a lonely genius. He supposes A himself to be defending Milton. and is very much preoccupied with being up to date : an excellent analysis of a passage in Cotnus.

bowed once again to public opinion in order to be at one with his age. This is rather a complicated instance. Mr Eliot. and the certitude are admirable the critic who aspires them and the ease with which the criteria that of the 'best' and that of the apparently discrepant are (time aiding) reconciled and glide into one. they may look on it with initial favour rather than with their present And when he comes to to public opinion repugnance. : 37 Milton is to invite the charge I will confine myself to some representative quotations Paradise Lost he must needs once again bow and write in a style remote from the virtuousness of his epitaph on Hobson.) Anyhow the whole onus of choosing it (the style of Paradise Lost) is commonly thrust on Milton. If some readers can realize that he chose it for the very opposite reason. (p. for Mr Eliot has been accepted by the age. 122. not merely that he was right to stick to his convictions. 204. in each of his various changes of manner. which indeed has got as far as Mr Auden. but that his convictions were right. And a preoccupation with solidarity is somespirit that Dr thing I have to is insist on as a main characteristic criticism. (p. he accepted contemporary opinion and. For all I know. is so important a figure in modern poetry because. but I am certain that he disliked going against the best contemporary practice. for the most part.) Quite rightly he stuck to his own convictions [Dr Tillyard is dealing with Milton's failure to conform to fashion in the matter of the heroic couplet]. Dr Tillyard will see nothing absurd in this suggestion. It so radical a habit that he tends to rest of Dr Tillyard's on it even in .) . 121. Milton 'rightly went against the best contemporary practice. one gathers. but he must (we do him die justice to grant) have felt that it was wrong to do so and in any case. in tackling his problems of style. from the point of view of to-day's best contemporary opinion it is seen. ceased charging Mr literary Bolshevism. Tillyard applauds as Milton's would cultivate Eliot with solidarity has. and it is some years since the best opinion the kind of opinion with which a critic practising in the That 'best' to awareness should ponder ' . (p. in order to be at one with his age. Perhaps a simpler illustration is to be found in a modern poet who has been more immediately influential than Milton was.IN to DEFENCE OF MILTON of parody.

he writes : Dr Leavis (who is a better critic when he encourages us to read Carew or Pope than when he puts Spenser or Shelley on the index) . Blake. Jonson. Gilbert Murray and Miss Maud l Bodkin) that Milton is. the essay in which he undertakes to confute my account of Milton's Grand Style by showing (with the support of Lascelles Abercrombie. the latest critical apparatus of confounding the 'modern' critic with an ultra-modernity is most apparent. See p. worthy 1 to find reasons for recommending accepted authors 1 hope Miss Bodkin's Archetypal Patterns are not going to become a pan of the 'modern critic's' outfit. Housman. A. . E. For example. something alive and passionate. is Dr Tillyard's way of referring to the fact that I have criticized Shelley adversely and to the deduction that I set a This lower value on Spenser than on Chaucer.' etc. and even of showing a certain pioneering audacity in developing. Byron. It is a way that no self-respecting critic should permit himself. Yeats and Eliot. 'A second primitive feeling may be deduced from the architectonic power which critics have so often praised in Milton* There is something quite uncommon. .38 THE COMMON PURSUIT those places where his consciousness of applying. 55. there is no doubt that Shakespeare would James fare the better. Again. or *a richer share than Donne of those fundamental qualities of mind that appear to have im2 this essay begins (p 43) mediate contact with the forces of life' : judged Shakespeare and Milton by the standards of Henry and Virginia Woolf. But such a sentence (and the formula is repeated more What does than once in the book) couldn't have been written and left standing if the author hadn't been more concerned with the response he was relying on than the thought he supposed himself to be expressing. Wordsworth. Crabbe. this mean ? Perhaps by dint of questioning and sugsome discussible proposition could be elicited from Dr gestion Tillyard. a few lines further on. William James. a Cf. . in his assumption that praise(I Dr Tillyard at the same time. Pope. in the thorough manner in which Milton shapes and finishes off his plot. it should be it is left to the Sunday reviewers. or may be plausibly argued to be. remarkable for 'primitive feeling'.

since his account . Miltonic blank ordinary piece of stiffjointed. this is not a topic I wish to pursue. and I will content myself with asking those who have condemned eighteenth-century Miltonics without having given the matter a great deal of attention to read (or re-read) Dr C. and learn to admire.IN DEFENCE OF MILTON 39 cannot sec why he should have been convinced by the reasons I give in favour of Carew and Pope) and reprehensible to criticize such authors adversely. conditioned as it was. Deane's Aspects of Eighteenth-century Nature Poetry before they reiterate their condemnaI am tion. but if I read it more assiduously I might like it better. scientious sense of literary tradition). (p. However. analysis and every appearance of con- . that Lycidas and the Ode to a Nightingale of Keats's ode are almost identical in structure and significance (though Milton let his despairing emotions prey on him quite so thoroughly . Anyhow. eighteenth-century poetry did well to model itself in part on. as I and everyone I have consulted judge it. he insists on blending with them a measure of dogma and a conindeed. with a show of analysis (I am perhaps prejudiced here. is liking for the Miltonizing blank verse of the eighteenth of the generous inclusiveness of the project) (in spite affects me as being like a miscomprehending and ruinous adaptation of the analysis which I myself elaborated two or three years ago). 114. To his phrase about 'putting on the index' I might retort that Dr Tillyard pursues the steady aim of putting on the list of works that students must drudge through. it is. with enthusiasm. For instance. And it may well be that. pedantically-gaited verse that. I think. Milton. (p. So might others who have said hard things of it. V. supplied plenty of evidence of it in this book. 36. he is capable of convincing himself.) That a century not beyond Dr Tillyard's powers to achieve I am sufficiently convinced he has. everything that he sees a chance of disinterring from literary history.) does not a fairly Again. seems to me to exhibit one of the most deadeningly academic traits of the academic mind. This representative passage will suggest the spirit and manner of his book : not especially attracted by the Miltonizing blank verse of the eighteenth century. I have not the slightest faith that by refusing to imitate Milton it would have developed powers that it does not now possess.

But what of Arcadia ? Even if it attempts to be an epic. 118) that . (p. . (sensitive once more to the trend of advanced opinion in his day) reacted against the riot of verbiage that makes the Elizabethans and Jacobeans so Milton own exhilarating. in the realm of criticism and scholarship. does it succeed I answer that. and so sympathizing I should call the poem an epic. pronounces superlatively resensitiveness markable for expressive of movement. (p. when he says (p.40 viction. for anyone who has the leisure and the patience to read it ? slowly. Outside Shakespeare and a few passages of the Elizabethan drama such perfectly modulated blank verse is not to be found in English. only it make any vital contribution to the English There seems no point in arguing here. ask certain obvious questions (Spenser. I will only state my own view that if the English Epic. Donne and Fletcher? Marlowe ? Ben Jonson ?) and suggest that an argument about style that starts comfortably with so large a feat of assimilation can hardly be expected to lurch into closeness and But I will acuity* . Shakespeare.) Although the Davideis is a better poem than is usually allowed. The unfailing vitality of the prose rhythms matches the unfailing enchantment of Spenser's metre. lost all sense of what an argument properly is. became anywhere a recognized academic subject of study. it does .) . in one particular does epic. it seems. With that shift I sympathize. or the English Epic Tradition. COMMON PURSUIT on pp. anyone who had furthered that end would have deserved ill both of the literary student and of Milton. 158. and refers to 'the antiquated method of profusion '. The truly monumental instance find in this book of the tendency is : to new burdens for the literary student Dr Tillyard's offer to bestow on him an English Epic Tradition Now in recent years there has been a distinct shift of opinion towards taking the Faerie Queene as something more than a pretty series of pageants and allowing it to speak for a whole civilization. 132-4. One can. THE Dr Tillyard. And that there seems no point in arguing with Dr Tillyard is what I have to say generally between die unsatisfactory nature of his interest in poetry and his concern for an ultra-modernity of critical method he has. 162. of course.

the the world around it. I will merely. or the object of art at all.) One gets used. say that Dr Tillyard's arguments. 128) that a charge brought to-day against Milton English poetic diction. Even l Professor Grierson performs at my expense a substitution. or 'the tone of ordinary speech' excuse for supposing that I hold the 'language given anyone any of small talk' to be 'the basis of all good poetry' (p.IN DEFENCE OF MILTON 41 not go on accumulating such annotations. seem to me to be elaborating merely an incomprehension of the issues. 43. (p. of course. I think. to having attributed to one for demolition views one has never advanced and never held. or to attribute to (what seems to me a different thing) 'in a conversational style and that I have never. although . 119).. must receive allied with Spenser. taking the above illustrations as a sufficient warrant. 21) nor . when he undertakes to dispose of either Mr Eliot's views or my own about Milton's verse. modern or other. and does it in full view. to be can I to bring into consciousness. 5 .) or has urged against Milton as a poet that he does is not show a simultaneous awareness of the four senses to what going on in the street outside. Cowper. through Keats and Tennyson attention . believe that any critic. And perhaps. Having said (p. to bring out the significance of what we have enough witnessed in our time the reconstitution of the English tradition by . has held the 'sole object of art'. in case I should be thought to accept the views that Dr Tillyard seems me (or 'the modern critic'). I had better add that I have nowhere complained 'that Milton did not finally write Paradise Lost in the style of Shakespeare' (p. (p. .. in various forms of Milton. from Thomson and Akenside to Wordsworth and. 1 Milton and Wordsworth. . is that he has broken the tradition of he quotes this passage from me : The predominance through Gray. 48. . to maintain in daily traffic of an it intelligent mind with an unrelaxed awareness.

What I mean by diink I have made ciently plain . and. These poets seem to me to exhibit between them a wide range of differences and to have written good poetry in a variety of manners. the Court poets and Marvell. Donne. or that Shakespeare has latinizing lines and . the fact seems to me plain in itself. by P. in their different ways. and I cannot see what excuse he has for supposing me to make Donne the model and criterion: 'The seventeenth century of Shakespeare. That I myself believe there may be more dian one kind of good poetry might. a vital relation to speech. to die living language of the time. Middleton and Tourneur'. suggested (p. But all these manners have. of Ben Jonson. diat Milton docs not latinize as much as suppose. have been gathered from that paragraph of mine which Professor Grierson then quotes. But surely these would have been out of place. as Drummond for example (as the late Professor This W. and surely there may be more dian one kind of cinative subtleties good poetry. In his own age Donne not regarded as a preserver of the English tradition but.42 THE COMMON comment PURSUIT of the reopening of communications with the seventeenth century and so on. 127) : But Mr Leavis may mean that there are not the passionate ratio- of Donne's songs and elegies. an innovator. in any case. as if he were dealing with some proposition advanced in my paragraph. in Dr some people phrases. . Milton invented a medium die distinction of which is to have denied itself the life this I still of the living suffi- language. immediately before. He has already. Tillyard's vein. having expressed himself unable to conjecture what I mean by talking about 'Milton's habit of exploiting language as a kind of musical medium outside himself'. Middleton. The tradition of English poetic diction Chaucer had been renewed and enriched by Spenser as established . it is a fact that seems to me unaffected by any amount of And arguing. Ker insisted). Donne. I diink. I might have added. Shakespeare. And Professor Grierson goes on in this way. Tourneur He was proceeds at once to : is a claim difficult to understand exactly. by .

122) with the modern cult of Dryden. p. and when we note the close affinities between Keats's Miltordzing style and the Tennysonian. following as it does on the suggestion that people who disagree with him about Milton do so because they haven't read Milton enough. and that it is the only book I carried steadily in my pocket between 1915 and 1919. in its : incomprehension. . Perhaps I had better put it on record that the pocket Milton I have referred to in writing this essay is falling to pieces from use. from which I have explicitly dissociated myself. impertinent. and once for the sound. 2 though he criticizes views he produces as mine and quotes the passage reproduced above. 91-3) about the close of Lycidas and the passage from Paradise Lost. Mr Eliot makes the point admirably. I 1 *Mr Eliot says that you have to read Milton twice once for the sense. 132). and Dr Tillyard's sally is. giving a sufficient answer to Dr Tillyard's arguments (pp. Professor Grierson. 2 He even seems to associate me (see p. does not consider that argument (which has a closely woven context) and Dr Tillyard's discussion of what Keats says in the Letters doesn't affect it.IN DEFENCE OF MILTON - 43 What is meant by saying that Milton exploits language as a kind of musical medium 1 outside himself and that his influence predominates in the nineteenth century comes out clearly enough (as tried to show) when we compare Keats's Miltonizing Hyperion with the induction to the revised version and with the Ode to Autumn. Might not further readings yield a more unified result?* (The Miltonic Setting.

or the preface to it. the censers send ! the sanctuary side O feel-of-primrose hands. O feet That want the yield of plushy sward. : The elements of Keats of tasty in Hopkins is and very striking Palate. . even in his originality. poet born in 1844 was a Victorian: if one finds oneself A proffering this chronological truism to-day. Vision of Mermaids. shows him starting very in a Keatsian line. the centenary year of his birth seems a proper occasion for attempting a brief explicit summing-up. the crust So fresh that come in fasts divine ! Nostrils. the nature and significance of Hopkins's work. invoking a background contrast for Hopkins. Perhaps. formal evaluation may be judged a needless formality. indeed. it will perhaps be granted. the hutch lust. It is now timely to ask just apt to express itself only a what that place is. His school poem. a normal young contemporary of happily A Tennyson. However.GERARD MANLEY HOPKINS Hopkins has a permanent place among the English L poets may now be taken as established beyond challenge academic scholarship has canonized him. once it has been fairly looked at. Matthew Arnold and Rossetti in the association of which three names. your stir careless breath that spend Upon What relish shall Along the and keep of pride. the idea of 'Victorian poet* takes on sufficient force and definition to give that 'normal' radical its point. than an insistence. and the love of 'a continuous literary decorum' has forgotten the terms in which it was : decade ago. it is less likely to be a note of irony. not being very notably obscure. when the current acceptance of Hopkins goes with a recognition that something has happened in English poetry since Bridges' taste was formed. of Ins time. : Desire not to be rinsed with wine The can must be so sweet. on the essential respects in which Hopkins was.

in an age pervaded by Keatsian aspirations and influences. Yet the prompt strength. transience with these he is characteristically preoccupied : Margaret. nor mind. Margaret you mourn . can Ah It ! as the heart grows older will come to such sights colder By and by. p. ghost guessed : It is It is the blight man was born for. Hopkins notable advantages over and Matthew Arnold as a 'nature poet'. A contemporary reader. child. for. you With your fresh thought care for.GERARD MANLEY HOPKINS But you shall 45 walk the golden street And you unhouse and house the Lord. are you grieving Over Goldengrove unleaving ? you ? Leaves. if we can imagine it published at the time of writing. Wreck of work The Actually. beauty. is there. Nor mouth had. in its developed manifestations. doesn't same his idiosyncrasy develop themus with Keats's name so obviously. . no. might very well have judged that this very decided young talent was to be distinguished from among his fellow Victorian poets by his unique possession. the body of the mature Deutschland onwards in which Hopkins's distinctive bent and selves. Now no matter. expressed What heart heard of. These stanzas come from an 'Early Poem' printed by Bridges immediately before The Wreck ofthe Deutschland. Such a Victorian reader might very well have pronounced him. the poet's thing like that for the poet (Keats was someTennysonian age). the name : Sorrow's springs are the same. than the derivatively the make themselves. Nature. 48). of the essential Keatsian strength. nor spare a sigh Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie And yet you will weep and know why. this strength clearly being native and inward. like the things of man. This descripTennyson tion is Mr Eliot's (see After Strange Gods. and it is applicable enough for one to accept it as a way of bringing out how much It is a strength that gives Hopkins belongs to the Victorian tradition. unmistakably a poet born a poet in- comparably more Keatsian could like Keats.

to any age degree heightened and unlike it. the hutch of tasty lust plain. This preoccupa- . and so essentially poetic. pleasant to have. is an age in which the genius conscious enough to form a contrary ambition is likely to be very conscious and very contrary. wholly taken up in the hearing. language is explicit the confirmation was is . is well-known : 'His style and rhythms lay the strongest stress of all our literature on the naked thew and sinew of the English language'. This fact has an obvious bearing on the deliberateness with which Hopkins. this use of assonantal prostaple habit of his art. be the current language heightened. land of poetic action or enactment that Hopkins developed into a have it. a strength of expressive texture. In modestly What heart heard of. starring with that peculiar genius. : though hardly necessary seems to in the Letters (to that the poetical language of the Bridges. The age in poetry was Tennyson's and an age for which the ambition 'to bring English as near the Italian as possible' seems a natural and essentially poetic one. So too is the affinity between this last-quoted line and the 'bend with apples the moss'd cottage trees* in which the robust vitality of Keats's sensuousness shows itself in so un-Tennysonian. That he was consciously bent on bringing back into poetry the life and strength of the living. the spoken. His praise of Dryden (CLV) held by Bridges to be no poet. claiming no credit.46 THE COMMON PURSUIT Here the disrincriveness and the idiosyncrasy might seem hardly to qualify the Victorian normality of the whole (though Bridges couldn't permit the second couplet see the improved poem that. As we here. its relation to the sensibility and technique of gression. but not (I mean normally : passing freaks and *it me graces are another thing) an obsolete one'. as the an example of a ghost' becomes the guessing. ghost guessed. LXII) shd. where the heart. of course. * Palate. Hopkins was born and died in the age of Tennyson. he prints in The Spirit of Man}. set himself to develop and exploit the modes and qualities of expression illustrated the distinctive expressive resources of the English language ('English must be kept up'). we have. becomes it.

how many ways and days ! This very representative poem illustrates very obviously the of Beauty. over and beneath. and the relevance of the differences to the business of the literary critic is best broached by noting that they lead up to the complete and staring antithesis confronting us when we interest in pattern place Hopkins by Under Rossetti. By sea or sky of woman. In what fond flight. to be taken up again in due course. where love and death. Terror and mystery. pursued by a Victorian poet intensely given to technical ex* periment. But this is not the whole story. guard her shrine. would go far to explain the triumphs of invention. he differs notably from both Tennyson and Matthew Arnold.GERARD MANLEY HOPKINS 47 don. thee How passionately and irretrievably. In the matter of religion. the extravagance and the oddities of Hopkins's verse. though it can be left for the moment with this parenthetic recognition. of course. Rossetti's shamelessly cheap evocation of a romantic and bogus Platonism an evocation in which 'significance* is . in whose Thy voice and hand shake still long known to By flying hair and fluttering hem the beat Following her daily of thy heart and feet. Here is Rossetti : the arch of Life. in as simply as Hers are the eyes which. The sky and sea bend on thee which can draw. praise is that Lady Beauty. demanding immediate notice there is a head the postponement of which till now may have surprised the reader. I it drew my The This allotted bondman of her palm and wreath. Here we have a head of consideration that calls for some inquiry. Meanwhile. His bent for technical experiment can be seen to have been inseparable from a special kind of his own term was 'inscape'. to one law. It is impossible to discuss for long the distinctive qualities of Hopkins's poetry without coming to his religion. I saw Beauty enthroned and though her gaze struck . awe breath.

'Beauty' it is a bankrupt's lavishness) exemplifies in a gross form the consequences of that separation of feeling the source of 'genuine poetry') from flunking which the ('soul' Victorian tradition. indicated by the emotional and sensuous quality saying that in Rossetti's verse we find . But there is something that can be seen. as the focus of the real. embraced as his own philosopher. in its full concreteness and individuality. 'death'. a vigour of at the same time a vitality of con- The relation between this kind of poetic life and his remanifests itself plainly in his addiction to Duns Scotus. traditionally indicated for a Jesuit. and said. carries with it. felled. and profundity an uninhibited proffer of large drafts on a merely nominal account ('Life'. are all felled. . Victorians. at once : Hopkins's religious interests are bound up with the presence in his poetry of a vigour of mind that puts him in another poetic world from the other creteness. 'love'. the dedicated poet of the cult. When we come to the hierophant of Beauty. 'mystery'. that a vitality of thought. poets who often think they are thinking and who offer thought about life. Of the philof Duns Scotus it must suffice to say here that it lays a osophy peculiar stress on the particular and actual. we have somepredecessor of Pater who formulated the credo. 'terror'. and that its presence is felt whenever Hopkins uses the word 'self (or some derivative he significantly verb) in his characteristic way. nothing more of the 'hard gem-like flame' than in Pater's Hopkins is the devotional poet of a dogmatic Christianity.48 THE COMMON PURSUIT vagueness. Binsey Poplars provides an instance where the significance for the literary critic is obvious. rather than St Thomas. For the literary critic there are consequent difficulties and delicacies. worse than debility. The poplars are All felled. ligion whom. The attendant debility is apparent enough in Tennyson and Arnold. religion and morals of Arnold in particular the point can be made that what he offers poetically as thought is : dismissed as negligible by the standards of his prose. It is is the thinking intelligence. And there is not only a complete thing nullity in respect of thought nullity a wordy pretentiousness (Rossetti made aggressively vulgar by is officially credited with 'fundamental brainwork') may be prose. in its 'poetical' use of language.

her being so slender. and the devotional interest has plainly the kind of relation to the discussed. and Swinburne. Rural scene. . Ten or twelve. like this sleek and seeing ball But a prick will make no eye at all. even where we mean To mend her we end her. only ten or twelve Strokes of havoc unselve The sweet especial scene. even if they Matthew Arnold. Hopkins embraces transience as a necessary condition of any grasp of the real. And wisdom is The Victorian-romantic addicts of beauty and transience cherish the pang as a kind of religiose-poetic sanction for defeatism in the face of an alien actual world a defeatism offering itself as a spiritual superiority. There is plainly a context of theological religion. When we hew or delve : After-comers cannot guess the beauty been. scene. These qualities the literary critic notes and appraises.GERARD MANLEY HOPKINS and Hopkins's lament runs : 49 O if we but knew what we do When we To delve or hew ! Hack and rack the growing green Since country is so tender touch. Where we. Tennyson. we have seen. The concern for such a grasp is there in the concrete qualities that give his poetry its vitality which. a rural Sweet especial rural scene. But the activities that poetic qualities that has just been make Hopkins unlike go on within this context. involves an energy of intelligence. what you may do. called fair. what you now are. what. That. Rossetti. whether or more about Duns Scotus than he can gather not he knows any from the poetry. Time 'unselves' them. All the beauties Hopkins renders in his poetry are 'sweet 'selves' in the poignant significance their parespecial scenes*. do what you may. Nor Do can you long be. early to despair. Browning. ticularity has for him.

his ! To It is die simplicity of the single-minded and pure in heart. [The Enemy. which always have the opposite effect). conditioning the system of tensions established within it. can hardly imagine Hopkins entertaining.50 THE COMMON PURSUIT We don't do so by making him in any radical way like T. and these are those of a devotional poet. since Christianity continue to modify itself. For Hopkins the truths are there. unless we are to shuffle names altogether.! cannot see that poetry can ever be separated from something which I should call belief. and to believe anything (I do not mean merely to believe in some "religion") will probably become more and more difficult as time goes on*.. the kind of preoccupation conveyed by Eliot when he says :*.. It takes application and a kind of genius to believe anything. The majority of people live below the level of belief or doubt. It is a framework of the given. the difference). etc. into something that can be believed in (I do not mean conscious modifications like modernism. how fain I of feet youngster take his treat Low-latched in leaf-light housel his too huge godhead. Forth Christ from cupboard fetched. It should hardly be needful to say that it will not inevitably be orthodox Christian belief. and we are not surprised to learn that as a preacher he was apt. although that will probably possibility can be entertained. And Hopkins's habit is utterly remote from Eliot's extreme discipline of continence in respect of affirmation the discipline involving that constructive avoidance of the conceptual currency which has its exposition in Burnt Norton..] The stress of the 'terrible sonnets 'hasn't this kind of context. simply and irresistibly demanding allegiance real though it is no simple matter to make his allegiance and complete (this seems at any rate a fair way of suggesting . His preoccupation with this frame is of a kind that leaves him in : a certain obvious sense simple-minded Here he knelt then in regimental red. Eliot. in his innocent unconsciousness. January 1927. and to which I cannot see any reason for refusing the name of belief. Its manifestations can be very disconcerting. to put intolerable strains on die gravity of his congregation. even in a remotely theoretical way. as in the past. It appears in the rime of the stanza immediately preceding that . S.

or most. makes his 'nature poetry' so different from Tennyson's and Matthew Arnold's. once the has been taken. along radically metaphorical habit of with concrete strengdi from which it is inseparable. This very very day came down to us after a boon he on late being there begged of me. and that is a matter of making them do and be. is not to endorse Lord David Cecil's view that Hopkins is difficult because of his difficult way of saying simple things. they become inevitable. Mother to an English sire (he Shares their best gifts surely. for instance. He can be metaphysical in the full sense . It in my bestowing. of course. relates him to Herbert rather than to Eliot it goes with the 'frame' spoken of above. symbolism that gives his poetry qualities suggesting the seventeenth century rather than the nineteenth. in the first of The Wreck of the Deutschland. he tells me. it must be with the recognition that he has at die same time a very subtle mind. as. because of the run-over of the quote the two preceding) A bugler boy from barrack (it is over the lull born. conceits and metaphorical first there are a fair . but hardly necessary. this to a First Communion* ties unjustifiable takes a Bridges to find all. unlike Browning's ingenuities. day to it I say. notably in stanzas 4 to 8. fall how things will). Even a poet describable as 'simple-minded' may justify some complexities of 'doing' and 'being And if we predicate simplicity of Hopkins. It is a habit of seeing things as part . The mind and sensibility that. to : 51 quoted (it will be necessary. The subtlety is apparent in the tropes. and. he is preoccupied with what seems to him the poetic use of them. overflowing My Boon Came. triumphandy. they are often triumphant successes in that. and it has to be conceded more generally that the naivete illustrated has some part in the elaborations of his technique. Neverthenumber of the order of boon he on -communion.GERARD MANLEY HOPKINS just sense. of Hopkins's riming audaci. to remark that for Hopkins his use of words is not a matter of say ing things with them . he is. It is relevant. cease to call attention to themselves (that poem in the less of these two stanzas is a passable ear-rime). To say this. of Irish There) boy bugler.

in a passage that gives us the word : what strikes me most of all in music and design what I am in the habit of calling at in poetry. Of the development of 'distinctiveness' in verse he himself says. 2nd Edition. but a matter of explicit and ordered conceptions regarding the relations between God. But behind Hopkins there is no Ben Jonson. would favour the vice. for lack of adeit of hyperof technique. Now it is the virtue of inscape is what I above all aim design. or inscape to be distinctive. is still more than the obvious more unlike Crashaw his : the expression of a refined and dis'metaphysical* audacity and there is no temperamental reason why it ciplined spirit. Isolation. melody. to be seventeenth-century in the time of Tennyson is a different matter from being it in the time of Herbert. not a romantic vagueness. It is an inveterate habit of his mind and being. This vice I cannot have escaped. by since the word associates the idea of 'pattern' with Hopkins's disIt may leled tinctive stress on the individuality or 'self* of the object contem- . pattern. a significance not yet touched on. 96. pattern. It is as if his intensity. or he might have added. We to a certain restriction in the nourishing interests help relating behind Hopkins's poetry.52 THE COMMON PURSUIT charged with significance . Of course. be replied that his concern for pattern in verse is parala concern for pattern (or 'inscape' we had better say. and he has for contemporaries no constellation of courtly poets uniting die metaphysical' with die urbane. is in painting. [See Poems. and it is the vice of distinctiveness to become queer. it can't may be suggested. which has a dignified * oddity such as one might have taken for affectationif ithadn't been so obviously innocent and unconscious. finding its intellectual formulation in Duns Scotus. so design.] But as air. 'significance' here being. man and nature. p. Hopkins's unlikeness to difference whom involves a great He is deal of temperament. expressed itself in a kind to formal pattern. shouldn't have been accompanied by something corresponding to Herbert's fine and poised social bearing. But the peculiar development of the interest in pattern or 'inscape' has. and in an excessive imputation of significance trophy quately answering substance. His dis~ tinctiveness develops itself even in his prose.

This seems an unanswerable point. But his interest in nature to call attention to that is to make the same point again. Shape nothing. What is revealed as 'nature poets' it will be said. his distinctiveness comes out : the limita: tion goes with the peculiar limitation of experience attendant upon his early world-renouncing self-dedication : Elected Silence. be lovely-dumb : the shut. But even here. keeps. and teases simple sight. Pipe me to pastures still and be The music that I care to hear. to * Mr Eliot's description of him as a nature poet' one is virtually recognizing that a significant limitation reveals itself when a poet of so remarkable a spiritual intensity. a disposition of clouds plated) in the sights that he renders from nature renders in drawings as well as in verse and prose. Poverty. is limited. sing to me And beat upon my whorld ear. It is lips . be thou the bride And now the marriage feast begun. half-protestingly. is The force of this last point manifest in the ardent naivet6 . And. The Habit ofPerfection. 53 a tree.GERARD MANLEY HOPKINS . Hopkins's power to transcend the poetic climate of his age in spite of the force of his originality he is a Victorian poet. which. from the remainder of the 'Early Poem'. eyes. And lily-coloured clothes provide Your spouse not 5 laboured-at nor spun. so intense a preoccupation with essential human problems. in the opening of this essay. with double dark light : And find the uncreated This ruck and reel which you remark Coils. gives 'nature' the 'nature' ofthe so large a place in his poetry. stanzas were quoted in is illustration of Keatsian qualities). In assenting. in respect of his limitation. eloquent. the curfew sent From there where all surrenders come Which only makes you Be shelled. a waterfall.

54 THE : COMMON PURSUIT schoolboys and his with which he idealizes his buglers. And wears man's smudge and shares man's smell : the soil Is bare now. not spent on other tilings Free from the sick fatigue. in the midst of which he spends his life. Matthew Arnold : might. . one desire. his old schoolmaster. Addressing Hopkins. have trod . ical other-worldliness. Firm to their mark. . very naturally. England England. have trod. Meeting him in 1882. Dixon. But this unworldliness is of a different order from the normalother-worldliness of Victorian poetry. And for There all this. unworldliness. the not a mere postulated something that. nor can foot feel. The 'firmness to the mark' is 'mark' * is really there in Hopkins's poetry . being shod. confers a spiritual superiority upon die eternal week-ender who. . nature is lives the dearest freshness never spent . deep down things . . says 'In so far as I can remember you are very lite the boy of Highgate'. Fresh. sailors. It is a bent away from urban civilization. And in his bent for 'nature' there is after all in Hopkins something of the poetical Victorian. without the radical confusion symbolized in his ScholarGypsy. smeared with toil . the languid doubt . one business. different though it is from Victorian poetdoes unmistakably carry with it the limita- tion of experience. fluctuating idly without term or scope' among the attractions of the countryside. and which. . with powers . . . we are to grant. . And all is seared with trade . he regards with repulsion : Generations have trod. To Hopkins it might have been said with some point : Thou Yet this hadst one aim. wife . parallels in his indolent poetical way the strenuous aimlessness of the world where things are done. bleared. undiverted to the world without. have said : For early didst thou leave the world. whose honour To my creating thought O all my heart woos.

and the sterile deadlock. generous man. back now to his isolation we have not yet taken account of it. but hardly transmutable by Hopkins's kind of need (or Hopkins's kind of humility) into an impressive critical endorsement or an adequate substitute for a non-existent tice. confidently and consistently discouraged him with water of the lower Isis' 'your criticism is . only a protest memorializing me against my whole policy and proceedings' last seven years of (xxxvii). to has an obvious Bridges). down To man's last dust. contemporary prac- To come full he was isolated in a way of impulse. a good and Hopkins's life. are breaking. and the climate of taste and ideas : peculiarly calculated to starvation . But they have little more actual presence in his poetry than this strange disease of modern life' has * in Arnold's. It is not merely a matter of his having had no support or countenance in accepted tradition. But from this all-important ties. his life-long friend and ning correspondent. the overpromote and ingrown idiosyncrasy. and it says everything .. lapdeveloped sing into stagnation. As against this we can point. To these conditions the reaction ascetic is the reverse of Blake's : of so tense and disciplined an he doesn't become careless. it came at the beginand it was final.GERARD MANLEY HOPKINS And in The Sea and the Skylark 55 he says : How these two shame this shallow and frail town How ring right out our sordid turbid time. drain fast towards man's first slime. life's pride and cared-for crown. Robert Bridges. Being pure ! ! We. but 'Then again I have of my self made verse so laborious' (LIE. for the to the enthusiasm of Canon Dixon. : Have lost that cheer and charm of earth's past prime Our make and making break. (And here the following from CLXVI . religious context he got no social endorsement as a poet the episode of The Wreck of the Deutschland 'they dared not print it* is all there is to tell.. : * : public. As a convert he had with him a tide of the as a Catholic and a lite (he could feel) Jesuit he had his communithe immediate and the wider. Towards these aspects of human life his attitude he is very much preoccupied with them is plain.

thwart me ? Oh. no. thou lord of life. banks and brakes Now. It seems reasonable to suppose that if he had had die encourage- to poetry a good deal of the energy that (for the last years of his life a painfully conscientious Professor of Greek) he distributed. look. . and birds build but not I build . and less singular. and the passage is clearly to be related to Bridges) this other passage. I wonder. O That there is a relation between this state of mind and his isolation. About the failure ofimpulse we : . and going no farther but it kills me to be time's eunuch and never to beget' (CXXX). . than thou dost Defeat. he writes (CLVII) 'All impulse fails me: I can give myself no reason for not going on. Time's eunuch. Lord. to 'when I must absolutely have encouragement as much as crops rain. See. and not breed one work that wakes. he himself knows : 'There is a point with me in matters of any size'. but strain. I should not mind its being buried. so what I plead is just. fresh wind shakes fretty chervil. to : THE COMMON PURSUIT : 'To return to composition for a moment what I want be more intelligible. . he writes (CXXIX. Why do sinners' ways prosper all I ? and why must endeavour end ? Disappointment Wert thou my enemy. O thou my friend. Nothing comes I am a eunuch but it is for the kingdom of heaven's sake'. itself so clearly related to the sonnet 'if I could but get on.) With the laboriousness goes in this sonnet one of his finest poems registered : Thou art indeed just. silenced. if I could but produce work. sir. the sots and thralls of lust Do in spare hours more thrive than I that spend.56 relevance there. afterwards I am independent*. How wouldst thou worse. : : are certainly in a position to say something. send my roots rain. The recurrence of the metaphor is significant. With leaved how thick lacd ! they are again Them Mine. is an the anguish of sterility audience*. if I contend With thee but. Sir. in a strenuous dissipation that undoubtedly had something to do with his sense of being ment he lacked he would have devoted time's eunuch and never producing. the absence of response. And again. smoother. between the study of music. life upon thy cause.

where. and few who could have elucidated it without extraneous help. when we consider his situation and the difficulties in the way of success deserves currency among the classics of the Actually. There can be few readers who have not found it strangely expressive. the flexibility. Technique here is the completely unobtrusive and marvellously economical and efficient servant of the inner need. 2 stantial of course. triumphantly justify die oddest extragavances of his experimenting. At the other extreme are such things as Toms Garland and Harry Ploughman. the pressure to be defined and conveyed. in the absence of controlling pressure from within. In between come the indubitable successes of developed 'inscape' The Wreck of the Deutschland (which seems to me a great poem at least for the first two-thirds of it). The Leaden Echo and the Golden Echo. 1 For he was certainly a born 'popular apparent in the Letters in ways the sensitive vivacity we could hardly have divined from the poetry. are the last sonnets the 'terrible sonnets' together with Justus es f the one just quoted. : language. the elaborations and ingenuities of 'inscape' and of expressive licence result in tangles of knots and strains that no amount of reading can reduce to satisfactory rhythm or justifiable complexity. His supreme triumphs. in their achieved 'smoother style'. at a lower level. instance. for naturalness. and that inscribed To R. the dis- combined with tinguished robust vigour. Henry Purcell calls for mention as a curious special case. drawing. word: it is not quite the (XXXV. These. Hopkins did 'produce' there is a subbody of verse.' to Dixon). a surprising preponderance of which surprising.GERARD MANLEY HOPKINS writer. This is 57 musical composition. and. . unquestionably classical achievements. and such task-work as writing a account of Light and Ether'. Consider. and the easy sureness of touch of the representative passages that arouse one's anthologizing bent as one reads. (who prints it with the unsanctioned and deplorable substitution of 'moulds' for 'combs' in the sixth line). B. 2 See The Letters of Gerard Maaley 'Popular 1 is not meant to be easy reading* ' Hopkins overleaf. The Windhover. It is not independent of the explanatory note by Hopkins that the note fresh Bridges prints yet when one approaches it with in mind the intended meaning seems to be sufficiently in the : .

19441 It with the explanation given by Hopkins in Letter XCVII The sonnet on Purcell means this 1-4. ' Low lays him ' is merely . the safces of him'. About Hopkins as a direct influence there seems little to say. but I never meant : I meant ' ' fair fall ' ' My it so. with own individuality. in peace with God so that the heavy condemnation under which he outwardly or nominally lay for being out of the true Church may in consequence of his good intentions have been reversed. ! * lays him low '. be in higher measure. centuries since though I frame the wish. it has since struck that perhaps fair is an adjective proper and in the predicate and can only be used in cases like *fair fall the day'. *Sakes' is hazardous: about that point I was more bent on saying my say than on being understood in it. And that not so much for gifts he shares. 9-14. that is/strikes him heavily. It is as when a bird thinking only of soaring spreads its wings ? a beholder may happen then to have his attention drawn by other musicians as for his * the act to the plumage displayed. because I love his genius. the dissatisfaction caused understanding. turn out fair. 5-8. 'Listed'. not to the application : I mean not One thing disquiets detailedly I was thinking of a bird's quill feathers. . at any rate. that is. line will yield a sense that way indeed. So that while he is aiming only at impressing me his hearer with the meaning in hand I am looking out meanwhile for his specific his individual markings and mottlings. love so much and which breathes or stirs so unmistakeably in his works O have parted from the body and passed away. The use of him by Left poets in die 'thirties was not of a kind to demand serious critical attention. weighs upon him. is 'enlisted*. especially in one of my best pieces. somewhat dismaying to find I am so unintelligible though. may the day fall. The * moonmarks belong to the image only of course.58 THE 1 COMMON PURSUIT by baffled poem to allay. In particular. the first lines mean : may he have died a good death and that soul which I May Purcell. even though it shd. . It is ' : me me to mean fair (fortune be) fall. by the by. I hope Purcell : : may be worth comparing the note that Bridges prints in the Poems is not damned for being a Protestant.

the completely gratuitous. Hopkins. to judge him the greatest poet of the Victorian age was a perverse and laughable eccentricity. See for instance the petty and superfluous '. For one thing. on the most solemn and critical occasion. own day which apes the discovery of kindred desolation/ Another it may perhaps be in place to record here. and a more doubthe has even been affiliated to the Martin Tuppers of our day whose scrannel pipes have infected the field of poetry with mildew and blight.' Professor Abbott nowhere risks anyful privilege thing more specific than 2 this. It is not. yet once again this it enforces the irony Hopkins has an editor hostility to And what Hopkins stood and stands for. orthodoxy to-day but even in the academic world it is a debatable proposition and an undergraduate. edited by Claude Colleer Abbott. To have said this without notable provocation would have been ungracious . though JL a classic has his name was pretty well known. Haifa decade ago. Professor Abbott goes out of his way to challenge plain speaking. developments last few in the years have been so rapid. it but the content and tone of the quite impossible to whole Introduction 1 make hope that. perhaps. implicitly alongside those of Keats. here areHopkins's letters 1 edited by a Professor of English Language and Literature and placed defiantly foolhardy. footnote on p. that so especially who betrays radical is once again. one is grateful for the services that scholarship can perform. being At any rate. xxvii). he says (both the air and the graces are characteristic) *is accepted by the young as one of their contemporaries. xxxviii : 'Petty and superfluous beside it is that clever and rootless verse of our 2 * footnote (p. might risk it without . runs (The Wreck .THE LETTERS OF GERARD MANLEY HOPKINS H E irony of the process by which an original genius becomes recent history of Gerard been exemplified with peculiar force in the Manley Hopkins (the history that did not start till thirty years after his death). in The Letters of Gerard Manley Hopkins to Robert Bridges. The Correspondence of Gerard Manley Hopkins and Richard Watson Dixon.

so long due course till we after his death because the are told. but it is certainly die business of criticism to get what general recognition it can for an example so obvious and impressive. the easy recognition the flattering sense of the placed and known. Hopkins had. that led him to agree to Mr Humphrey Milford's wish for an edition of Hopkins's poems. teaching by examples'. 1 and it was the wide success and printed sale of this anthology both in England and America. Bridges seven of his friend's pieces. will go on teaching and repeating itself. and even without the editor's insisting as he does. : . he intends a critical discrimination a discrimination against the derivative and insignificant. And then there is justice to be done to the heroic quality of : * Hopkins's genius. the stir of spirit that manifests itself in unfamiliar forms and does not permit. and to deal with it honestly is a critical duty history.60 THE He COMMON no room PURSUIT what he . and the knowledge that the time was now ripe. leaves us is for doubting that intends to discredit the influence (the source of infection) foolish to that what he fuss dislikes is the living force. there would have been no way of avoiding the unhappy theme. but instance about Professor would so clearly have scorned) to bolster a self-importance that feels itself threatened by all that Hopkins represents the disturbing new life. But in it ripened: 'In 1915. yet. and cannot doubt that he knew Cowper's. spite of the tropes in this unfortunate passage. After telling us 5 Those who check footnote pieces of pieces. It would be make a whenever the academic mind behaves is there Abbott's use of Hopkins a classical quality about this (whom as a contemporary he : characteristically. on p. in his Spirit of Man. to be kept waiting for publication time was not yet ripe. The volume of letters to Bridges itself. apart from the Introduction.' The world would appear to owe a very considerable debt to Mr Milford. It is central to a consideration of the letters. presents what should be a classical instance. But that 1 is not Professor Abbott's point. xix will establish that four of these were of the Deutschland being in question) 'Is it fanciful to hear behind his rhythm something of Campbell's Battle of the Baltic and Cowper's Loss of the Royal George 2* And indeed we know for a fact that he had read Campbell's poem.

Canon Dixon had. take means to it. rising to 90 in 1927. VIII. The price was twelve shillings and sixpence. until 1918 (Hopkins having died in 1889). and begin the process of getting Hopkins known. invented in our public panting to read poetry arbitrarily withheld. If Bridges had believed in Hopkins. if known widely known. Vllb. C . way of referring to one's kind . asses. nor did he want his friend's name to be environed by the barbarous noise X Of owls (a and cuckoos. 1 750 copies were printed 50 were given away 180 sold in the first year 240 in the second year . acted with generous and in embarrassing impetuosity (see Via. it does good. To produce is of little use unless what we produce is known. is the fact that the little clan was. own day. of a The taste of the "public" in such matters is always negligible/ was negligible too. had seen what the poetry was. the wider known the better. to one's . rather because remove from the characteristic verse and prose of the period. The last four copies were sold in 1928. We must then try to be known. on his first introduction to specimens. then an average of 30 a year for six years. apes and dogs ' thoughtlessly unkind . exhorting 'you and Canon Dixon and all true poets'. where Hopkins's own work was concerned. What may be but cannot be killed. standards are for public use. They are figures that effectively kill the legend. even in the unlikely places open to him. The legend. it does its duty. IX and the Correspondence).THE LETTERS OF HOPKINS that the 61 poems in the edition the "little clan" that of 1918 were 'read with eagerness by knows "great verse"/ he goes on: 'How small this clan was can be seen from the publisher's figures for the 1 edition. even if 'In tone and spirit this work was at a last or.' But 'Bridges did not wish the book to drop unheeded. convinced that publication. Education is meant for the many. which was not exhausted for ten years. VIb. . aim at it. Hopkins wrote this to Bridges in 1886 (Letter CXXXVI). during those thirty years. it did so without the help of the obvious procedure. he would somehow have contrived to get it published. if it existed. would affect others as he had been himself affected. ripened. given no chance to show its eagerness if time. to be standards. smothered. In the spirit of this. What are works of art for ? to educate. for it is by being known it works.

incorruptible and completely sel&confident. selected lines from 77. 3. Thus he can. Bridges' attitude to Hopkins's poetry is. a footnote tells us: 'part of 50. the second couplet. Miles 'Rightly to give Hopkins a place in the well-known anthology. truly incapable of the doubt. And Bridges' case no one could diagnose as one of uneasy self-importance. would have made some such alteration'. Poets the XlXth Century: he himself wrote the introductory of memoir to the eleven poems printed. aldiough he had behind him a history of sustained relevant controversy with Hopkins. and are grown to be intolerant of Poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins. He was. was wary walking there could be no more final exposure. a complete incapacity to doubt his competence or to suspect that the criteria by which lie condemns. when printing Margaret in The Spirit of Man.62 THE COMMON PURSUIT * 1 predecessors in the cult of a continuous literary decorum') he walked warily. a selection that gives a fair idea of die poet's range and wordi/ The 'eleven poems' were.' The reader who looks up these references in the and 44. and even in the Poems print a completely unauthorized improvement of his own. made plain will find that 50 . 31. pick out from Hopkins's sonnets the best parts and lines for publication leave out. are sonnets. 8. This. were printed. and 77. absence.' Robert Bridges. In 1893 he persuaded A. 26. 33. IX) 'people cannot. corrects and improves may not be appropriate. having (see note to 51 the improved version of which sonnet has been perpetuated) 'no doubt that G. or they will not. part of 44. part of 73. exhibits is condones. his sense of Form and his love of a 'continuous literary decorum' were uncompromising. : up to expect I know it from experience/ And Bridges is a superb example of what education will do for one his expectations his taste. 26 and 51. What he a complete security . 51.H. take in anything however plain that departs from what they have been taught and brought . then. 8. H. 1 as to 'For these blemishes in the poet's style are of such quality and magnitude deny him even a hearing from those who love a continuous literary its decorum. from of which 'parts' which 'selected lines' were printed. 9. As Hopkins wrote to Canon Dixon (Correspondence. His incapacity was of the same kind as that ex: . . 9. sincerely intent upon doing his best for his friend and for English poetry. Poems enough in the 'Preface to Notes' in the Poems.M. of course.

that the attachment persisted in spite of a constant incomprehension and discouragement. : at the outset in 1877. memorable All this is distinction. but now your criticism is of no use. What. drew from Hopkins (XXXVH) You say you would not for any money read my poem again. Decorum for Bridges had nothing like the Augustan correlations it was a prim donnish conventionality. Bridges' critical attitude. remained letters. though with such confidence. That the friend to whom Hopkins cherished a life-long attachment had admirable qualities we cannot doubt. and a classical education in his time was so much more solidly and intimately related to English tradition and contemporary life than in Bridges'. * : . on the friend's This is not guesswork the evidence is part. not said wantonly. come to understand and sympathize sufficiently to be an intelligent critic. Hopkins was over-sanguine in supposing that familiarity would the strange more acceptable to Bridges that he would. have liked it better and sent me some serviceable criticisms. but we have at the same time to note. in following the is to divine what kind of thing and what kind of correspondent he is Hopkins answering addressing (Bridges' letters are not given us he is presumed to have destroyed them). 63 by Johnson with respect to Lyddas (or Macbeth] though the positives behind the taste in which Johnson was trained had so much more body and vitality. A year later Hopkins As for affectation. Besides money. If it is obscure do not bother yourself with the meaning but pay attention to the best and most intelligible stanzas. there is love. Nevertheless I beg you will. as the two last of each part and the narrative of the wreck.THE LETTERS OF HOPKINS hibited . all the way through essentially that this which. in appreciating its strength. and conclusive much more abundant than would pervasive suffice for certitude. . we have. If you had done this you wd. There is plenty of evidence to put certain important matters beyond question. To put it at the most obvious. being only a protest memorialising me against my whole policy and proceedings. of Hopkins's genius. guided by tips as to the approach. completeness and conviction of authority as to constitute a truly . I do not believe I am guilty has to write (XLI) make . Bridges represents is essentially the academic mind. it is plain. in fact. you know. .

is being imputed Try as for friendship's sake he might. and if the whole world agreed to condemn it or see nothing in it I should only tell them to take a generation and come to me independent/ find We : Canon : again/ It is. and I should be of Bridges' attitude given in sorry for that/ Clearly the account an earlier letter (LXXVII) is not less than fair: 'I always think (Harry Ploughman) like it you read in me know if there is Walt Whitman.64 : THE COMMON PURSUIT of it you should point out instances but as long as mere novelty and boldness strikes you as affectation your criticism strikes me as as water of the Lower Isis/ Criticism of that water was what we find him in 1882 (XC) Hopkins continued to get. make . For instance. a musical composition that is in question here. he could not himself understand or like what he was incapable of undersets in a tragic light the standing or liking and his incapacity of Hopkins's genius. as a matter of fact. Wait everything weighed they have taken hold of your ear and : is you will find it so/ Nevertheless Bridges. that The Leaden Echo and the Golden Echo does not explaining derive from Whitman: *I believe that you are quite mistaken about this piece and that on second thoughts you will find the fancied resemblance diminish and the imitation disappear. but the Browning's the whole. went on tracing affinities. . 'There is a point with me in heroic strength matters of any size'. . he writes (CXXIX). it Three years as later (CLII) let Hopkins writes : 'when anything perhaps there may be. months before the end Hopkins can throw out (CLXVTU). thought him opinionated and stubborn) that he had everything to learn. and in music Hopkins was ordinarily conscious (though the expert. / No guilt. That at least is my mind. it should hardly be necessary to insist. .' . * The long lines are not rhythm run to seed till and timed in them. your mind towards my verse is like mine towards admire the touches and the details. but in poetry he . offends me. I think it repulsive/ Six general effect. nowhere much hint of encouragement besides Dixon's. when consulted. and everywhere die spirit expressed here (CXXVII) 'it is a test too if you do not like it it is because there is something you have not seen and I sec. as a matter of accepted fact 'now that you disapprove of my yei'os as however that : I greatly : vicious . afterwards I am to Bridges. apparently. 'when I must absolutely have encouragement as much as crops rain.

Indeed. we : you always were and I see you still are given feel that he is in a position to say it. 'The sonnets are truly beautiful. and make me proud of you (which by the by is not the same as for you to be proud of yourself : I say it because to conceit) . by Hopkins's earnestness could be doubted by no one capable of reading the poetry.THE LETTERS OF HOPKINS knew 65 he knew with this certitude what he had done and what he was doing. 'I cannot in conscience spend time on poetry/ to difficulties. is an audience/ (CLXVI. that is. when he writes to Bridges (XXX). breathing a grave and feeling genius. But what is strange and unpleasant is that you sometimes speak as if they had in reality none for me and you were only waiting with a certain disgust till I too should be disgusted with myself enough to throw off the mask. . as But if you have made them and can solve which must be wrong. no matter/ them. 'neither have I the induce- . difficult to know just what the question is.) There is nothing of complacency about his sureness it goes with the rarest integrity and clairvoyance that is. 'To return to composition for a moment what I want there. It becomes. that to longer disputes think a man in my position is not in earnest is unreasonable and is matter again. That he nevertheless suffered (as a poet. having referred to the man who is deeply in earnest is not very eager to they say when a man is really certain he no but is indifferent. . he was well aware . *a assert his earnestness. and was not affected in his knowledge by finding himself alone in it.' 'However/ he writes five months later (XCIH). the question has been raised whether admirers of the poetry have not some grounds for lamenting that the earnestness was so complete. The complacency is not HopkinsV. and less singular. he writes to Bridges in 1879 (LIU). to be more intelligible. from lack of appreciation. injEact. perhaps ? This at any rate is beyond question serious (LXXXV) 'It is long since such things [religious rites] had any significance for you. with the : .'. Mere playful intimacy. And that is all I say now. as well as in the obvious sense) from isolation. rarest humility. The letters provide excuse for raising some question but the better one knows both the letters and the poetry the less ready is one likely to be to say anything. You said something of the sort walking on the Cowley Road when we were last at Oxford together in '79 it must have been. make a solution . one way or the other. smoother.

that I am in love with seldom. would do well before pronouncing to reflect upon the case of Yeats. plain too. in a sense. to content to be free ? devote his fife to 'poetry' . It never loath been Nor That Hopkins was far ever shall be. 'Then again I have of myself made verse so laborious. stands out as plainly in the it is from happy letters as in the poetry. Then again I have of myself the great made verse so laborious. love in ments and inspirations that moving power and spring of verse and the particular.' The delicacy of the issues is fairly suggested here. is full of a bitter sense of thwarting. Yeats. to cultivating was free 'free'. Neither could at any time have sung widi Bridges (whose interest in technique goes with his interest in spelling) : For a happier lot Than God givcth me. indeed. and rent Spontaneous joy and natural content Out of my heart. His characteristic dejection and fatigue. And The fascination of what's difficult Has dried the sap out of my veins. of sterile. issueless inner tension.66 THE is COMMON PURSUIT make others compose. it would be a sacrilege to do so. stirs my only person heart sensibly and when he does I cannot always "make capital" of it. but less hampered and gift essentially thwarted. one may note. Feeling. The critic inclining to venture that a Hopkins who had escaped being converted at Oxford in the eighteen-sixties might have devoted his life more profitably than he actually did a poetic die same in its strength. were associated with a sense of frustration. a kind of cross-word addiction something apart from the general quality and deeper concerns of their lives. especially now. would he have been a major poet ? Yeats's best work too. the one major poet of his own generation. but was he did he. feel himself to be essentially and if he had done. (See for VII on and example the extracts quoted from Letters CXXX CL .' The laboriousness of die art was in neither poet a wantonly strenuous indulgence.

but I have not lived up to it. Spelt from Sybil's Leaves and the 'terrible sonnets'. would bring go behind. She told me that when she first saw me she took me for 20 and some friends of hers for 15 . I am afraid . from volume containing his letters. any essential enlightenment to admirers of The Windhover. or beneath. (I met the blooming Miss Tynan again this afternoon. without even the hope of change' (CXXVH). for the disquiet and the thoughts of vain glory they may have given rise to. It is plain that this humour was un! congenial to Bridges and often offended his sense of fitness and decorum : 'But alas you will have been sickened by the vulgarity of my comic poems. three hard wearying wasting wasted years. apparent in the letters written from 'that coffin of weakness and dejection in which I live. we come away with sake. but it won't do : they should see my heart and vitals. A (Correspondence. 56. for the reserves I may have my heart made. I do not think that any or explain further or deeper. The itself as astringent vivacity of this is in keeping with Hopkins's characteristic humour the humour in which his quality manifests much as anywhere. At least. admire belonged to sacred or more binding duties. for the backward glances I have given with my hand may for the waste of time the very compositions you have caused and their preoccupation of the mind which upon the plough. especially of " the Church of . I have never wavered in my vocation. but whether I am not to undergo a severe judgment from God for the lothness I have in shown in making it. the genius. for Hopkins's The question for me then is not whether I am willing (if I may guess what is in your mind) to make a sacrifice of hopes of fame (let us suppose). the force and distinction of personality. XXI. It does not.) In those I have done God's will (in the main) and many examination papers. purpose may look smooth from without but be frayed and faltering from within. this reading the affection enough to Canon Dixon (for whom. gratitude) : and esteem and. This says all need be attempt to by itself suggest the play of energy. The heroic strength and come out in descriptions of the dejected state itself: distinction To-morrow morning I shall have been three years in Ireland. all shaggy with the whitest hair.) state he is explicit 67 About the nature of the conflict behind.) that said. however.THE LETTERS OF HOPKINS p.

in his turn. No : : better to say the Kamptuliconless courts or Minton's-encaustic-tileless courts or vulcanis^d-india-rubberless courts. . often it sickens one (though Rossetri himself I think had little of it) but still I disapprove of damfooling people.. .68 .) a Cf. The distinctly ungendemanly quality Hopkins's humour 2 asserts itself in the letters more than once at Bridges' expense. And if the critics said those things did not belong to the period you would have (as you have now with domeless) the overwhelming answer that you never said they did but on the contrary. so that it is needless to tell us that those on Olympus are domeless.) with*. and like a . who was at once a prophet and as a mechanician more than equal to Edison and the Jablochoff candle and Moc-main Patent Lever Truss with self-adjusting duplex gear and attachments. then remember that that fault is found in 9 your fast line. . narrows the mind. . I have a little medical anecdote that might amuse you. . meant to say that emphatically they had not got these improvements on Olympus and he did not intend they should. c which nevertheless you had to say the upshot is that you should not beg pardon. and that Prometheus. pardon* for giving must beg my Let us talk sense. . This episode reverberates a good deal 1 : Dearest Bridges. But if you " cannot see your way to this " frank treatment and are inclined to think that fault might be found with ctomeless. but (B) if you pardon it takes all the sweet out of it to say 'consistent : . 1 Cf. on the other hand. this commentary on the first line of Prometheus the Firegiver (*From high Olympus and the domeless courts') 'Coum can never be domed in any case.. This would strike a keynote at once and bespeak attention. . THE COMMON PURSUIT . That. the sense of integrity. etc. that those verses or some of them are strictly funny . (A) There is no need to beg my me the best advice you have to give. 'I have it now down in my tablets that a man may joke and joke and be offensive/ (CLXXI. still the feeling of innocence. Now about these blessed verses my brother Now Lionel once wrote that somebody's joke was 'strictly funny* staggered as I am and ought to be by your judgment. But I have in me a great vein of blackguardly and England" have long known I am no gentleman though I would rather say this than have it said' (LXXIV). But I am afraid we arc not in agreement about the strictly funny. the consciousness of rectitude have returned and I cannot help thinking. I think it is wrong.. though with hesitation and diffidence. suffer the following rebuke is all of in keeping : There is a good deal of nonsense about that set. (LXXVI. Bridges should. (XCVL) .

that you should be saying. whom I saw " amusingly played lately. perhaps you know. At any rate.) . I waved farewell. remarks of universal application must apply even to present company and one " all must die" and cannot well help remarking that they do I cannot say hearers and myself. who is so apparent in the letters : There was a lovely and passionate scene (for about the space of die trump) between me and a tallish gentleman (I daresay he was a cardsharper) in your carriage who was by way of being you I smiled. have been . Me. 1 It appears often as clarity of critical * : perception and direct force of expression. politely except my No. secondary images. mature. and what not of a delirium-tremendous imagination that the result is a kind of bloody broth you know what I mean.) That 'cardsharper'. but he would not I murmured with my lips in. expresses in 1 * its innocent way an It was too bad of you to think I was writing to you to tell you you were no gentleman. refrained because I diought it might look as if I wanted to draw a faint protest from you and because humility is such a very sensitive thing the least touch smutches it and well meant attempts to keep it from jolting. showing the critic but if anything further is to be given it had better be chosen to show the : . give like the duels of archangels) I saw suddenly what I was doing.THE LETTERS OF HOPKINS 'parvifying glass* I 69 makes us see things smaller than the natural size. superiority or donnishness. if I had wanted a conspicuous instance of a blackguard I should have taken but myself. perfectly poised and completely serious mind. I have more reason than you for disagreeing with him and thinking him very wrong.) Hopkins's humour is the humour of a disinterested. Either in fact he does not see nature at his hand all or else he overlays the landscape with such phantasmata. as here (CXXIII) Swinburne. do more harm than good . last . till with burning shame (though the whole thing was. sadly sincere and sadly truthful/ (C. has also tried without success. the born creative writer. like Mrs Malaprop. but beyond this I did not aim at you. as I say. Captain Absolute. but all the same I shd.' It would be possible to multiply illustrations of this kind." It is true. and has in it-nothing of defensiveness. there is no picture. artist. at him. (XCVEI. but nevertheless I am sure he is a rare genius and a great do not like your critic. like the Ark when the cattle shook it. And calling Matthew Arnold Mr Kidglove Cocksure. perhaps. that means me. (LXXXV. as I was going to do and to tell a good story too thereanent.

. for performance rather than mere reading. that has not been . One would think it might materialise people (no doubt it does make them or. to be admitted to intimacy with a spirit so pure. into "Idshed birch: upholding him against Bridges a poet (see CLXII). he explains in stands as Preface to the Poems. for literary purposes. courageous and humane. 'has. unless corrected in some way. they become materialists . especially in times like these. A classic is added to the language and it is indeed matter for rejoicing. but in fact they seem to end in conceiving only of a world of formulas.72 verse. . THE ?' COMMON Of Dryden. but that is not the same thing : they do not believe in the matter more but in God less) . rather I should say. not weaker. his style and rhythms lay the rod" or something strongest stress of all our literature on the naked thew and sinew of the English language/ His own verse. he aspired to compose music and devoted himself to the study of musical technicalities we even find him drawing he was for the last years of his life a Professor ofGreek he sent communications to Nature and he lets out in a letter to Canon Dixon (XXXV) that he is writing a 'popular account of Light and Ether' ('Popular is not quite the word it is not meant to be easy reading. he reiterates. quoting. an effect the very opposite of what one would suppose. is for the ear rather than for the eye. supplying examples 1 And they go so far as to tbjmk the rest as of mankind are in the same state of mind themselves/ . Hopkins's energy was certainly very remarkable. he says (CLV) 'he is who did not think him the most masculine of our poets . Not content with being as completely original a poet and as extraordinary a technical innovator as the language has to show. and his views on rhythm and metre a letter (XII) to Canon Dixon far more generally. Sprung rhythm'. PURSUIT which ought to be stronger. but greatness is unmistakably there. In spite of die letter-writer's repeated complaints of weakness and dejection the effect is of rich and varied vitality. with its being properly speaking in thought. * that satisfactorily than in the essay If this survey has seemed to comprise an inordinate amount of through any ambition of making an but rather to suggest what remains unexhaustive anthology. . 'The study of physical science/ he writes in die same letter. quoted.') 1 The letters do not produce the constant overwhelming impression of genius that Lawrence's do. . towards which die outer world acts as a sort of feeder.

more insidious deviations are possible. and they are (as the extant commentary bears wita kind that it is peculiarly difficult to discuss them ness) of such without shifting die focus of discussion to the kind of man that is SWIFT reason have a is most interesting in them does not so clearly realm of things made and detached that belong to the literary criticism. reference to the man who wrote is indeed necessary . . Gay. For opening with this truism I : I wish to discuss Swift's writings to examine what they are . it has become a classic for children. I the best chance of dealing adequately. but there are distinctions. several other men and two women : this should not be found necessary by the literary critic. misanthropy with the argument that Swift earned the love of Pope. But neither is readily agrees. degenerating In the attempt to say what makes these writinto something ings so remarkable. Swift was. with what is essential in Ins work. And Gulliver s Travels. a book which. one its dassical status for nothing. offered to discuss the nature and appears). What unawares. suitably abbreviated.THE IRONY OF SWIFT a great English writer. Arbuthnot. which has certainly not the less its duties towards Swift. an objection) a slight to the classical status of (to anticipate Gulliver's Travels. though it may represent Swift's most impressive achievement in the way of complete creation the thing achieved and detached does not give the best opportunities for examining his irony. without deviation or think. one may (it can easily avoid turning else. and that is. the late Charles Whibley irrelevancies not merely from the point of view of literary criticism are too gross to need placarding . But it involves also choice of tide. confusion. hasn't it for nothing that. What for the adult reader constitutes its peculiar force in so different a class what puts it for the most part in the fourth from Robinson Crusoe book (to a less extent in the resides third). But the irrelevancies of Thackeray and of his castigator. having import of find oneself countering imputations of Swift's satire. The reason for the opening truism is also the reason for the To direct the attention upon Swift's irony gives. For instance.

for instance. * English Prose Style. in Gulliver. is what we find ourselves contemplating : when elsewhere we examine his irony. confronts us in the Struldbrugs and the Yahoos. . in routine usage. or other aberration. it would appear. For diis formula the best reason some commentators can allege is the elaboration of analogies their 'exact intellectual satire' told what and elaborate propriety' 1 in Gulliver. not only telligence') registers. die pamphlets or pamphleteering essays in which the irony is instrumental. It seasoning. no doubt. are discussible in the terms in which satire is commonly discussed as die criticism of vice. the accepted word for Swift is that his is * intellectual'. but the political satire is. and of the negative emotions he specializes in. by the ironic be that which Swift. by some kind of reference to positive standards. it will be a shift of stress. to 'negative' in this last sentence is. but of the habitually critical attitude he maintains towards the world. To lay the stress upon an emotional intensity should be matter of commonplace actually. of course. be aware of ingenuity of political satire in Lilliput. directed and limited to a given end. precision and the matter-of-fact realness But what in Swift is most important. But a muddled perception . but his interest. aimed to supply in the bare Magazine of his narrative. apart from being more be of a different order from the critically conscious.74 THE adult COMMON PURSUIT first The may re-read the two parts. very teristic of the second book will not strike him as very subtle. with great interest. * We are told. even in the Argument. will. pre-eminently (though we are not satire is). will not child's. die disturbing characteristic of his genius. The Argument Against Abolishing Christianity and the Modest Proposal. * critical' is the more obvious word (and where 'intellectual' may 'critical' From seem correspondingly apt) notably. But even here. There are writings of Swift where observed. as he may Robinson Crusoe. of the mental exercise involved in his irony. is a peculiar emotional intensity that which. can hardly be expected to give a clear account of itself the stress on Swift's 'intellect' (Mr Herbert Read alludes to his 'mighty in2 a confused sense. the student of the Mariners and of travellers' relations. not even the more general satire characalive to-day. for instance. folly. a great deal enhanced. unless for historians. where : 1 Churton Collins. will . His He an much And main satisfaction.

'the elegant mythology of the Greeks') the Jews and early Christians are seen to have been ignorant fanatics. of for. uncouth and probably dirty. but the positive standards by reference to which his irony works represent something impressively realized in eighteenth-century civilization impressively 'there' too in the grandiose. rigid enough. The positive itself appears only negatively kind of skeletal presence. The reader. but contrasted with Swift's it is an assertion of faith. What he assumes in the Argument is . 'candid'. standards (those of absolute civilization) . not so acceptance of Christianity as that the reader will be ashamed to have to recognize how fundamentally a much common . 'humane') eighteen hundred years ago he would have been a pagan gendeman.THE IRONY OF SWIFT 75 Swift's ironic intensity undeniably directs itself to the defence of something that he is intensely concerned to defend. Gibbon as a historian of Christianity had. establishes an instead it understanding and habituates to certain assumptions. in the fifteenth chapter. of directed negation. point may be enforced is by the obvious contrast with except that between Swift's irony and Gibbon's the contrast is so complete that any one point is difficult to isolate. Swift's is essentially a matter of surprise and negation its function is to defeat habit. 'oddly'. Lytton Strachey. or 'curious'. by these standards (present everywhere in the stylized prose and adroitly emphasized at key points in such phrases as 'the polite Augustus'. to intimidate and to demoralize. Gibbon Gibbon's irony. on the other hand. with a Gibbonian period or phrase or word. Christianity. the effect is a essentially negative.) Gibbon's irony. superior. (When. 'elegant'. a 'remarkable'. as it were. he succeeds only in conveying his personal conviction that he feels amused and . then. assured and ordered elegance of his history. but without life or body . a necessary pre-condition. we know. is an eighteenth-century gendeman ('rational'. limitations . habituates and reassures. assures us that he feels an amused superiority to these Victorian puppets. is implied. ministering to a kind ofjudicial certitude or complacency. 'polite'. The decorously insistent pattern of Gibbonian prose insinuates a solidarity with the reader (the implied solidarity in Swift is itself ironical a means to betrayal). may be aimed against. The intensity The purely destructive. living by these same .

probably. is never resented for an offence by any. of course. now he has the scrupled it and what bailiff ever normal response. matter-of-fact tone in his intensities. being levelled at inhibits. since every individual makes bold to understand it of others. the unconsciousness of habit. What we are concerned with reminder is especially opportune) is an arrangement of words (die on the page and their effects the emotions. since defence that it is the victim* whose surprise we should be consuggests templating.76 THE made this COMMON PURSUIT unchristian bis actual assumptions. the discussion of satire in terms of offence and castigation. nevertheless. 'But satire. it necessarily entails some measure of sympathetic self-projection. the * Or ' * all. The dissociation which Swift delivers of emotional intensity from its : usual accompaniments inhibits the automatic defence-reaction He is a Presbyterian in politics. feel the effect of the an intensity in the castigator than as an effect upon a from the usual signs defines for 1 We the dissociation of animus A Tak of a Tub: the Preface. dispassionate. . What bailiff would venture to honour to be your representative before ? . If one irony according to the conventional notion of efficacy its satiric would be to make comfortable non- recognition. these has to be taken into account. had to justify then to recognize themselves unequivocally. and very wisely removes his particular part of the burden upon the shoulders of the World. victim and castigator. motives. though the idea of . but he arrest ? Mr Steele. is unprofitable. attitudes and ideas that they organize. But. impossible. Surprise is a perpetually varied accompaniment of the A grave. And in general the implication is that it would shame people if they were satire. which are broad enough and able to bear it*. and attitudes are. Our reaction. words victim as : more often. actually. let us say. no contradiction here a complete statement would be complex. is not that of the butt or victim . as Swift says. * There is. whereas it is our own. whether Swift's butt is Wharton or the atheist or mankind in general. and an atheist in religion chooses at present to whore with a Papist. method of surprise does not admit of description in an easy formula.

as they are in Calf. he is to be betrayed. a vivacity of diction. into an incipient acquiescence : Sixthly. It would increase the Care and Tenderness of Mothers towards their Children. as you so obligingly demonstrate. It vehemence and rapidity of mind. as sometimes we have to do. images. (as is to beat or kick them ready to farrow. to their annual Profit instead of Expence we should soon see an honest Emulation among the married Women. it is an effect directly upon ourselves that we are most disturbingly aware of. which all wise Nations have either encouraged by Rewards. which of them could bring the fattest to the . It is of a mode so distinct and peculiar. and in the contrast the pels the feelings appropriate a remarkably disturbing energy is generated. is the only kind of argument that appeals to you here are your actual faith and morals. to induce a trust in the solid ground before opening the pitfall. inexhaustibly surprising making again an odd contrast with the sustained and level gravity of the tone. nor offer too frequent a Practice) for fear of a Miscarriage. a copiousness of he afterwards never possessed. again and again. such as or never exerted. . If Swift does for a moment appear to settle down to a formula it is only in order to betray . When. *His Tale of a Tub has little resemblance to his other pieces. matter-ot-fact tone induces a feeling and a motion of assent. Time of Cows their Pregnancy. provided in some Sort by the Publick. or Sows when they are Men would become as fond of their Wives. How. that it exhibits a . Child the their to the Market. on consideration. The implication is : 'This. when they were sure of a Settlement for Life. This would be a great Inducement to Marriage. A sense of tension an extraordinary energy is the general effect of Swift's irony. comto rejection. comes now from one quarter and now from another. which turns this way and that. The dispassionate. or enforced by Laws and Penalties. at the same time. while the burden. during now of their Mares in Foal. we talk in terms of effect on the victim.THE IRONY OF SWIFT 77 our contemplation a peculiarly intense contempt or disgust. do you like the smell of them?' But when in reading the Modest Proposal we are most engaged. then 'surprise* becomes an obviously apt word . poor Babes. The intensive means just indicated are reinforced extensively in the continuous and unpredictable movement of the attack.

This last judgment may ' he has written'. as has been said. For the 'copiousness of images' that Johnson constates is. What Johnson at any rate serve to enforce Johnson's earlier observation that in the Tale of a Tub Swift's powers function with unusual freedom. action or blow that. vivacity of And whereas the mind of man. the presentment of action and actor. not well perthe frontiers of height and depdi border upon each other. till. must be considered by what is true of that. ceiving how near . 'That presents the qualities of Swift's genius in he has in his works no metaphors. of good and evil. his first flight of fancy his thoughts. continually surprises and 'such a man. finished. it is a matter also of cultivated natural bent. then. the sour and the dregs for philosophy and reason to lap leaving up'. a congenial development* It is a development that would seem to bear a relation to die Metaphysical fashion in verse (Swift was born in 1667). For the bent expressing itself in this 'copiousness' is It shows itself in the spontaneous meta- phorical energy of Swift's prose in the image. commonly transports him to ideas of what is most perfect. leaping out of the prosaic manner.78 THE else COMMON PURSUIT itself. but a game to which Swift devotes himself with a creative intensity. truly wise.' says Johnson a sentence or two later. is is not true of really testifying anything to here is the degree in which the Tale of a Tub is characteristic and concentrated form. It appears with as convincing a spontaneity in the sardonic disconcerts the reader : comic vision that characterizes the narrative. have as a teristics that matter of fact. And. die gift applied in Gulliver to a very limiting task directed and confined by a scheme uniting a certain consistency in analogical elaboration with verisimilitude were here enjoying It is as if free play. as the phrase indicates. is not true. but naturally sallies out into both extremes of high and low. and having soared out of his own reach and sight. but his few metaphors seem to be received rather by necessity than choice'. the continual elaborate play of analogy is a matter of cultivated habit. If. The spirit of it is that of a fierce and insolent game. when he gives the spur and bridle to does never stop. with the same course and wing he falls down plump into the exalted. creams off Nature. clearly fundamental. in this 'copiousness of images' the characwe noted in discussing Swift's pamphleteering irony their supreme expression. not a matter of choice but of essential genius.

and spent. but the case is essentially one for paradoxical descriptions. and when they most seem creative of energy are most successful in intensities are intensities of and destroying. In lus use of negative materials One may negative emotions and attitudes there is something that it is is difficult not to call creative. (without difficulty) resist the temptation to make the point by saying that this is poetry . flying up to the imagination of what is highest and best. or whether fancy. to the ground. it is at once too simple and too little charged with animus. reducing. falls. though the materials. . are destructive. characteristically. a paradoxical word to apply to an energy used as Swift uses his . and weary. conlocal foci. where surprise and contrast that there is some point in calling poetic. well as dead. because I have a strong inclination before I leave the world to taste a . often much more intense. or whether reason.THE IRONY OF SWIFT lowest bottom of things. page: Meantime it is my earnest request that so useful an undertaking may be entered upon (if their Majesties please) with all convenient speed. can. serve only to enlighten one half of the globe. Swift's rejection and negation . it must suffice that this kind of thing may be found at a glance on almost any spoiling. . one is still tempted to say that the use to which so exuberant an energy is put is a poet's. like the sun. Effects of this kind. reflecting upon the sum bright of things. becomes over-short. like a . and concentrating surprise in sudden here to say cannot be represented in short extracts . all the aim always Not characteristic of the Tale of a Tub. his poetic juxtapositions are. 'The operate in most heterogeneous ideas are yoked by violence together' and in the juxtaposition intensity is generated. 'Exuberant' seems. Whether a makes us fond of furnishing every idea with its reverse. and suddenly dead bird of paradise. like one like a straight line drawn by its tincture of malice in our natures 79 who travels the east into the west. are the 'bird of paradise' in the passage above is alive as negative. Sustained 'copiousness'. no doubt. * Paracelsus brought a squadron of stink-pot-flingers from the modes snowy mountains of Rhaetia' this (which comes actually from the Battle of the Books) does not represent what I have in mind . tinually varying. or own length into a circle. of course. destructive in intention. leaving the other half by necessity under shade and darkness.




blessing which we mysterious writers can seldom reach till we have got into our graves, whether it is that fame, being a fruit grafted on the

body, can hardly grow and much less ripen till the stock is in the earth, or whether she be a bird of prey, and is lured among the rest to pursue after the scent of a carcass, or whether she conceives her trumpet sounds best and farthest when she stands on a tomb, by the advantage of a rising ground and the echo of a hollow vault.

It is, of course, possible to adduce Swift's authority for finding that his negations carry with them a complementary positive an implicit assertion. But (pace Charles Whiblcy) the only tiling in

the nature of a positive that most readers will find convincingly


superbia. Swift's

way of demonstrating his

to destroy, but he takes a positive delight in his superiority And that the reader's sense of the ncgativcness of die Tale power. of a Tub is really qualified comes out when we refer to the Yahoos

and the Struldbrugs for a kind as to reassure us that
played because
it is






of such a

savage exhibition is mainly a game, die insolent pleasure of die author 'demonthis

any good prevailNevertheless, about a superiority that asserts itself in this way there is something disturbingly odd, and again and again in the Tale of a Tub we come on intensities that shift the stress deing

of superiority'



a formula as




in his

and remind us how different from Voltaire Swift is, even most complacent detachment. propose to examine in illustration a passage from the Digres-

and Improvement of Madness in Commonwealth (i.e. Section IX). It will have, in die nature of the case, to be a long one, but since it exemplifies at the same time all Swift's essential characteristics, its length will perhaps be tolerated. I shall break up the passage for convenience of comment, but, for the omission of nine or ten lines in dxe second instalexcept ment, quotation will be continuous
sion Concerning the Original, the Use,



its natural position and state of serenity disposcth its to pass his life in the common forms, without any thought ot multitudes to his own power, his reasons, or his visions, and subduing

For the brain in



more he shapes his understanding by the pattern of human learning,

the less he

inclined to

form parties after his particular notions, because



that instructs him in his private infirmities, as well as in the stubborn ignorance of the people. But when a man's fancy gets astride on his reason, when imagination is at cuffs with the senses, and common understanding as well as common sense is kicked out of doors, the first proselyte he makes is himself; and when that is once compassed, the difficulty is not so great in bringing over others, a strong delusion always operating from without as vigorously as from within. For cant

and vision are to the ear and the eye the same that tickling is to the touch. Those entertainments and pleasures we most value in life are such as dupe and play the wag with the senses. For if we take an exgenerally by happiness, as it has respect either to the understanding or to the senses, we shall find all its pro* and adjuncts will herd under this short definition, that it is a perties

amination of what is


perpetual possession of being well deceived.
Swift's ant-like energy

the business-like


obsessed intent-

and unpredictable movement have already had an effect. We are not, at the end of this instalment, as sure that we know just what his irony is doing as we were at the opening. Satiric criticism of sectarian 'enthusiasm' by reference to the 'common forms'
the Augustan standards
is something that, in Swift, we can take meant. But in the incessant patter of the arguvery seriously ment we have (helped by such things as, at the end, the suggestion

of animus in that oddly concrete 'herd')

a sense that direction and tone are changing. Nevertheless, the change of tone for which the next passage is most remarkable comes as a disconcerting



And first, with relation to the mind or understanding, it is manifest what mighty advantages fiction has over truth, and the reason is just at our elbow because imagination can build nobler scenes and produce more wonderful revolutions than fortune or Nature will be at the

and expense to furnish. . Again, if we take this definition of happiness examine it with reference to the senses, it will be acknowledged
. .

wonderfully adapt. How sad and insipid do all objects accost us that are not conveyed in the vehicle of delusion How shrunk is everything as it so that if it were not for the assistance of appears in the glass of Nature, artificial mediums, false lights, refracted angles, varnish, and tinsel, there would be a mighty level in the felicity and enjoyments of mortal men. If this were seriously considered by the world, as I have a certain reason to suspect it hardly will, men would no longer reckon among

their high points

of wisdom the


of exposing weak sides and publish-




ing infirmities an employment, in my opinion, neither better nor worse than that of unmasking, which, I think, has never been allowed fair usage, either in the world or die playhouse.
in the first part suggestion of changing direction does not, with it anything unsettling from ridicule of passage, bring * enthusiasm' to ridicule of human capacity for self-deception is an easy transition. The reader, as a matter of fact, begins to settle


of this


down to the habit, the steady drift of this irony, and is completely
unprepared for the sudden change of tone and reversal of attitude in the two sentences beginning 'How sad and insipid do all means or is, it is difficult to objects', etc. Exactly what the change be certain (and that is of the essence of the effect). But the tone has certainly a personal intensity and die ironic detachment seems suddenly to disappear. It is as if one found Swift in the place at the point of view where one expected to find his butt. But die ambiguously mocking sentence with which die paragraph ends
reinforces the uncertainty.


The next paragraph keeps the reader for some time in uneasy The irony has clearly shifted its plane, but in which directhe attack going to develop


to be safe,

must one

dissociate oneself from, 'credulity* or


mind than

is a more peaceful possession of the so far preferable is that wisdom which concuriosity, verses about the surface to that pretended philosophy which enters into

In the proportion that credulity

the depths of tilings and then comes gravely back with informations and discoveries, that in the inside they are good for nothing. The two
senses to





address themselves are the sight and die

touch these never examine further than the colour, the shape, die size, and whatever odier qualities dwell or are drawn by art upon the outward of bodies and then comes reason officiously, with took for cutting, and opening, and mangling, and piercing, offering to demonstrate that they are not of the same consistence quite through. Now I take all this to be the last degree of perverting Nature, one of whose eternal laws is to put her best furniture forward. And therefore, in order to save the charges of all such expensive anatomy for the time to come, I do here think fit to inform the reader that in such conclusions as these reason is certainly in the right ; and that in most corporeal beings which have fallen under my cognisance the outside hath been infinitely preferable to the in, wnereof I have been furdier convinced from some



experiments. Last week I saw a woman flayed, and you will hardly believe how much it altered her person for the worse.

The peculiar intensity of that last sentence is, in its own decisive that it has for the reader the effect of resolving




in general. The disturbing force of the sentence is a notable instance of a kind already touched on repulsion is intensified by the

momentary co-presence, induced by the tone, of incipient and incompatible feelings (or motions) of acceptance. And that Swift feels the strongest animus against 'curiosity' is now *beyond all doubt. The natural corollary would seem to be that credulity', standing ironically for the common forms' the sane, socially





the positive that the reader
for safety.


associate himself with,




The next


page steadily and assumption

(to all appearances)

unequivocally confirms



ordered the carcass of a beau to be stripped in


presence, when we were all amazed to find so many unsuspected faults under one suit of clothes. Then I laid open his brain, his heart, and his
spleen, but


I plainly perceived at every operation that the farther we we found the defects increase upon us in number and bulk


conclusion to myself, that whatever philosopher or projector can find out an art to sodder and patch up the flaws and imperfections of Nature, will deserve much better of

of which I justly formed


mankind and teach us


much more useful science than that, so much in

present esteem, of widening and exposing them (like him who held anatomy to be the ultimate end of physic). And he whose fortunes and dispositions have placed him in a convenient station to enjoy the fruits of this noble art, he that can with Epicurus content his ideas with the films and images that fly off upon his senses from the superficies of things, such a man, truly wise, creams off Nature, leaving the sour and the dregs for philosophy and reason to lap up.

Assumption has become habit, and has been so nourished that few readers note anydiing equivocal to trouble them in that last sentence: the concrete force of creams off', 'sour', 'dregs' and Swift with an intense 'lap up' seems unmistakably to identify animus against 'philosophy and reason' (understood implicitly to stand for 'curiosity' the anatomist). The reader's place, of



with Swift.




sprung in the

sentence of the paragraph


This is the sublime and refined point of felicity called the possession of being well-deceived, the serene peaceful state of being a fool among

What is left ? The next paragraph begins significantly 'But to return to madness'. This irony may be critical, but 'critical' turns out, in no very long run, to be indistinguishable from* negative'. The positives disappear. Even when, as in the Houyhjrihnms, they

seem to be more

'curiosity*. The Houyhnhnms, of course,

substantially present, they disappear under our stand for Reason, Truth

and it was in deadly earnest but how little at best they were any; thing solidly realized, comparison with Pope brings out. Swift did his best for the Houyhnhnms, and they may have all the reason, but the Yahoos have all the life. Gulliver's master 'thought Nature

and Nature, the Augustan

that Swift appealed to these

and reason were sufficient guides for a reasonable animal', but nature and reason as Gulliver exhibits them arc curiously negative, and die reasonable animals appear to have nothing in them to
guide. 'They have no fondness for their colts or foals, but the care they take in educating them proceeds entirely from the dictates of

This freedom from irrational feelings and impulses simplifies other matters too : 'their language doth not abound in variety of words, because their wants and passions are fewer than among us'. And so conversation, in this model society, is simplified : 'nothing passed but what was useful, expressed in the fewest and most significant words . . / 'Courtship, love, presents,

jointures, settlements, have no place in their thoughts, or terms whereby to express them in their language. The young couple

meet and are joined, merely because it is die determination of their parents and friends it is what they see done every day, and they look upon it as one of the necessary actions of a reasonable being'. The injunction of 'temperance, industry, exercise, and cleanliness ... the lessons enjoined to die young ones of bodi sexes \ seems unnecessary except possibly for exercise, the usefulness of which would not, perhaps, be immediately apparent to the reason:


able young. The clean skin of the




emotions and

Houyhnhnms, in short, is stretched over a life, which complicate the problem



of cleanliness and decency, are left for the Yahoos with the dirt and the indecorum. Reason, Truth and Nature serve instead the

Houyhnhnms (who scorn metaphysics)


them adequate. Swift

too scorned metaphysics, and never found anything better to contend for than a skin, a surface, an outward show. An outward
contends for in the quite unironical of Religion, and the difference between the re aHty of religion and the show is, for the author of the Tale of a Tub, hardly substantial. Of Jack we are told, *nor could all the world persuade him, as the common phrase is, to eat his victuals like a Christian*. It is characteristic of Swift that he should put in

explicitly, all he Project for the Advancement

these terms,

showing a complete incapacity even to guess what feeling might be, a genuine conviction that Jack should

be made to kneel when receiving the Sacrament. Of the intensity of this conviction there can be no doubt. The * Church of England was the established common form', and, moreover, was Swift's church his insane egotism reinforced the savagery with which he fought to maintain this cover over the

void, this decent surface. But what the savagery of the passage from the Digression shows mainly is Swift's sense of insecurity and

of the undisguisable flimsiness of any surface that offered. The case, of course, is more complex. In the passage examined the 'surface' becomes, at the most savage moment, a human skin. Swift's negative horror, at its most disturbing, becomes one with his disgust-obsession he cannot bear to be reminded that under the skin there is blood, mess and entrails and the skin itself, as we know from Gulliver, must not be seen from too close. Hypertrophy of the sense of uncleanness, of the instinct of repulsion, is not uncommon nor is its association with what accompanies it in Swift. What is uncommon is Swift's genius and the paradoxical of life life turned against vitality with which this self-defeat itself is manifested. In the Tale of a Tub the defeat is also a



triumph the genius delights in its mastery, in its power to deas self-assertion. It is only when time has stroy, and negation is felt confirmed Swift in disappointment and brought him to more intimate contemplation of physical decay that we get the Yahoos and the Struldbrugs. Here, well on this side of pathology, literary criticism stops. To if one were attempt encroachments would be absurd, and, even





qualified, unprofitable. No doubt psychopathology and median have an interesting commentary to offer, but their help is nc necessary. Swift's genius belongs to literature, and its appreciatio

to literary criticism. have, then, in his writings probably the most remarkabl expression of negative feelings and attitudes that literature ca offer the spectacle of creative powers (the paradoxical descrij


tion seems right) exhibited consistently in negation and rejectioi His verse demands an essay to itself, but fits in readily with whs

has been said. 'In poetry', he reports of the Houyhnhruns, 'the must be allowed to excel all other mortals ; wherein the justness c
their similes

and the minuteness


well as exactness of their d

scriptions are, indeed, inimitable. Their verses abound very muc in both of these . . / The actuality of presentment for which Swi:

notable, in prose as well as verse, seems always to owe its cor vincing 'justness* to, at his least actively malicious, a coldly ir tense scrutiny, a potentially hostile attention. 'To his domesticks

says Johnson, 'he was naturally rough ; and a man of rigoroi temper, with that vigilance of minute attention which his worl discover, must have been a master that few could bear'. Instrui tions to Servants and the Polite Conversation enforce obviously tt

bearing and felicity ofJohnson's remark. great writer yes ; that account still imposes itself as fitting though his greatness is no matter of moral grandeur or huma centrality ; our sense of it is merely a sense of great force. And th


force, as we feel it, is conditioned by frustration and constriction the channels of life have been blocked and perverted. That w should be so often invitdd to regard him as a moralist and a idealist would seem to be mainly a witness to the power of vanit] and the part that vanity can play in literary appreciation : saei


is familiar. No doubt, too, it is pleasant to believe that ur usual capacity for egotistic animus means unusual distinction c intellect ; but, as we have seen, there is no reason to lay stress o intellect in Swift. His work does indeed exhibit an extraordinai



an indulgence that solicits us all, and the use of litei and critics for the projection of nobly sufferin

play of mind but it is not great intellectual force that is exhibite in his indifference to the problems raised in, for instance, tt Voyage to the Houyhnhnms by his use of the concept, or the wor

It is


not merely that he had an Augustan contempt for metaphysics he shared the shallowest complacencies of Augustan common sense his irony might destroy these, but there is no

conscious criticism.

the reverse of distinguished by the intensity of his feelings, not by insight into them, and he certainly does not impress us as a mind in possession of its experience.


was, in various ways, curiously unaware



We shall not find Swift remarkable for intelligence if we think


YES, vulsion,
one concedes grudgingly, overcoming the inevitable re* as one turns the pages of this new edition (The

'Twickenham'), in which the poem trickles thinly through a desert of apparatus, to disappear time and again from sight yes, there has to be a Dunciad annotated, garnished and be-prosed in

way. A very large proportion of the apparatus, after all, comes down from the eighteenth century with die poem, and the whole, though to read it all through will be worth no one's while, that produced Pope and is enlightening documentation of the age of which Pope made poetry. Yet, as the editor in his Introduction

Dunciad one of the greatest

has never sufficiently been recognized that in the artists in English poetry found the

perfect material for his art', he did make poetry, and it is the poetry that matters; so that one has to follow up one's con-

cession with the





new monument of

scholarship will have to go into all the libraries for reference, it is not the edition in which the Dunciad should be read. The material

one thing, the poetry another. In fact, the sufficient recognition won't come except in company with the recognition that notes
are not necessary
essential respect.

the poetry doesn't depend

upon them



'The art',

says Professor Sutherland,

which Pope lavished upon

by an unnecessary concern and more generally, by an unnecessary concern with his victims a concern of a kind that notes, especially


has too often been obscured

for his victims'. Yes;

obtrusive ones, inevitably encourage. The 'fading of its personalities', remarked by Professor Sutherland as something that
appreciation of the Dunciad suffers from, is really an advantage, and one we ought not to refuse. For eighteenth-century readers it

must have been hard not

to start away continually from the to thinking about the particular historical victim and the poetry grounds of Pope's animus against him ; for modern readers it

should be
realize that


easier to appreciate the

poetry as poetry to has created something the essential interest of

which, lies within



what it is. Yet where satire is concerned

there appear to be peculiar difficulties in the way of recognizing the nature of art and of the approach to it, as Professor Sutherland
bears inadvertent witness in the last sentence


his Introduc-

the criticism

of the nineteenth and twentieth
the moral issues raised

centuries has

much concerned with

by Pope's


been far too and too

interested in its purely aesthetic values.




term the

literary critic

would do well



Opposed to 'moral', as it is in this sentence, it certainly doesn't generate light. Moral values enter inevitably into the
appreciation of the Dunciad, if ; the problem is to bring
it is

judged to be a considerable in with due relevance, and the bringing of them in is the appreciation of Pope's art. How are malice, resentment, spite, contempt, and the other negative attitudes and feelings that we can't doubt to have played a large part in the genesis of his poetry, turned in that poetry into some-



thing that affects us as being so very different ? don't feel die personalities as personal. More than that, we don't, for the most part, even in places where animus is very


apparent, feel the total effect to be negative, expressing a hostile and destructive will. The force of this judgment comes out when

we look by way of comparison at Swift. The final impression that
Swift, in any representative place, leaves us with is one of having been exposed to an intense, unremitting and endlessly resourceful play of contempt, disgust, hatred and the will to spoil and destroy. The contrast brings home to us the sense in which Pope, in practisin positive ing his art of verse, is engaged, whatever his materials, creation. It is Swift's prose I am thinking of in the first place, but the contrast is no less striking and significant when made between verse and verse. In verse, in fact, Swift is more barely and aridly and more sumnegative (the air is 'thoroughly small and dry'), than in prose; he never achieves anything marily destructive, of the Digression Conapproaching the complexity characteristic the Use of Madness in a Commonwealth. In the following cerning

we have

the richest, in the

way of organization,

that his verse


If Strephon


Celia in her glory shews, would but stop his nose, now so impiously blasphemes

Her ointments, daubs, and paints, and creams, Her washes, slops, and every clout, With which he makes so foul a rout ;) He soon would learn to think like me,

And bless his

ravish'd sight to see

Such order from confusion sprung, Such gaudy tulips raised from dung.
Effects like that of the closing couplets are not common in Swift's verse, but the sourly nagging meanness, the sawing one, meagreness, of the movement in general is representative.


of course, would carry out a solemn comparison of Swift and Pope as poets. My point is simply, by the contrast with Swift, who is not positively an Augustan though he is nothing else positive to bring out what is meant by saying that Pope, in practising his art of verse, is being an Augustan of a most positive kind. Against any of Swift's verse (if you want decasyllabics take the close of A
City Shower) set this

This labour past, by Bridewell all descend, (As morning-pray'r and flagellation end) To where Fleet-ditch with disemboguing streams Rolls the large tribute of dead dogs to Thames, The King of Dykes than whom, no sluice of mud

It is

deeper sable blots the silver flood.

not enough to talk in the usual way (I have just seen a Sunday review that quotes the passage, which I had already marked) about the beauty of that last couplet. That beauty is in-

from the whole habit of the versification. And in saying one recognizes that Versification' here involves more than the term is generally felt to convey. When Pope is preoccupied with the metrical structure, the weight, and die pattern of his couplets, he is bringing to bear on his 'materials' habits of thought and feeling, and habits of ordering thought and feeling. The habits are those of a great and ardent representative of Augustan civilization. The result is that even when he is closest to Swift he remains very un-Swiftian in effect : what we note at once as the characseparable

trod upon. and forgetting (if that can be granted as credible) where one had read it. now fast. The part of Augustan civilization in Pope's creative triumph is peculiarly apparent in the Fourth Book of the Dunciad. and wither d ev'ry Bay was the Sun. but much above them: it is a self-sufficient poem. carted. then. Smote ev'ry Brain. for instance. To whom Time bears me on his rapid wing. In the Dog's tail his progress ends at last. There can. take at once the Poet and the Song. The moon-struck Prophet felt the madding hour . yet a moment one dim Ray of Light Indulge. Consider how trumphandy it enlists Milton into an Augustan sublime. The preeminence of this book doesn't seem to be at all generally recognized. half veil the deep Intent. and eternal Night ! Of darkness visible so much ! be lent. dread Chaos. of course) makes a radical difference Like the vile straw that's blown about the streets The needy Poet sticks to all he meets.'THE DUNCIAD' terisric 91 movement : (no simple metrical matter. writing his Men of Letters' Pope before 1880. Coach'd. be no 'English harm in reiterating that the Fourth Book stands. but one would hardly guess that it belonged to a satire. Then Suspend a while your Force inertly strong. The opening has an There it is obvious relevance to my immediate argument : Yet. Faced with this passage as a detached fragment. As half to shew. overtly satirical. Yet within ten lines the poem breaks out into a most lively play of imaginative wit. now loose. Sick : . This astonishing poetry ought to be famous and current for the unique thing it is. and the transition is irresistibly sure written. no sign. not only (so much later in date as it is) apart from the other books. : Now flam'd the Dog-star's unpropitious ray. that the present editor recognizes any more than Leslie Stephen did. the Owl forsook his bow'r. only by Pope. Ye Pow'rs whose Mysteries restor'd I sing. what would one make of it ? It could have been one would have to conclude.

and of transition. Gasps And dies. and extinguish Light. is of Chaos. and of Night. Chicane in Furs. . and it explains the mastery of transition that goes with Pope's astonishing variety. Morality. There. fair Rhet'ric languished on the ground His blunted Arms by Sophistry are born. as Too mad for mere material chains to bind. Of dull and venal a new World to mold. finds it square. but a rich concept imagina- tively realized ideal Augustan civilization. The key to Pope's command of the sublime. To blot out Order. when Dullness gives her Page the word. and Casuistry in Lawn. c. It is his greatness as a poet that he can relate the polite Augustan social culture always present in Augustan idiom and movement with something more profound than a code of manners : a code adequate to being thought of as the basis and structure of a great civilization. Penalties and Pains. : And Soft ('Tis thus aspiring Dullness ever shines) on her lap her Laureat son reclines. by her false Guardians drawn. stript. * have him doing it in this book of the Dunciad.92 THE Then COMMON PURSUIT rose the Seed of Chaos. And Wit dreads Exile. Science groans in Chains. and of Night. bring Saturnian days of Lead and Gold. She mounts the Throne her head a Cloud conceal'd. . III). Mad they straiten at each end the cord. Now running round the Circle. . or within easy recall. and extinguish Light. Order* for Pope : no mere word. And shameless Billingsgate her Robes adorn. Mathesis alone was unconfin'd. As the antithesis of triumph- We . presents itself in the couplet : to his mastery Then rose the Seed To blot out Order. Beneath her foot-stool. and it is the comprehensive positive from which the satire works (in ways I discuss in Revaluation. Now to pure Space lifts her extatic stare. In broad Effulgence all below reveaTd. gagg'd and bound. There foam'd rebellious Logic. Order* (associated with 'Light') imparts its grandeur to the opening. . It is everywhere implicitly there.

the old. One instinct seizes. and transports away. but the whole is awkwardly constructed. Very often the negative and destrucof the play of images and analogies are much more insistent: the strangeness 'the most heterogeneous ideas are yoked by violence is together* is surprise brutally shocking. p. and has no very intelligible connexion with the first part. and which have received the highest eulogies from Johnson and Thackeray. Though it is his creativefor all his satiric bent. which Pope himself could not repeat without emotion. And strong impulsive gravity of Head : Cf. essentially negative. And all the Nations summon'd to the Throne. by Gray.' 1 . Take this. and a blight falls upon art. with its reminders of the century of Marvell and Donne. by sure Attraction led. The young. I quote the lines. has often been quoted as representing Pope*s highest achievement in his arc At the conclusion the goddess Dulness yawns. of Pope's in which his kindred habit asserts itself. science and philosophy. 132) : 'There are some passages marked by Pope's usual dexterity. he is an essentially creative spirit that ness puts Pope Swift's. his creativeness realize Augustan culture from not merely a matter of his being able to an ideal Augustan order. The contrast with Swift comes in so different a relation to is were The respect in which the two writers (who closely associated in the brewing of the Dundad) have most affinity is represented by the characteristic piece of Swift's prose out in another way. None need a guide. 79. and the instance And now had Fame's posterior Trumpet blown.'THE DUNCIAD' ant Chaos it 93 informs the prophetic vision of the close with that 1 tremendously imaginative and moving grandeur. And in so doing it serves as an admonition against leaving an oversimplifying account of him uncorrected. in this the passage just quoted is comes out when we set it by any sense. gives us a Pope who is more than Augustan. Nowhere does the habit of mind and expression illustrated here come nearer. amongst others. for : How intensely malevolent. which I quote at the foot of p. to producing an effect in which the satisfaction of the creative imtive functions pulse plainly predominates. who feel her inward sway. in Swift. and. Leslie Stephen (Pope. It was highly admired at the He specially praises a passage which time. of course. That close.

Nor has one ATTERBURY spoil'd the flock. a Fungus. of Heav'n's more frugal make. in fact. a Toad. to tell us what's a clock. Hung to die Goddess.94 THE COMMON PURSUIT None want a place. typified in brief. (as we 'ridicul- him as a satirist) the A loves Nest. and coher'd around. Nor could a BARROW work on ev'ry block. considering ing' varied absurdities of the human scene. felicitously odd and profoundly imaginative puns. orb in orb. See ! And thy own. that just gives a knock. Like buoys. or a Flow'r here we have. that never sink into the flood. the heavy Canon roll. than Wisdom's grave disguise. the same predominance of creativeness. Not closer. Serves but to keep fools pert. delighting in the rich strangeness of what it contemplates. . is to be And found whenever Pope devotes himself to 'expressing' or are expected to say. which. plainly The formal attitude here is one of satiric antipathy. Metaphysic smokes involve the Pole. Thine is the genuine head of many a house. And much Divinity without a Nous. The common A Yet by some The dull may waken to object ev'ry brain is stirr'd . Soul. for all their Centre found. . a Humming-bird . might fairly be called genial. And breaks our rest. but the positive satisfaction taken lously organized complexity by the poet in creating this marvel- of surprising tropes. dominant feeling. and knaves awake : drowsy Watchman. still in general. think not. Mistress more true Dulness lies In Folly's Cap. the kind of effect he so obviously and the line serves as a reminder that 'human scene' is too limiting in suggestion. conglob'd are seen The buzzing Bees about their dusky Queen. So again here in a simpler instance (the turn of the page) : first that presents itself at a Ah. ! On Learning's surface we but lie and nod. determines the preimages.

Pois'd with a tail. ask. we have. What fascinates him are effects of fantastic incongruity effects that at the same time seem to evoke a more exciting reality than that of common sense. they * . 95 The mind. To know. the narrower is the better. Points him two ways. as they commence. 'Since Words are We never suffer it to stand too wide. but a packed heterogeneity that corresponds in the large to A Nest. associate together harmoniously in a perfect creative alliance. youth to guide. perfectly congruous incongruity a satirically * straightforward piece of Augustan Sense' : go with Man from beast by Words is known. we load the brain. a Toad. discreetly opened. As Fancy opens the quick springs of Sense. May wander in a wilderness of Moss . Worked pregnantly in between the Augustan sublimities of the opening and the close. and double chain on chain. Plac'd at the door of Learning. When Reason doubtful. that turns at super-lunar things. We ply the Memory. good Augustan though he was. And in creating these effects he is undoubtedly registering certain insistent qualities of experience as it came. to . What we find in the part. to him. a Fungus. not an ordered development of a corresponding theme. Bind rebel Wit. like the Samian letter. may steer on Wilkins* wings. There is no hostility between them . find . Words we teach alone.'THE DUNCIAD' The most recluse. argument or action. in the relation between vivid nightmare absurdity and the decorous Augustanism of the verse. Into this can or a Flow'r. The relation between his interest in these qualities and his concern for Augustan order constitutes one of the most striking aspects of his genius. The head Congenial matter in the Cockle-kind in Metaphysics at a loss. to guess. but it is unmistakably a positive interest. Then thus. Man's province. Pope's interest in the objects of absorbing contemplation which he ascribes to the virtuosi' he is satirizing may not be precisely theirs. we find in large in the totality of the poem.

Such a passage comes in so naturally and easily because of the pervasive rationality of the Augustan versification and idiom. Whate'er the talents. hang one jingling padlock on the mind. His sense of wonder has been richly and happily nourished. Wit has . And that Pope can use these as he does in evoking his fantastic incongruities shows that there is nothing repressive about the Order that commands his imagination. at the Helm. Ev'n Palinurus nodded it spread o'er all . the realm .96 THE And COMMON PURSUIT . to exercise the breath keep them in the pale of Words till death. His ability to unite Augustan with seventeenth-century profound concomitants. . . or howe'er designed. We Confine the thought. and more wide. and can invest what offers itself as satiric fantasy with the enchantment of fairy-tale : Wide.

'It By Joseph Wood Krutch. And there is too good reason for expecting that a new book on Johnson by one of the academic custodians of the 'humanities' will exhibit the kind of literary accomplishment that goes with an admiration for the prose of (say) Miss Dorothy Sayers. for a talk in the Third Programme on Whibley. that there were standards in these things above the ordinary level of the ordinary man. Wodehouse. neither has he written one of 1 Mr Samuel Johnson. the brilliance of Mr C. that is. and. January 22. . surprised me very not only inoffensive it is positively good. it was exemplifying the ethos of our modern Johnson club. whose cult of him was a tribute to the force with which he did it. S. if the word. . Johnson. G. may well be that like Johnson he [Charles Whibley] will live rather through the influence which he exerted on those who were privileged to know him than through the written word/ From the blurb in The Radio Times. It is a branch of and its essential raison-d'&re is anti-highbrow it is good-mixing. And while he doesn't sport the style that adorns vacuity or anti-highbrow animus. doing to further the middlebrow's one finds oneself having again and again to insist. he assumed a serious interest in of the mind. would have been. was not only the Great Clubman 2 he was a great writer and a great highbrow or . however. game of insinuating the values of into realms where good-mixing they have no place except as a their hostile work from within. fifth-column. to those seriously interested in literature. for all his appeal to 'the common reader'. book. But when the University of Oxford conferred a doctorate honoris causa on P. and the art of Lytton Strachey. Lewis. 1 had better add at once that I write in England and as an Englishman. had existed. In this country. 1 must confess. shows no interest in that kind of accomplishment. the cult ofJohnson is an exasperation and a challenge. 2 . things was constantly engaged in the business of bringing home to his public and his associates. Krutch.JOHNSON AND AUGUSTANISM MR I KRUTCH'S It is agreeably. and the conditions that have produced it. 1950.

most of what he says about Johnson doesn't strike the reader as particularly new. There is. And. In fact. in this respect. the peculiar nature ofJohnson's Toryism and his piety. And the strength of this tendency was correlated with the strength of his scepticism he was. says Krutch (having shown it to be so). an Englishman must see in him something very much to the credit of American academic imagine a don or a literary of the Atlantic producing a book with the virtues of Mr Krutch's. Johnson accepted the miracles of the Bible because he could not redo so without plunging himself into an abyss of intolerable fuse to . which are never forced and always seem to issue naturally from the pre- but admirable sented data. chology' and no psychoanalytic knowingness. It is a new general book on Johnson that justifies itself. Their relation to his scepticism is well brought out. But. but quite simply a part of his general tendency to favour social unity and social conformity'. all the sources. so that when Mr Krutch renders this in statement. Inevitably. but its achievement implies uncommon devotion and disinterestedness. exemplify in a quietly acute way the peculiarly appropriate virtue of good sense there is no obtrusion of 'psy. : Mr not unlike Swift. His commentaries. what he says is obviously just. with unobtrusive At any person on this letters. It is as if the facts were so arranged as to expose their significance. brings an increase in real knowledge. Mr Krutch has brought together.98 THE * COMMON PURSUIT those depressing contributions to knowledge* which are so uninformed by any firsthand perception of why the patently subject should be worth study. It is a kind of obviousness that an expositor should aim at. it is difficult to side skill. at the centre of the subject. said in that way emerging it as it does from the relevant facts in their significant order paradoxes. 'that his was not the result of any bigoted conviction conorthodoxy cerning the unique Tightness of the Anglican Church. without going in for Mr Krutch does firm and sensitive justice to the com- plexity of the facts. It is 'clear beyond any question'. rate. He has related them so as to form the most coherent and complete exhibition of Johnson possible (and as part of the process has given us penetrating studies of Boswell and Mrs Thrale).

to believe nothing but the Bible/ Where ghosts are in it is an admirably critical mind that Mr Krutch shows question. overbearing and robust. but it 5 side here should be noted that the gusto with which he indulges his worst is significantly correlated with his indignant hatred of : slavery liberty But perhaps the best proof that when Johnson derided the idea of he was thinking only of that sort of which the deprivation pro- duces merely 'metaphysical distresses' is to be found in his attitude towards Negro slavery. and what he said of the vein of 'stubborn rationality' that kept him from the Roman Catholic Church may give warrant for the guess that he would have been more comfortable if even Anglicanism had put less strain upon it. on the one hand nor. on the other hand. us 'Johnson was genuinely skeptical which is to say. unwilling to consider the possibility that anything not disproved might be true/ And it is wholly characteristic ofJohnson to have written 'Pro: : digies are always seen in proportion as they are expected/ ' As for his Toryism. The theme involves so much ofJohnson that to sketch Mr Krutch's treatment of it would be to summarize a large part of the book. it appears. Krutch's book Mr makes it impossible not to recognize. endearingly prejudiced. how far it was from being the mere sturdy' John Bullishness. but he fairly resolves. To him Negro slavery was an institution so marvellously humane and just that it should be contemplated with delighted wonder. 'Mr Johnson's incredulity/ to disease' says Mrs she is reporting Hogarth Thrale.JOHNSON AND AUGUSTANISM 99 doubt on the brink of which he always shuddered back. it was an abomination concerning which he could not speak without rage. 'amounted almost to the effect : 'that man is not contented with believing the Bible. on the other. It is in his polemic against the Americans that he appears most repugnantly as the Tory. but even in works of pure imagination the supernatural was likely to trouble him. he spoke of 'the natural right of the negroes to liberty . I think. Boswell was the 'friend of Paoli' and hence a champion of liberty but chiefly. Near the very beginning of his career and at a time when the Quakers were still slave dealers. But one point may be made that engages a great deal Johnson had no bent towards hard : authoritarianism or cynical 'realism . which it tends to become in the current legend. neither credulous. of the sort whose effects are exclusively 'metaphysical'. To the Tory Johnson.

is his realization that he must dominate any group of which he did not expect to become quickly the butt. the essence of his style. . the supreme social activity was the art of con versation he couldn't do without the social milieu that enabled him to extend himself in talk. For Johnson. they call him 'dogmatic'. this defender of 'subordination* and scorner of liberty gave as his toast 'Here's to the next insurrection of the negroes in the West Indies'. Yet when we come to this subject we come in . . is one of the best in the book. Here is a relevant observation from Mr Krutch: Perhaps it has never been sufficiently remarked that one reason for his domineering manner. for I am always afraid they will end in conquest and robbery*. for his insistence on winning almost every argument by fair means or foul. 'Folding his Legs'. and his deep sense of extravagant it. recall his own distinction 'what I have here not . of course. and the inescapable mark of his genius.' The same considerations are brought to bear on that extraordinary household he collected and made himself responsible for. tends to be confused for the most part admiringly. A little later he described Jamaica as 'a place of great wealth and dreadful wickedness. when I hear this dogmatism spoken of. his so-called 'dogmatism'. This is the Johnson Mr Krutch does is to bring out Johnson's and disqualifying abnormality. and tie part played by this sense in some of his most notorious characteristics. Mr Krutch is good on Johnson as a talker the chapter. There is.ioo THE COMMON PURSUIT and independence'. Concerning another notorious trait Mr Krutch remarks : 'He was almost desperately sociable because he could never become part of any society. In 1777 he dictated for Boswell a brief in favour of a Negro suing in Scotland to regain his freedom. for instance. who . once. . which colours the general notion of his Toryism. and that people are partly thinking of this trait when : English government One of the good things could say: 'Let the authority of the rather than be maintained by iniquity/ perish. no doubt with the crushing powers he commanded when 'talking for victory'. and at Oxford. a den of tyrants and a dungeon of slaves' and still later he could write : 'I do not much wish well to discoveries.' dogmatically but deliberately written (Preface But it is plain that the weight of utterance that is of to Shakespeare). In many respects he was made to be laughed at. . I myself.

But his superiority over other learned the deepest source of these powers his final : What Boswell in men consisted chiefly in what may be called the art of thinking. true. evident and actual wisdom. He quotes Boswell : was is well described by 'As he was general and unconfined summing up in his studies.JOHNSON AND AUGUSTANISM sight 101 of Mr Krutch's limitations. For die consideration of Johnson's strength as a taUcer cannot properly be separated from that of his strength as a writer. I imagine) compared with a failure to see that The Vanity of Human Wishes is great poetry. His inadequacy is most unquestionable as it appears in his treatment of the poems. in him. at any rate in effect. 'how very like Dr Johnson is to his writing and how much the same thing it was to hear him or to read him but that nobody could tell that without . the art of using the mind a certain continual power of seizing the useful substance of all that he knew. . and qualifying criticism begins. And Mr Krutch does unmistakably fail the superiority he sees amounts to little. . S. overrates London when he fails to stress its inferiority to The Vanity of Human Wishes. Eliot. . I think he is right in suggesting that Mr T. 'I could not help remarking'. Mr Krutch can say on another page that 'Johnson did not merely write abstractly . D* endorsing this. . notes Fanny Burney. which was so arranged in his mind. was. and you will not be able to follow-through the considerations involved in the appreciation of his talk.' . and exhibiting it in a clear and forceful manner so that knowledge. as to be ever in readiness to be brought forth. but he had accumulated a vast and various collection of learning and knowledge. for his language was generally imagined to be laboured and studied. he cannot be considered as master of any one particular science . To call Johnson's style 'abstract* is misleading if you don't go . Mr deal that is to the point. instead of the mere common flow of his thoughts/ About the extraordinary vigour and discipline exhibited by this 'mere common flow' Krutch says a great coming to Streatham. But that is surely a venial lapse (a matter of presentment rather than of judgment. he thought abstractly '. And yet. tion If you can't appreciate Johnson's verse you will fail in appreciaof his prose . and to Johnson's greatness as a writer Mr Krutch is not adequate. which we often see to be no better than lumber in men of dull understanding. He is not impressed he is not (it would seem) even interested.

Nor claim the triumph of a lettered heart Should no Disease thy torpid veins invade. 'Certain traditions were pretty scrupulously observed. her last retreat . and they . its extraordinary weight is a generalizing weight and the literary critic should be occupied with analysing this. at any rate as used by literary critics. I won't offer an of the passage and its working . 'the doom of man*. one much cultivated and highly esteemed. are not very determinate in force) to insist that the style is remarkable for body. . abstractness. What need to be discussed here are certain conditions of that remarkable power Johnson commands of using analysis so abstract and conventional an idiom with such vitality. . .102 THE at COMMON PURSUIT on once to explain that abstractness here doesn't exclude con- creteness. There is an achieved substance answering to the suggestion of that phrase. Yet should thy Soul indulge the gen'rous Till captive Science yields heat. they focus a wide range of profoundly representative experience experience felt by the reader as movingly present. it was in a recognized art. Nor Praise relax. And Sloth effuse her opiate fumes in vain Should Beauty blunt on fops her fatal dart. 'John- son and his friends sat down for a talk as deliberately as another group would sit down to play chamber music or cards. nor Difficulty fright . misty Doubt resistless day Should no false kindness lure to loose delight. If he was a great virtuoso. . some of the main points are fairly obvious. It is a generalizing style . Nor think the doom of man revers'd for thee. or (since these words. Nor Melancholy's phantoms haunt thy shade Yet hope not life from grief or danger free. and with explaining how Johnson's generalities come to be so different in effect from ordinary .' They went in for 'conscious virtuosity without the triviality which so often accompanies conversation deliberately practised as an art'. Should tempting Novelty thy cell refrain. Johnson's abstractions and generalities are not mere empty explicitnesses substituting for the concrete . And pour on Should Reason guide thee with her brightest ray. Mr Krutch deals pretty well with them as they come up in the consideration ofjohnson's talk.

and confident civilization we see registered in The Tatler and The Spectator is impressive. standards of value' And these 'assump- ment a movement that suggests : gesture and a code of manners it is intimately associated with Good Form. traditions and standards of value which are never called in question because to question any of them might be to necessitate a revision of government. not the kind that is sheer empty virtuosity . has a social movetraditions suggests to us. For most eighteenth-century verse. adroitly.JOHNSON AND AUGUSTANISM thing. concentrated. more . and 103 determined a form of conversation* that was 'always about some- though no where has the epigram beenmore appreciated. is. but no profound analysis is necessary to elicit from . significance and control of thought and judgment are most apparent in the verse of the age. was as competent as any other to settle questions philosophical. Letters company deportment. no matter what his special aptitudes might be. society and private conduct more thoroughgoing than anyone liked to contemplate. and all verse of the Augustan tradition. Their sufficiently note nature. and more conclusively than it has ever been said before. theological or even scientific'. Literary form is To put it in this way is to recall the worst potentialities of Polite the superficialities and complacencies conjured up by that significant phrase. The assumption could be so effective for an art of conversation because what it involved was remarkably positive and determinate as well ' as comprehensive : we may define common sense " as the accept- " ance of certain current assumptions. it was best discussed in terms of what is generally called (without further definition) intelligent "common sense" and that any and well-educated gentleman. or doesn't they were current as literary convention.' That tions. they informed the linguistic conventions and habits of expression that seemed to the age natural and inevitable. social polite. . Johnson's art had behind it something far more deter- minate than as 'common sense' and had an operative idiom the period idiom to which they gave its currency strongly positive character . in so far as a subject was dis' cussible at all. the kind of epigram most admired was the kind that owes its distinction to the fact that it says something more quickly. Further what Mr Krutch doesn't note. The positive.' Discussion proceeded on the assumption that.

then. Yet Pope's name is enough to bring home to us that to write in Augustan idiom and convention is not necessarily to be superficial. embrace it. belief that individual thought and expression must exemplify a and enlist tradition as a collaborator. if Johnson And inevitable and right. surely for us : a genius of robust and racy individuality. The politeness became a kind of high public decorum. as Queen Anne Augustanism does ('die Man writes much like a Gentleman.104 THE COMMON PURSUIT those bland pages the weaknesses of a culture that makes the Gentleman qua Gentleman its criterion. he also wrote the fourth book of the could find the Augustan tradition so triumphant proof that a writer could embrace it without condemning himself to remain on the social surface. For Johnson did. to adapt its idiom and convention to the needs of his own sensibility and time. and it is his . eenth century had set itself the task. like the Romantic poet. most durable. notably direct able. He found it so congenial that he was able. ofdiscovering and estabhshing in all human affairs (including language) the most reasonefficient.' central to the interest Johnson should have This. he nevertheless much at home in a cultural tradition that lays a peculiarly heavy stress on the conventional and social conditioning of individual achievement. and he left it marble'. movement and diction his seriousness imposed its weight. and is peculiarly insistent in its social discipline. that is tone. and goes to Heaven with a very good Mien'). namely. And on Dunciad. In praising Dryden he endorses the essential Augustan pretension that referred to by Mr Krutch when he says that 'Johnson'sDfcriofwy was thus a contribution to a much more inclusive task which the eight. 'He found it brick. But Johnson's conception of form and order is not narrowly moral. less. and that a code of manners can engage something profound. of course. If Pope wrote The Rape of the Lock and the Essay on Man. and Good Form deepened into that conception of a profound unquestionable order in human things which is represented by the characteristic phrase : 'he that thinks reasonably must think morally'. quite naturally. the enemy of society. or be worth- Johnson is not. and most elegant procedure. but consciously its representative and its voice. is most and strong finds himself very in his appeal to firsthand experience. As a literary tradition of convention and technique it became for him something in the nature of a morality of literary practice.

Gray succeeded in blending in the Elegy the two lines ofeighteenthcentury verse-tradition : the meditative-Miltonic. abounds with images which find a mirror in every mind. extremely It is in the verse that positive civilization to we can see most clearly the which Johnson belonged ex- such a pressing itself as literary convention. it had been vain to blame and useless to praise. It is in his treatment ofJohnson the poet that the insufficiency is most apparent. specializing in 'mouldered* ruins. So when he comes to strength the poem on the death of Robert Levet. The too much for Mr Krutch.' Here for once (the implication appears to be) we have Johnson responding to the novel elements' in the poetry of the time. The poet to convention and such an idiom are so congenial exemplifies a relation of artist to contemporary civilization of a kind that we are not familiar is whom with we should find it the more significant. Had Gray written often thus. ivy-mantled towers and guaranteed poetical sentiment. reason for suggesting that Johnson was influenced by Gray. This aspect ofJohnson's interest Mr Krutch is unable to develop to the full because he is insufficiently a literary critic. : and exalt the Elegy as a classic of the profound commonplace The Churchyard. 'Yet even these bones' are to me original. and with sentiments to which every bosom returns an echo. I have never seen the notions in any other place .JOHNSON AND AUGUSTANISM strength 105 something inseparable from his greatness to be so. There is indeed an element in the Elegy that constitutes an affinity with Johnson but no one who saw it would see it as a * * . In any case. he thinks it worth suggesting that the rhythm and diction are perhaps influenced by Gray's Elegy. He cannot see that the unfamiliarity tradition as we have it in Johnson's verse Augustan represents the of the eighteenth century in poetry. yet he that reads them here persuades himself chat he has always felt them. the reference to Gray reveals a disabling ignorance of eighteenthcentury verse (I mean ignorance not by academic. with the Augustan. It is the element that enables Johnson to 'rejoice to concur with the common reader'. His stanzas have the Augustan . but by critical standards). which he righdy finds a * singularly touching poem* ('readers who have little taste for formal satire in couplets may well find it the best of Johnson's verse'). The four stanzas beginning.

bird to sing Yet Nature could not furnish out the feast. . litter'd in St Paul's'. And mariners. and strive to mend A broken character and constitution. realiz'd the beauties Nor Mungo's. Then had we seen proud London's hated walls . in 1766. Since it is virtually unknown (though it is to be found in the Oxford Gray and Collins. where my attention was called to it by Dom Hilary Steuert). It seems to me the best poem he did (which is not to say that it can aspire to the classical status of the Elegy but the Elegy pays for its substance and size with unevenness and instability). Unpeopled monasteries delude our eyes. Here reigns the blustering North and blighting No tree is heard to wmsper. And mimic desolation covers all. Art he invokes new horrors still to bring. Bradshaw's friendship vain. * Ah T And said the sighing Peer. of the seat and ruins of a deceased . How naturally and radically Augustan Gray's sensibility was. East. comes out in the Impromptu he left behind in a dressing-table drawer in the country. 'Purg'd by the sword. Far better scenes than these had blest our view. and purified by fire. which we feign. Here mouldering fanes and battlements arise. . Turrets and arches nodding to their fall. On this congenial spot he fix'd his choice Earl neighbouring sand Here sea-gulls scream. though shipwreck'd. and the neatness and precision that run to wit. nobleman. Rigby's. Owls would have hooted in And foxes stunk and St Peter's choir. at Kingsgate. the final phrase. in Kent') : Old. 'had Bute been true. I will give the poem here (the Impromptu was 'suggested by a view. and cormorants rejoice. Here Holland form'd the pious resolution To smuggle a few years.106 social gait THE COMMON : PURSUIT and gesture (they have a movement as of the couplet and the Augustan prose-strength that strength which extended) seeks the virtues of statement the mot juste. . and abandoned by each venal friend. his Goodwin trembled for . and since its coming from Gray enforces my point. dread to land.

the of the central Augustan tradition. and concludes with satisfaction that 'Johnson's Shakespeare is. in following the phantoms which other writers raise up before him. ' cendental knowledge'. for the most part. Mr Krutch's inability to appreciate verse is his inability to see clearly Johnson's limitations Johnson's as a critic of Shakespeare. or to appreciate On Mr Krutch can only suppose that we must be thinking ofJohnson's lack of interest in "imagination" as a source of transadequately. means a failure to realize to the full the nature and significance of strength Johnson's genius. the positive aspects of this critical attitude Mr Krutch is good. one might say. and is in keeping with his approval of falls Richardson and of the new art of fiction : This therefore is the praise of Shakespeare. by scenes fiom which a hermit may estimate the transactions of the world. It falls. may here be cured of his delirious extasies. Failure to realize that centrality. . by reading human sentiments in human language.JOHNSON AND AUGUSTANISM This is 107 an unalloyed Augustan. and wholly dependent on the Augustan). and a confessor predict the progress of the passions. And this is the strength that relates Gray to Johnson. are present only for ironical attention. the people's Shakespeare rather than either the Shakespeare of learned critics or the Shake- . He states quite well where the stress Closely correlated with in Johnson's appreciation. first of all. and the mistaken ideas about the decay of the Augustan tradition that go with illusions about the vitality of the 'novel elements' (which. the 'mouldering fanes and battlements'. But when he comes to the question of what there may be in Shakespeare that Johnson fails to appreciate. significantly. on Shakespeare the novelist. that his drama is the mirrour of life that he who has mazed his imagination. What of the highest flight of fancy and imagination 2 What of all the things which seem to be outside anyone's possible experience ? What of the world sometimes described as the world of sheer beauty and transcendental truth? Mr Krutch fumbles a good deal with these (as they seem to me) not very profitable questions. are incurably minorpoetical. But this is the strength that raises the Elegy above all the verse in the meditative-Miltonizing line to which the elegiac Gray also belongs.

a state of affairs made plain by the paradoxical way in which he shows appreciation while giving the : irresistible reasons for 'disgust' In this passage is exerted all the force of poetry. that force which calls . thick Mr from Macbeth. But he doesn't mention the major limitation that stares him in the face. surely. always something wanting. His limitation in the face of Shakespearean tragedy goes with a limitation in the face of Shakespearean poetry. because opposes . but his comedy often surpasses expectation or desire. scenes there is In tragedy his performance seems constantly to be worse. and obscurity. Here are to two passages from the Preface Shakespeare : He therefore indulged his natural disposition. invention.io8 THE COMMON PURSUIT speare of the aesthete'. or to luxuriate. His comedy pleases by the thoughts and the language. If Johnson can scarely contain his risibility' when he hears of the avengers of guilt peeping through a blanket'. . the offspring of his throes meanness. It is overt and unequivocal. as in a mode of thinking congenial to his nature. what is written at last with little felicity but in his comick scenes. Johnson is merely discussing a convention-engendered disability that he doesn't share. as well as plenty elsewhere in Johnson. His tragedy seems to be skill. In his tragick . as Rhymer has remarked. In tragedy he is always struggling after some occasion to be comick but in comedy he seems to repose. tediousness. what no labour can improve. as his labour is more. But the evidence. in the notorious commentary on the 'Come. and his disposition. or strains his faculties. led him to comedy. and his tragedy for the greater part by incident and action. is all the other way. argues that. of Shakespeare that no one would hold to be anything but major. He cannot apKrutch preciate the Shakespearean handling of language. The effusions of passion which exigence forces out are for the most part striking and energetick but whenever he solicits his . that is because he night* speech * * his training doesn't respond fully to Shakespeare's poetry. his comedy to be instinct. is tumour. to make the force of the last-quoted passage quite plain. There is plenty in the Preface. The critic who can in this way exalt the comedy above the tragedy exhibits a failure in the appreciation to-day. In tragedy he often writes. with great appearance of toil and study. He cannot. he seems to produce without labour. and there is abundance of it.

) incident to sentiment. Krutch. The thoughts that the Augustan poet. is something he has no use for it is completely alien to his habit. cannot securely appreciate the Shakespearean creativeness. (Preface to Shakespeare.JOHNSON AND AUGUSTANISM new powers matter . discussing Mr Johnson's talk. This training was in the very positive tradition described above a tradition focussed in a literary code. and animates now it without some disof the words to the . sets himself to express are amply provided for by the ready-minted concepts of the common currency. yet. but as conscious and responsible critic he knows what has to be said of the Shakepoetry. . and will not reject. involving the creation of concepts in a free play for which the lines and configurations of the conventionally charted have no finality. That so robustly individual a talent could find himself so at home in such a tradition. What he has to them together with elegance and point according to of grammar. he do is to put the rules . which he cannot well express . He will concede almost unwillingly that here we have 'all the force of which calls new powers into being. perhaps. Johnson. the supreme Augustan writer. that force spearean complexity It is : him to be now and then entangled with an unwieldy which he cannot well express. whose perception so transcends his training. scarce any man peruses turbance of his attention from the counteraction ideas. and placed just there. So that even when he is Johnson. which embodies sentiment and animates matter'. The exploratorycreative use of words upon experience. . the mode of creation suggested by 'comprising' anything in 'words such as occur* is one that the Augustan tradition cannot recognize. syntax and versification. which embodies sentiment. he and if it continues stubborn. is never entangled with an unwieldy sentiment. and leaves it to be disentangled and evolved by those who have more leisure to bestow on it. words such as occur. like any other Augustan writer. comprises it in struggles with it a while. Every word in a piece of Augustan verse has an air of being able to give the reasons why it has been chosen. says well : to which his intellect had 'he seems seldom to have uttered a word not assigned a purpose/ This might very well be applied to the Augustan use of language in general. 109 into being. that it should so have fostered his extraordinary .

point-by-point instead of concreteness and metaphorical life. the only use of language Johnson understands. The literary intellectual could feel that in his own grapplings with experience he had society. He virtue to convenience. care. of language the use by which the to speak and act for itself. there was real achievement to justify the Augustan pretensions. and that Congreve usual post-Dryden rhetoric. and leaves Johnson cannot understand that works of art enact their moral . From his writings indeed a system of moral duty may be selected. But it is die limitation that has to be insisted on at the moment. minds of the age achievement the very positive convenof experience offered by that civilization in the name of Reason. could accept tional ordering Clearly. with neat illustrative parallels thought-image. nor is always careful to show in the virtuous a disapprobation of the wicked . That powers. Johnson was profoundly There is more significance in his exaltation of the passage from The Mourning Bride than Mr Krutch recognizes. he carries his persons indifferently through right and wrong. but as a going concern. tells THE COMMON PURSUIT Over a considerable period the distinguished as a final us something about the civilization that produced it. and at the close dismisses them without further their example to operate by chance. but his He sacrifices precepts drop casually from him . he makes no just distribution of good or evil. The method is that of prose-statement. and is so much more careful to than to instruct. Truth and Nature. he cannot appreciate the life-principle of drama as we have it in the poetic-creative use . it is as 'description' (Mr Krutch's point) that Johnson exalts it above anything of Shakespeare's but Mr Krutch (with Shakespeare to help him) ought to be able to see that 'description' can be done by can only offer us the poetic-creative methods. True. for he that thinks reasonably must think morally . representative in his inability to appreciate the more creative uses of language for that was his case. not merely as ideal tradition. that he seems to write without any moral please purpose. with him could feel it in such a way that he didn't need to be conscious of it. This disability has its stuff of experience is presented obvious correlative in Johnson's bondage (again representative) to moralistic fallacy complains of Shakespeare (in the Preface) : and confusion.

'thinks' (and feels). and he may fairly be taken representing the tendency of the reaction against the Augustan. I bring it bounds. as a poet.JOHNSON AND AUGUSTANISM valuations. Such a use of language. But the perception of this should not prevent us from giving the strength of The Vanity of Human Wishes (or of the poem on Levet) its due.' and telling . to fed. ' us how we. are telling us. His use is at least as far stating removed from that as Johnson's is if removed on the other side. the phrasable antithesis of Johnson in the sense that he practises what I have called the dramatic use of language. His handling of emotion may not be 'statement' but in order to describe it we need a parallel term. While Johnson starts starts with an . so unchallenged and unqualified in its assumption of omnicompetence (how it came to prevail with this completeness would be a large and complicated inquiry. iv) with that speech of Claudio's which emphasis. for Johnson a moral judgment that isn't stated isn't there. Here we have a clear view of the essential tendency of the Augustan tradition. Further. a dead set at an purpose Shelley emotional effect. Nor should it lead us to overrate the poetic strength of Shelley's use of language. he demands that the whole play shall be conceived and composed as statement. and pursues it in an explicit mode that might very reasonably be called 'statement' in contrast with the Shakefrom which spearean mode. It his in is not enough that Shakespeare. the audience. It is a matter of telling us . I feel like this. The dramatist must start with a conscious and abstractly formulated moral and proceed to manipulate his puppets so as to demonstrate and enforce it. Yet he is not. which is one of presenting something the emotional effect (or whatever else) derives. it is often hard to find a paracontent in his verse. on the evidence of works. taking in more than the English scene) must tend to turn forms and conventions from agents of life into debilitating conventionalities. His use of language might seem to be as far removed as from the use as possible . such as forbid the development of the individual sensibility and set up an insulation against any vitalizing recourse to the concrete. Sc. Intended intensities are indicated by explicit insistence and intellectual and moral with an emotional purpose. What Shelley does in The Cenci (Act V. morally. down to Shelley in order to keep the discussion within He is a poet of undoubted genius.

: this is as remote as possible from the Shakespearean original Ay. rotting To be nailed down into a narrow place To see no more sweet sunshine hear no more. A kneaded clod To .H2 Sc. be said that die criticism of the tradition adorned by Johnson is that it led to the conditions in which Shelley did this with his genius. As Mr Krutch says 'No one of his contemporaries seemed more completely outside : the energizing romantic movement. . in fact. cold. bathe in fiery floods. If the whole Shelleyan speech is (or the whole play) it will be found to be.' What Mr Krutch doesn't see is that in Johnson's lack of sympathy for the 'novel elements' (which aren't on the whole so very novel) we have his strength rather than his limitation. of course. . if he likes. i) THE is COMMON : : PURSUIT he unconsciously remembers from Measure for Measure (Act HI. ! be possible I have My To die so suddenly ? So young to go ! God Can it Under the obscure. characteristic Beatrice (wildly) O wormy ground . has so much turned up wholly a matter of the stronger effect. I leave the reader to look up. In the juxtaposition as I give it here it will be seen that there is nothing in Claudio's lines corresponding to the direct explicit emotionality of the (so God. . ' O It might. . in cold obstruction. In spite of the reminiscence. but to die. appear when the training begins to manifest . . The formula for Johnson as critic is this : he is and his limitations strong where an Augustan training is in place. the two speeches. . or more insensitive to the novel elements that were beginning to be evident in the work of Gray or even in that of his friend Goldsmith. Johnson. in essence. though the Shakespearean passage significantly placed) O My '. and I won't develop the comparison (there are some relevant notes in the chapter on Shelley in my Revaluation). or to reside In thrilling region of thick-ribbed ice. and to rot . and go we know not where . This sensible warm motion to become lie To and the delighted spirit . was not inclined to be indulgent to the 'romantic' consequences of Augustanism.

for there the judgment operates freely.*) come on a really striking limitation in the critic. I of course. will myself judge that with something approaching infallibility Johnson between what is strong and what is weak in the eighteenth century. 113 That 'unjustified'. for all and Mr their acuteness. That Johnson shouldn't be able to appreciate the genius that could transmute into Mr Augustan poetry elements that so transcend the Augustanism of the Essay on Man. : . Milton has a subject and his use of language offers none of the difficulty of the Shakespearean it is concerned with direct declamatory statement and observes a high decorum. that * is. which Paradise Lost has no difficulty in overcoming. and makes it a minor plain that in his view Johnson's failure of sympathy is matter (measured by the loss involved) compared with his failure in respect ofLyddas. he had formed his style by a perverse and pedantic principle. In it appears unmistakably the genius that finds of the its fullest expression in that great poem. leave us feeling that the full difference between the two Johnson doesn't appreciate doesn't. strikingly the Epistle to Arbuthnot or The Rape of the Lock throws a significant . the fourth book Dunciad. there's some true and tender sentiment there. that. This in all his prose is discovered and condemned discriminates . Johnson can say of the diction. Where Milton is concerned he shows an interesting resistance. at the modish in our time who sometimes seem to unjustifiably) pay lip service to Dryden less because they generally admire him than in order to emphasize the fact that they do not consider themselves romantics'. unanswerably 'The truth is.JOHNSON AND AUGUSTANISM itself as unjustifiable resistance. Krutch quotes some significant acute comparative observations on Pope and Dryden that. cannot see that Pope is a poet of another and greater kind. while he can jibe (not Pope's greatness. involve an appeal to one's own judgment. But the Unfortunate Lady is one of the most remarkable poems in the Oxford Book ('Yes. appreciate Krutch himself. . It is in his treatment of Pope that we . I had congratulated him on having included that piece of Pope). (All the same. not without mischievous intention. .' *Q' replied when. He was desirous to use English words with a foreign idiom. Faced with the Verses to the Memory of an Unfortunate Lady he can say that Pope 'succeeds as well as Pope could be expected to succeed with such a subject'. both in prose and verse.

a problem of relevance : it is. and its aim is not to present "the truth as I (and probably no one else) sees it. for literature is merely a reflection of men and manners and morals. even. specialist conceptions.' me sound. is not a mere matter of good sense it implies an understanding of the resources of language. As so often. But there ts. sense it of nothing certainly implies a specially developed sensibility. Wall' between the eighteenth century and the seventeenth though for Pope (see the opening of the Dundad IV) Milton was no Chinese Wall. in are be relevant in his judgments and commentaries makes him a critic. where works of literary art are concerned. But is it : Mr Krutch anticipates the question his attitude pure ? In giving the answer. for a critic. In this fact. no terms. I don't think that for any critic who understands his job there any 'unique literary values' or any 'realm of the exclusively aesthetic'. of the exclusively aesthetic.' That is (I myself should say). the nature of conventions and the possibilities of organization such as can come only from much intensive literary experience accompanied by the habit of analysis. to say that for Johnson there is no realm. though the term 'aesthetic' signals a lack of grip. Johnson was and the Pope whom he saw stood as a Chinese representative. I know said by Johnson that leads to suppose he would me (unless in 'talking for victory') have disputed this. his ability to that . : special sensibilities. And the ability to be relevant. he fumbles. of course. At the end of the chapter on the Lives." but to make statements which the reader will accept as true for himself and all normal men. It is because Krutch is not sufficiently a critic in the sense Mr . if he deserves the name. Mr Krutch says quite rightly that Johnson 'did not think of his criticism as something that ought to be essentially different from that general criticism of life which he had made it his business to offer since he first began seems to to write. Of the criticism he says 'Its manner is objective. But take this account of Johnson's attitude (p. Anyone who special has the equipment to judge men and manners and morals has the equip- There are no unique No no ment to judge literature. To say this is. it is essentially critical.ii4 light THE on the decline COMMON PURSUIT * of the Augustan tradition. are necessary. Mr Krutch discusses the kind of critic that Johnson was. 449) literary values.

Indeed. And it will be proper. Further.. I it is a repeat. at the same time. he tells us.' But. instead. the pessimism which is more properly called the tragic sense of life It was a tragic sense of life that was. but in the very ethos of her work. both ' : moral and a profound commonsense Vivite laeti centrality one of the great rules of health'. He thinks highly of 'To Johnson's contemporaries'. can see why Jane Austen. Johnson did something more than merely rephrase the commonplaces which have long served to demonstrate that all is vaniry. I think will is become deserves to do) something of a classic it a reason for taking admirable challenge to stating which seriously. indicating more obvious relation to Johnson's Augustanism. as well pleasant. His in other words. have found it an my own sense of the living interest as and importance of the subject. It was. (as it have I insisted it on them good book. I feel gives lodgment for the criticisms I have a little ungrateful and ungracious in me to so. whose 'civilization' is so different a thing from what the modish cult makes it. For. in Rasselas we have something deeply English that relates Johnson so that Rasselas has more and Jane Austen to Crabbe. . 'the book was a dazzling specimen of that "true wit" which consists in the something perfect ne'er so well expressed".. its of agreement with Mr Krutch. is no more than a lament over the failure of worldly prosperity. not only on the surface obvious enough). to end on a note Rasselas. was not merely of that vulgar sort which pessimism. its influence is right to a place in the history of the English novel than Defoe and Sterne together. . he rightly statement of which "oft was thought but insists. admired Rasselas to Mrs Thrale who knew We such effect that (where it is to be found. he wrote to Mrs Thrale is the tragic Johnson as Boswell did not.JOHNSON AND AUGUSTANISM defined that his passed 115 book it is on it.

for Boswell Johnson repreprose-parodies cultivate sented challenging and exacting standards. argued at length. he exhibits in his concern to stress Johnson's intellectual distinction (see. the recurrent transcriptions of opinions. : The limita- tions of such appreciation are. This last proposition can count on a general unenthusiastic concurrence. revised downwards to the level of a good-mixing that. after all. after all. Johnson. not one to which those voked. about points of law) a seriousness that has no place in the modern cult of the Great Clubman. all the legend with its picturesque and humorous properties without being bothered to read even Boswell. unlike the sociality of the eight- eenth-century Club. radical just as those witty an obtuseness to the unique Johnsonian so the exploitations of Johnson the personality provoke strength. It is worth noting that in the Oxford Book of Eighteenth Century Verse. In currency fact. of course. These are the days. Everyone.. for instance. intellectual and moral standards far above the level ofrhomme sensuel moyen. Johnson was a great prose-writer. is truth as evident are often prois cannot even be said that the Johnson of general . He and Mrs Thrale might seem to be readable enough. and it has been well said that his poetry has the virtues of his prose. is paid the tribute of appreciative parody. in which you can stock up on Johnson traits. is BoswelTs Johnson he BoswelTs Johnson edited in the interests of middlebrow complacency . indeed. 'Johnson. is hostile to serious intellectual standards. but it doesn't follow that was a great Man the proposition. anecdotage.points. which has . of course. as he betrays whenever he expresses for our benefit those respectful disagreements with Johnson's judgments. For though poor Boswell was quite unintelligent about literature. one to the comment that. like his prose. knows of Letters. but those little works of mediation which come out from time to time are apparently offered as being more so.JOHNSON AS POET THE matter is addition of Johnson's a that Johnson poems to the Oxford English Texts for quiet satisfaction. it who see its was a great English writer'.

as noted above. as Ben Jonson is common this in his. and. yet that his English would not have been what it is but for his cultivation of Latin is indisputable. Over a hundred pages of the it volume are occupied by Irene. the satisfaction. The Vanity of Human Wishes a (which forms considerable proportion of the good poetry pro- duced in the century by poets other than Pope. be proposed to a student as a profitable matter of inquiry. the inferior London. by a university director of literary studies. Partly. wholly respectable in an age when elevated literary drama. He. They have in general difference from Milton. But we may take it that to include a Oxford Standard Texts is to recognize his substantial poet in the classical standing. and the particular nature and conditions of this difference in each case might. occupying four pages in all. For though (to speak with Johnsonian largeness) no one ever again will read Johnson's Latin. is quiet. like Ben Jonson. and the stanzas on the death of Levet what other poem (though no doubt a whole list of odds and ends could be collected) is there to add to this list ? A large proportion of the volume consists of Latin verse. natively and robustly English. the presence of which serves to provoke reflections on the difference between Johnson's Latinizing and Milton's.JOHNSON AS POET 117 over seven hundred pages and the anthologist of which is one of the editors of the Oxford Johnson. A twenty'). was an opportunity for Garrick. The Vanity of Human Wishes. of course. As tion: one re-reads one's 'A dramatick exhibition is a book recited with concomitants that increase or diminish the effect'. by Shakespeare or by Home. the Drury Lane ProShort Song of Congratulation ('Long-expected one and logue. and declamatory histrionic virtuosity was the highest the to the characteristic defini- mind goes back . whole to see Johnson the poetic classic paid all the honours of exhaustive scholarship must give satisfaction. this is to be taken as expressing (what one sympathizes with) a bias a bias. However. aims at Latin qualities and effects. For a perusal of the four hundred pages of this handsome and scrupulously edited volume (a necessary acquisition for all the libraries) yields nothing to add to the familiar small body of his verse that deserves currency. though a is not very long) is represented by four short extracts. great poem. yet contrives to be in his own way.

'He sacrifices result of a virtue to convenience. His good poetry is as radically undramatic as good poetry can be. which ing. he starts with general ideas and general propositions. though unlike anything that this description readily suggests to modern : and reflection it is a poetry of statement. where dramatic literature was in question. that force which calls new powers into being. perception and feelthe significance coming out in complex total effects. alive to the complications attendant on the qualifying adjective Johnson. which embodies sentiment. The dramatic conception so patent in Irene is intimately related to the essential qualities of The Vanity of Human Wishes. This is great poetry. use of language *In this passage is exerted all the force of poetry. That he has no sense what is most interesting in of the theatre. was not alone. that he seems to write without any moral purpose'. . exposition could be remoter from the Shakespearean nothing taste . are also left to speak for themselves . And it seems reasonable illustration. significant particularities ment and said his verse. in that age. and animates matter' than the Johnsonian. may fairly be to have the virtues of good prose. COMMON The assumption PURSUIT that a work of art in words to be judged as literature seems in any case reasonable. Yet.n8 theatre is THE had to offer. and in not being. his themes dramatically these points one finds oneself making is a matter of point noting afresh certain familiar characteristics of his literary habit: his essential bent is undramatic in a sense of the adjective that goes deeper than the interest of the 'dramatic critic'. It is to associate with his radically undramatic habit ('dramatic incapacity' it might be called. and is so much more careful to please than to instruct. comselves. and enforces them by discussion. like that by reason of these characteristics that which he found most congenial. as one re-reads Irene so patently conceived as a book to be recited. and worse. and the failure in cannot present or conceive are obvious. if we remember that the positive positive training will have its negative aspect) Johnson's for poetic justice. and his inability to appreciate the ways concern in which works of art act their moral judgments. and presenting to speak for them- of sensation. Johnson and in this he is representative of his age has neither the gift nor the aim of capturing in words. and so patently leaving to the 'concomitants' the impossible task of making it a theatre-piece one realizes that 'literary bias' misses Johnson's case.

and fall. His characters declaim eloquent commonplaces he cannot make them do anyelse. There Poetry shall tune her sacred Voice. And wake from Ignorance the Western World. He is clearly determined that his verse shall Johnson's not be changed into the 'periods of a declaimed. is less than Now let us wait the last award of Heaven. but the dramatic ambition has robbed them of the strength and substance. . When first the college rolls receive his name The young enthusiast quits his ease for fame. the great moralist. Submissive and prepar'd for each event. Nor Secure of Happiness from Flight or Conquest. 1 1 have discussed it in some detail in Revaluation. And Peace propitious smile on fond Desire There shall despotic Eloquence resume Her ancient Empire o'er the yielding Heart . they shine. evaporate. And Bacon's mansion trembles o'er his head. For such the steady Romans shook the world these conditions fail him whenhe attempts drama. O'er Bodley's dome his future labours spread. And there too we haw the measure of blank verse. Through all his veins the fever of renown Burns from the strong contagion of the gown . The mighty Tuscan courts the banish'd Arts To kind Italia's hospitable Shades . .JOHNSON The conditions tion the weight AS POET 119 that enable Johnson to give his moral declamaof lived experience and transform his eighteenth1 century generalitiesinto that extraordinary kind of concreteness Delusive Fortune hears th' incessant call They mount. fear the Fair and Learn'd can want Protection. and that it shall * not be said that the audience cannot easily perceive where the Irene is all like that. Such bribes the rapid Greek o'er Asia whirl'd. reduced to a show of speaking through his persona. There shall soft Leisure wing th* excursive Soul.

With the absence of rhyme and of the movement of the couplet goes the absence of wit. In couplets. And without the wit he is without the Johnsonian weight. he couldn't have written so dismally. . of course.120 lines THE COMMON PURSUIT end or begin' (see his remarks on blank-verse in the Life of Milton).

Santafor Dante. in which I have always found valuable stimulus to disagreement. he might have . essay I 1 HERE appeared in Scrutiny some years ago (March 1936) an am indebted to the essay for its use as a stock resort in the dis- cussion of Tragedy with undergraduates reading for the English I don't want to that the debt incurred has been Tripos. of course) which is the weaknesses (or so focussed sharpness of illuminating intelligence. earlier in the essay he has said that Shakespeare 'like an was putting into the mouths honest miscellaneous dramatist . But he unmistakcomment on the plight to ably slips into arguing as if Macbeth's which the action has brought him may be taken just as Piccarda I may be taken is as speaking as Shakespeare's. and it is the considerations raised by one of them in particular that I am concerned with here. In fact. for the moment. of his different characters the sentiments that. Many admirers of Mr Santayana besides myself must have been in which he plays offMacbeth's speech besurprised at the way attributed line ginning To-morrow and to-morrow and to-morrow against the passage by Dante to Piccarda de Donati in which occurs the E'n la sua volontade & nostra pace. Tragic Philosophy. suggest purely a matter of opportunities for disagreement. True. Mr yana's point. recognize. . To say 'always' is to suggest that I have re-read it a good deal. coherent philosophy to set against Dante's that Shakespeare hasn't a settled and if though 'possibly he had been pressed by some troublesome friend to propound a found in his irritation nothing personal philosophy.TRAGEDY AND THE MEDIUM' ' A NOTE ON MR SANTAYANA'S 'TRAGIC PHILOSOPHY' by Mr Santayana. Tragic Philos- ophy exhibits Mr Santayana's characteristic brilliance and witthat rare wit (not rare in Mr Santayana. They are considerations that take back to a point I made in discussing me Johnson's criticism. and I have. were suggested to him by their predicaments'. But it has striking I see them). .

re-established in the obvious last How. Both are notable passages. unambiguously. and in so doing to annul its tragic dignity and moral finality. And there is more than disparity between these two worlds there is contrariety and hostility between them. in this play. has to offer I : questioned at the beginning whether the poetic value of unlike things could be pronounced equal and if now I compare this whole : passage with the passage from Macbeth I find that to my sense they are incommensurable. There is no possible common ground. religion and philosophy are insane vapours . and which dose. . we are moved to retort. no common criterion even of taste or beauty. in as much as each professes to include and to subordinate the other. inevitably (one to the quite other effect of the total action the total action in relation to which the speech has its signi- By his If it It plunge into crime. for the mood of Dante. to take Macbeth's speech as representing such substitute for a philosophy as Shakespeare. one asks. that the play ends. For the mood of Macbeth. this refers us. is It is of man' and the impersonal not on his extinction after of the moral and and his valedictory nihilism is the vindication spiritual order he has outraged. Fortunately presume that burgherly comfort and official saved him from being unreasonably pressed'. when were done quickly done. Macbeth is possessed by the devil. Macbeth is possessed by the devil the tragic dignity and moral finality of Shakespeare's world are focussed in Macbeth's cry of : * animal despair' only in so far as would have thought). appealing to and developing different sides of the mind. if that is all that was meant but they belong to different poetic worlds. . fury. can Mr Santayana have failed to see things so The answer follows immediately on the sentence of his ? quoted : We might at best say that both poets succeed in conveying what they . then 'twere well -he has confounded 'this little state order from which a tale it is of sound and inseparable.122 else to fall THE we may COMMON PURSUIT back upon than the animal despair of Macbeth. For the mood of Shakespeare too. ficance. taken in 'tis fatal ignorance of his nature were done. signifying nothing. But we orthodoxy are at the same time invited.

of truth. He cannot. stultified in his own eyes. and so. moral stated but enacted. of . a blinded lion at bay. and gives us his surprising We commentary. not poetical apprehension . it is plain. of the And the isn't But for Mr epitomizing statement. because in Shakespeare the medium is rich and thick and more important than the idea . say that Shakeus Macbeth's speech' : it comes to us. whereas in Dante the medium meant to be transparent. understand the nature of the organization that goes with that use of language he cannot appreciate the ways in which the themes and significances of the play are dramatically presented. The critic who falls so complete a victim to as the word medium' * Mr stand the poetic Santayana here shows himself. . a dying gladiator. then. if the reader is pression ? impressed . or total upshot. have only shifted the question a stage further back. Shakespeare gives us the humours of his distracted hero . not from the speare gives author. expressiveness depends on stirring the waters deeply. but from the play. possible. . doesn't. where choir answers . A clear and transparent medium is admirable. for instance. of 'ideas'. emerging dramatically from a dramatic don't. choir. there are stretches of pure scholastic reasonpassage. yet the studious and rapt poet feels himself carried on those wings of logic is unvarying and simple as and Even in this choice into a paradise beautiful. It offers no 'philosophy'.TRAGEDY AND THE 'MEDIUM' wish to convey. a hero nonplussed. confounded. at all to our sensuous and romantic ing. Take. The medium then becomes dominant but can this be called success in exIt is rather success in making an impression. where Seneca would have unrolled the Stoicism. significance. when we * context. and that in that sense their think this as is 123 I skill is equal : but hardly true in fact. unutterablesuggesting a thousand half-thoughts and letting the ness : very of our passion become manifest in our disjointed words. he excises that speech from the organism to which it belongs and fixes it directly on Shakespeare. underand the essentially dramatic use of language that Shakespeare's verse supremely exemplifies. this betraying sentence : : high maxims of orthodox point in Macbeth. So at this We are responding properly. when we love and everything is what we have to say but when what we have to say is nothing previously definite. play Santayana significance is a matter and 'ideas' have to be stated. looking for an parallel to Seneca's 'high maxims'.

: * and betrays a * radical incomprehension. so that. Harding on Isaac Rosenberg: definite' ideas Usually when we speak of finding words to express a thought we seem to mean that we have the thought rather close to formulation and use it to measure the adequacy of any possible phrasing that occurs to us. seems a fair metaphorical description of most speaking and writing. for that. THE COMMON PURSUIT Santayana's have be so victimized ? The answer. often without insisting manipulate words almost from on the controls of logic and control over Shakespeare's words in Macbeth (for what Harding describes is the essentially poetic use of language. I am sure. This is not to suggest that a philosopher can. safely dispense with the ability to comprehend let itself How can so subtle an intelligence as Mr Shakespearean poetry. Mr Santayana's inappre- go with a naivet6 about the nature of con- ceptual thought that is common among philosophers. To how so marvellous a definiteness of conception and presentment can have been missed by Mr Santayana one has to invoke a training in inappropriate linguistic habits inappropriate. W. In venturing so far I may be merely exposing myself. as it grows in specificity. ciation seems to me to On the contrary. treating words as servants of the idea. whatever it means psychologically.124 course. but possessed imaginatively in its concreteness. for his own purposes. to bear on the incipient thought at an brought language earlier stage of its development. it in turn possesses the poet's mind and commands expression. Rosenberg let it the beginning. to the reading of Shakespeare : unable to relinquish irrelevant explain . Clothing a thought in language'. I think. It is in place to quote again here a passage of D. What Santayana calls medium' creates what it conveys. He one supposes words found intelligibility. that is. and it would be misleading. 'previously Shakespeare's definite Mr have been put into a 'clear and transparent' medium wouldn't enough for Shakespeare's purpose. to their disadvantage as such. is that he is a philosopher. Of Rosenberg's ' work like many poets in some degree. Instead of the emerging idea being racked slightly so as to fit a more familiar approximation of itself. a use in which Shakespeare is pre-eminent) is a complex dramatic theme The vividly and profoundly realized not thouglat of. but this. must be said to demand that poetry should be a medium' for 'previously definite' ideas is arbitrary.

while exhibiting his inability to appreciate. the critic . He needs but to say 'all our yesterdays'.TRAGEDY AND THE 'MEDIUM* demands. And the rhythms help We but we tions. surely. we are dreaming. When he mentions 'a poor player' we think at once of the poet himself. a professional B . and to bless Shakespeare for enabling us still to indulge in such relieve ourselves of a weight that hardly knew emo- we we were carrying. as a mould and stimulus for honest feeling. rise like ghosts before us. tempestuous and bitter. and their significant failure to distinguish between irresponsible exuberance and the mature Shakespearean mastery of language: dramatist . is Dante for us at aU comparable to Shakespeare Shakespeare. Mr Santayana too has a way of paradoxically appreciating. and fill us with a sense of the unreality of all that once seemed most real. but it is nevertheless impossible them earlier as cancelling the appreciation. the tedium of labour and illness. These sentences are perhaps not so unequivocal as Johnson's not to take pejorative remarks. and brings our suspended. should hardly declamation round handsomely to a grand finale. He : : not thinking or reasoning. We relate them to these sentences. have found courage in ourselves for so much passion and theatricality . because our minds are biographical and our sympathies novelesque we feel the misery and the lurid contrasts of a comedian's life . and the existence that just now seemed merely vain. 125 cannot take what is offered misinformed and blinded by preconceptions. hi? Shakespeare was a professional actor. suddenly becomes a candle we are such as this from Macbeth. and presently the tedium of childhood. is orchestrated. say that the author of this cannot understand the Shakespearean use of language. like that I have pointed to in Johnson's dealings with Shakespeare : But as living poetry. a pretty good analysis of the speech ? * Can we But Mr Santayana goes on : . has much in common with Johnson's. holds our attention obliges our thoughts to become rhetorical. The case. the verse struts and bangs. now seems also . the vacancy of friendships lost. readers will have noted. and cannot therefore appreciate the nature and force of the Shakespearean medium' ? What we have here implies. in passages ? trills away into fancy what was daylight a moment ago. he cannot see what is there.

Aristotle's its medical metaphor knows that he may be left to the unfortunate student who may be required to apply' the Poetics to Shake* .126 THE COMMON PURSUIT no mastering joy greatness lay there. He has no inkling of the way in which the mastering living theme commands and two passages us an account of tragic catharsis. Macbeth. are It will have been noted that in the former of the quoted Mr We bound to question his understanding. local life in the verse. to say that the critic can express himself thus can properly appreciate Shakespeare's poetry. amount to no more than this ? If so. This tragic at any rate is what. It need hardly be said. Yet the critical contemplation of the profoundest things in literature does lead to the of such an experience. it is well to put aside the term catharsis' promptings don't seem to be at all helpful. daat what we are concerned with. in my experience. and we can see to it that the attempt at kind of futility we associate with the Grand Style or the Sublime and the Beautiful. or can be. but he supremely. and in the gift of the gab : in that exuberance and in language which everybody had in that age. Life living religion. will not be idea definition shall not be the found in all * tragedies. The Renaissance needed no mastering living philosophy. He clearly cannot appreciate the its who organization that has controls the words. Does Shakespearean tragedy. or in most. and in attempting to provide our own account of a poetic use we find ourselves exploring for a profounder and more satisfactory account of Tragedy of the than he implies here. gives the essay its peculiar value. was gayer without them. : And next. or offers elsewhere in his essay. where can we look for anything profounder ? For surely the tragic experience is. or interpreting away. a more important and serious matter than The view of the catharsis Mr To Santayana here suggests ? postulate a 'tragic experience' or 'tragic it is effect' seek to define to lay oneself open to the suspicion and then of proposing a solemn and time-honoured academic game. just Santayana gives It is peculiarly interesting because in it he associates the cathartic effect with a poetic use (as he understands it) of language. does the tragic in. tragic implied in Mr Santayana's account of seems a very limited one. for instance. and the exercise of refining upon.

however the total comparison may work out. we may at any rate feel that the formula for the tragic Santayana's account of it. Racine. if not in his treatises. it of the 'something superior. The passions in foreseeing their defeat became prophets. If calm' may properly be predicated of the tragic experience. it has (we feel) something represents. there is a pomp of diction. Fate was inhuman. it excited and crushed every finite wish yet there was something in man that shared that disdain for humanity. . and they created membering defying and transcending death. but that taught the blackest tragedy to sing in verse. not inferior. * tion-room. it is inferior'. Mr of pose. have contemplated a painful action. in Mr though It is it right form. of the clearly unsatisfactory. of course. not equivocal. and it is certain that in Seneca's tragedies. which stands. and he shows considerable suppleness in presenting his case) that Seneca has an advantage over Shakespeare in this tragic phil- Mr Santayana seems to imply between the two poets osophy. admirable and sympathetic. Without granting it this. involving death and the destruction of the good. It deserves pondering because. I take this general account as granted as far as it goes. Webster. most in the terms in clearly unsatisfactory because. of reason. in rethe noblest beauties by it became poets.TRAGEDY AND THE 'MEDIUM' 127 Ibsen or Eugene O'Neill in the examinaspeare. and a suicidal despair not unlike the tone of But would Seneca ever have said that life signifies nothing ? It signified for him the universal reign of law. it is certainly not *calm of mind. and yet instead of being depressed we in the nature We enjoy a sense of enhanced vitality. Something superior. In spite reminds us too much of 'the bitter beauty of the . that not only raised die mind into sympathy with the truth of nature and the decrees of heaven. of the will of God. Seneca would have said something . deserves pondering. and triumphed in that ruthless march of order and necessity. (he says nothing crude. it was cruel. as recognized for sound ostensibly answering The conditions of something by : to it are described Mr Santayana in his account of the Senecan tragic attitude or philosophy Eliot says that this philosophy is derived from Seneca . According to what seems valid in the current notion of the tragic there is rather something of an exalting effect. all passion spent' in the natural suggestion of that phrase. a violence this passage.

is a very obvious case. the lofty thoughts that ennoble his little day . pass to-morrow himself to through the gate of darkness. disdaining the coward terrors of the slave of Fate. And whether Mr Eliot is right or not in associating Othello's self-dramatizing habit with the Senecan influence. and dark. doesn't propose anything as crude. 56. Mr Santayana's Seneca. It is. a weary but unthe world that his own ideals have fashioned despite the yielding Adas. Mans on Worship : the differences aren't radical enough. an indulgence in the dramatization of one's nobly-suffering self. to preserve a mind free from the wanton tyranny that rules his outward fife . represents a of an incapacity for tragic experience that marks the ordinary moments of us 1 aU. to worship at the shrine that his own hands have built . We recall Mr Eliot's observations (in Shakespeare and the Stoicism of Seneca) the Senecan influence in Elizabethan drama. perhaps. of course. . for those who don't join in the traditional sentimentalization of the play. p. remains only to cherish. The essential that has to be made is that his valedictory coup de thtdtre worth saying point rhetorical inflation. it proudly defiant of the irresistible forces that tolerate. destruction. is certainly not anything that encourages. a headily emotional glorification. for a moment. . Nevertheless. ere yet the blow falls. Mysticism and Logic. 1 trampling march of unconscious power. Blind to good and evil. or permits. from A human pride that confronts it for a moment in fact. his his condemnation. and its relation to the trick of rhetorical self-boosting. he gives us the is cue for saying that the attitude represented by Othello's last speech radically untragic. not clearly enough distinguishable is Free Man's Worship Brief and powerless sure doom falls pitiless Man's life on him and all his race the slow. its relentless way . however it is to be defined. reckless of . This is so obvious as to seem. to sustain alone. not : Othello. it ponder the 'disdain for humanity' and the 'defying strikes us that the Senecan attitude as described is perilously ready to subside into something of a kindred order to the prose of A Free . omnipotent matter rolls on condemned to-day to lose his dearest. for Man. knowledge and The tragic experience. . as we death'.128 THE frail COMMON : PURSUIT universe and the undismayed'. Bertrand Russell. undismayed by the empire of chance.

the young man who turns Roman Catholic in order to put himself under the authority of the Church. bad. That is what they all want. though they tend constantly to be ignored. . He wants to be ultimately a free agent. 247. H. in order to enjoy the aesthetic quality of obedience. in re^ spect of any concern for life and health. Lawrence's letters my mind when this point was under discussion : x that came am so sick of people : they preserve an evil. Fabianism and democracy. so that in their own souls they can be independent little gods. And the Conservative either wants to bully or to be bullied. . separating spirit under the talks warm cloak of good words. It is the will of the louse. . Lawrence. The most effective insistence would be tragic art. supremely relevant. What little ego is an independent little does Russell really want ? He wants to keep free his own established ego. might fairly (for my present purpose) be said to be pronouncing of the attitudes he stigmatizes that they are incompatible with needn't be discussed . And the young authoritarian. The particular justice or injustice : of these animadversions one wouldn't go to Lawrence for judicial fairness towards persons or parties. such a swine with cringing hind-quarters nowhere and to nothing. the Liberal about this great struggle for right in which the nation is engaged. secure from question. 1 Letters.TRAGEDY AND THE 'MEDIUM' into I 129 There is a passage of one of D. They all want the same thing : a continuing in this state of disintegration wherein each separate principality Conservative talks about the old and glorious national ideal. The the peaceful women talk about disarmament and international peace. little referred mortal Absolutes. his finite and ready-defined self intact. which they call peace and goodwill. tragic experience. all this goodness. But it is just his part. and all this. p. It stinks. ultimately that is what is at the back of all international peace-for-ever and democratic control talks : they want an outward system of nullity. in fact. by itself. That is intolerable in them. to insist with a passionate insistence exasperating toenergizers for movements and that there are profounder levels levels of experience policies that. That is at the back of all Liberalism. he is etc. and there are necessary political and kindred activities at levels at which the characteristic Laurentian contribution may well appear the reverse of helpful or encouraging. Bertie Russell talks about democratic control and the educating of the artisan. is just a warm and cosy cloak for a bad spirit. as he sees it. from contact and connection. are always. .

carry with it social and rational conventions as obviously limiting as the Augustan. he couldn't properly understand. it is an essential part of the definition of the tragic breaks down. described as 'dramatic' in discussing Johnson's criticism and the limits to his appreciation of Shakespeare. For expression was necessarily statement . or. the 'mine' mattering it only in so far as the individual sentience is the indispensable focus of experience. rather. By the 'poetic' use of language I mean that which I Johnson. of course. but because it is what it is. such attitudes. or because it subserves or issues in belongs purpose or will. In this he is representative of the eighteenth century. The at this level. is Such an attitude really an exaltation of the 'established ego'. he couldn't come to terms with the use of language. and of organization would seem to involve the poetic use of language. definite' ideas needn't. attainment in literature of this level. I said. critically. it But by by Mr Mr shall I Santayana's account of Seneca's tragic philosophy (or say ? by the Senecan attitude as no doubt fairly conveyed Santayana). or that of processes amount to that. not because it is mine because it is to or happens. It may not be altogether true to say that in such a use oflanguage in die business of expressing 'previously definite' ideas one is * necessarily confined to one's 'established ego'. and as presenting something that stands there to speak for itself. or undermines and supersedes. not as a medium in which to put 'previously definite' ideas. itself so utterly incapable of attaining the ' use of language for the expression of previously tragic. Poetry as creating what it presents. which went in so much for formal tragedy. but in propos- should have shown The ing for the poet as his true business the lucid arrangement of ready-minted concepts Mr Santayana proposes (it seems to me) limitations as essentially disabling for tragedy as the Augustan.130 THE it COMMON PURSUIT At any that It rate. one's readydoes seem as if the 'tragic' transcendence of ordinary experience that can be attained by a mind tied to such a use must inevitably tend towards the rhetorical order represented defined self*. and (the point was made in discussion) it is significant that that century. establishes below them a kind of profound impersonality in which experience me matters. that isn't a matter of saying. but of being and enacting. but for exploratory creation. .

He rebels. at the best it introduces a disturbing vibration. The sense of heightened is life that goes with the tragic experience is conditioned by a transcending of the ego attitudes of self-assertion. cannot be securely distinguished from the kind of attitude one strikes. with attendant non-naturalistic conventions (see the essay on Certain Noble Plays is necessary in order to provide the distance and the frame without which there can be no intensity of the right kind.g. Nevertheless he : difficulty invented a conventional rhetoric. .TRAGEDY AND THE MEDIUM' ' 131 have seen. to see Yeats.' Yeats's intention in this. But perhaps obviously relevant Nietzsche's inafter all the Nietzschean witness had better be dispensed with . against a suggestion of 'Rosa Alchemica' and the 'trembling of We makes the necessary points and makes them firmly. he notes (see. as . . while not the product is not in the least the calm of the tensed and laxative catharsis. an escape from all not altogether a 'Escape'. p. be passionate in educated modern speech Ibsen in the attempt to overcome this the veil'. perhaps. which is immediately related to his preoccupation with convention and the 'medium'. self^approving will. You cannot. . that tragedy must always be a drowning. Modern naturalistic can never.. making the point in question. The attainment of the level of experience at which emancipation from the 'ready-defined self is compelled involves an essentially different order of expression one and. precludes beauty and significance. The Nietzschean context is uncongenial to the present purpose. exaltation has nothing alcoholic about it. and a glance at it prompts the remark that the of any tragic calm (if calm' is the word). Shakespeare offers) It is in his Aesthetically-given youth. and rhetoric (as in Othello for those who take what is 'placed'. e. against the flatness of the dialogue in post-Ibsenian drama (see Essays). reading these protests in Yeatsian prose. 339). feel quite safe. might further invoke We as sistence on the Dionysiac. we in which heightening is deepening. speech. a breaking of the dykes that of Japan)* separate man from man . in his own way and interesting by his own characteristic approach. And then we come to this (The Tragic Theatre] : 'I saw plainly what should have been plain from the first line I had written. Poetry. he feels. of course. has unmistakably the cfirectest relation to what I have been trying to say above.

though dependent upon Time and circumstance. I D. *In what does the significance of life reside ? '. when life was simplified and intensified he glimpses in the living effort of war in no way mitigate his suffering at the human pain and waste. W. pp. that makes the valued appear unquestionably more important than the valuer. now becomes by virtue of Shakespeare's poetic achievement an instrument of release. and found ourselves contemplating. in the willing adhesion of the individual self to something other than itself. the necessary condition of an experience which. The value of what was destroyed seemed to him to have been brought into sight only by the destruction. clearly and inescapably. for answer. final experience. is by virtue of its value and intensity incommensurate with them that is 'immortal'. which had seemed in the Sonnets and early tragedies to be incontrovertible evidence of the subjection of love and human values to Time. and involves a recognizing positive value as in some way defined and vindicated by death. and so upon Time which these elements by their nature imply . just as earth and slime are quickened into fire and air. and he 1 Approach to Shakespeare. The emotions of Antony and Cleopatra are built upon 'dungy earth'. but. upon 'Nilus' slime'. Actually the profoundest level with the question. this he felt had a significance which he represents by immortality. 126-7. A. for instance. Here. This immortality and the value Death in itself was not his concern. is don't agree) : For death. this for its relevant suggestiveness. It quote seems to me to compare very interestingly with the following passage from D. and of the things giving it value.132 THE since as it COMMON PURSUIT irre- good word. so whilst retaining their sensible qualities as constituent parts of the Time itself becomes a necessary element in the creation I of 'immortality'. . I had better add by the way. It is as if we were challenged at Dark Gods). Traversi writing l on Antony and Cleopatra (with his relative valuation of which. in case I should have appeared to be betraying metaphysical ambitions goes with a psychologist's approach) : but only death at the moment . For him it was no more than the immortality of the possibilities of life. so that significance lies. Harding (whose distinctive strength in criticism I add. a view of life. the might suggest something negative and sponsible (just 'Dionysiac* carries unacceptable suggestions of the experience is constructive or creative.

It is this which is most impressive in Rosenberg the complexity of experience which he was strong enough to permit himself and which his technique was fine enough to reveal. . for my theme. He expressed his attitude in The Unicom . 362-3 (The Poetry of Isaac Rosenberg}. new situation. : work was Rosenberg's exposure of his whole 2 its quality of impersonality. Here as in all the war poems his sufferdie ing and discomfort are unusually arising direct there is no secondary distress from the sense that these things ought not to be. in the world Than man can Nubian : None You either bear It can exceed their limit. that they belong to the essay containing that discussion of the poetic use of language which I have found so What Harding useful in defining the limitations. Vol. : Lilith : I think there is more sorrow bear. And it is especially signiclearly ficant. lady or break. and to note further that he passes analysis on to 'impersonality' : To say that Rosenberg tried to understand all that the war stood for means probably that he tried to expose the whole of himself to it. not subduing his experience to his established personality.TRAGEDY AND THE 'MEDIUM' 133 had to respond to both facts without allowing either to neutralize the other. will get a This significance. It suits will not attempt to develop the kind of discussion of Tragedy of these passages might seem to promise my purpose rather to note the stress laid by Harding on 'complexity' and 'technique' (compare Traversi's a phrase that sums up much preceding 'poetic achievement* of Shakespeare's verse). personality that gave his says about Rosenberg in these passages has the closest relevance to Tragedy. in respect of the tragic. is a large part. . . in this note. Ibid. my main concern Scrutiny.' This willingness ' : . . pp. He was given up to realizing fully what was. of Johnson and 1 2 (I suggest) Mr Santayana. In one letter he describes as an intention what he obviously achieved I will not leave a corner of my consciousness covered up. if not the whole secret of the robustness which characterizes his best work . 1 I that the juxtaposition or threaten. but saturate myself with the strange and extraordinary new conditions of this and ability to let himself be new-born into life . HI.

the *mind does not shy away from anything. I carried must confess myself to have found. all-ordering experience known' (p. not through die force of its exclusions. stable through its power of inclusion. or re-read. It is a general characteristic of all the most valuable experiences of the arts. the argument moving as it does. I have at any rate the justification that they are entailed by Richards's essential Neo-Benthamite ambition. must be reducible to unit impulses. then. 247). This balanced poise. it may come about through an epigram as clearly as through a Sonata. and if. some. it is 'perhaps the most general all-accepting. unintimidated. if * A. reliant'. And it is not at all easy to see how Richards between any experience can satisfactorily explain the differences . PURSUIT I. with surprise. resemblances to * Harding's. Tragedy is the supreme instance of die inclusive organization of impulses . how. for my convenience.) pages The ambition asserts itself characteristically when Richards. 248) : We are not. that I had away a wrong impression from this passage an impres- sion that Richards actually pronounces the tragic experience to be obtainable from a carpet or a pot. But it is easy to see how I came to form it. having told us that. I dwell on die weakness. in the full tragic experience. which on the surface. Experience. alone and selfCriticism. is not peculiar to Tragedy. surprised when we read (p. Richards's treatment of impersonality'. it is an indication that all is right here and now in For him. (And I am urging that these should be read. with so easy and un- inhibited a transition. suitable parting stress. It can be given by a carpet or a pot or by a gesture as unmistakably as by the Parthenon. which is irreconcilable with his best insight. goes on to pronounce toughly 'all's (p. it does not protect itself with any illusion. for die purposes of the new science. of course. there is Justice* the nervous system.134 THE COMMON we consider has. 246) : The joy which is so indication that strangely at the heart of the experience is not an right with the world* or that 'somewhere. Dr Richards deals with impersonality' and Tragedy together in the same chapter (XXXII) of The Principles of Literary These pages (245-253) contain some ofthe most valuably suggestive things in the book. it stands uncomforted. so that evaluation may be quantitative.

unless it is associated with an adequate appreciation of the subtleties of poetic (or creative) language the subtleties that are supremely illustrated in the poetry of Shakespeare. if operative. But no interest in language that is Benthamite in a Neo-Benthamite ambition. Richards's reliance on his 'impulses* and his 'nervous system*. been interested in language and the meaning of meaning. . seem. in his Neo-Benthamite way. can afford to spirit. No theory of Tragedy This may criticism to . He has. can amount to substitute more than a blackboard diagram. Such an appreciation. to external transactions with other selves could engage on the kind of interest in moral issues taken by George Eliot. This point is not the less worth making because he has always. confined. or controlled by recognize the profoundest aspects of linguistic 'communication* those we find ourselves contemplating when we contemplate in the concrete the nature of tragic impersonality. Such an interest can no more be adequate to them than the Utilitarian calculus with its water-tight unit self. a mere schematic for understanding. would have inhibited Dr. so late in the day. for all self-transcendence. since the phase represented by The Principles of Literary Criticism. specialized in Semasiology. too obvious a kind of be worth reiterating but I want to give it a special point in relation to my main argument.TRAGEDY AND THE 'MEDIUM fitly 5 135 to be called 'tragic* and the most inclusively-poised experience a carpet or a pot can be supposed to give. The scientificopsychological ambition entails his taking his diagrams of poised * * and organized impulses' or appetencies' too seriously: he couldn't go on supposing he took his science seriously if he even began to recognize the remoteness of their relevance to concrete experiences.

The Wheel of Fire. clear outlines. it is. The effect is one of a noble. 'Othello is a story of intrigue rather than a visionary statement/ Knigk. dramatic form and draped in poetry. Wilson spearean Tragedy. Actually. or richly sym1 bolical ambiguities. The generally recognized peculiarity of Othello among the as no other tragedies may be indicated by saying that it lends itself of diem does to the approach classically associated with Bradley's name even : a dramatic will be necessary to insist) is poetic drama. completely wrong- headedgrossly and palpably weigh. (it and not a psychological novel written in poem. as of no other of the great tragedies. it seems. of firm. 185. unblurred and undisclarity tracted by cloudy recessions.DIABOLIC INTELLECT AND THE Othello NOBLE HERO: or The Sentimentalist's it OTHELLO. the to Bradley's approach if Bradley his had made section on Othello in Shakespearean Tragedy is more extravagant in misdirected scrupulosity dian any of the others . : is of all Shakelimited and a brilliantly die theme is sharply defined. but relevant discussion of Othello tragic significance will nevertheless be mainly a matter of character-analysis. tragedies the simplest speare's great successful piece 'classical' will be very generally granted. metaphysical aura. 107. that is. And yet it is of Othello that one can say bluntly. Bradley. have lent itself uniquely well its approach consistendy and with moderate intelligence. is of workmanship. everyone agrees. p. Grossly and palpably 1 ? false to the evidence it offers is to yet Bradley's Othello substan- Cf. a partial suppression which unites of that element in Shakespeare's mind poets and with the great musicians and him with the mystical philosophers/ A. and the play. however. ShakeG. . C. 'We seem to be aware in it of a certain limitation. p. There would. that it suffers in current appreciation an essential and denaturing falsification. It would. with a concentration of Bradley's comical solemnity. be something like a consensus in this sense.

We must not call the play a tragedy of intrigue as distinguished from a tragedy of character. then. Bradley adds.DIABOLIC INTELLECT tially that 137 of common acceptance. (p. even though not only Bradley but. had every ground for expecting the happiness that romantic courtship had promised. lago's plot is lago's character in action. In fact the play (we need hardly stop short of saying) is lago's character in action. so far as their fate depended on their characters and untampered-with mutual relations. We must not say more than this. It is all in order. the malice of the demi-devil. But lago's knowledge of Othello's amounts pretty much to Bradley's knowledge of it character (except. in his agonies. that turned a happy story of romantic love of romantic lovers who were qualified to live happily ever after. and as tragic hero is. And here is the reason for dealwith it. so to speak into a tragedy. merely a victim the victim of lago's devilish 'intellectual superiority' (which is 'so great that we watch its advance fascinated and appalled'). The character he is diinking of isn't Othello's. dising respect for Bradley (one gathers) has gone out of fashion (as a matter of fact he is still a very potent and mischievous influence). This it is the traditional version of Othello and has. generous. : Here acter Bradley Turning from the hero and the heroine to the third principal charwe observe (what has often been pointed out) that the action and catastrophe of Othello depend largely on intrigue. the support of is to sentimentalize Coleridge Shakespeare's tragedy and to displace its is centre. that lago cannot realize Othello's nobility and quite to the full) Othello is purely noble.) And we must not suppose that Bradley sees what is in front of him. According to the version of Othello elaborated by Bradley the tragedy is the undoing of the noble Moor by the devilish cunning of lago. Othello we are to see as a nearly faultless hero whose strength and virtue are turned against him. he goes on. 179. of course. in its turn. Othello and Desdemona. that lago's plot 'is knowledge of Othello's character. that lago built his on otherwise have succeeded : . and could not '. it is true. It was external evil. however formidable and destructive trusting. strong. 'lago's plot'. moreover.

where the improbability of the entire success of a design built on so many different falsehoods forces itself on the reader. is sufficiently convincing as a person he could not perform his dramatic function otherwise. We to ought not. in commentaries on the of attention.138 THE COMMON PURSUIT should get one of the two lectures that Bradley gives to the play. but as a man absolutely infatuated and delivered over to certain destruction. : His fate which is himself has completely mastered him : so that. lago is subordinate and merely ancillary. 1 * Finally. is the text. to point to. Other things come first. from Coleridge down. The plain fact that has to be asserted in the face of this sustained and sanctioned perversity is that in Shakespeare's tragedy of has commonly main focus Othello Othello is the chief personage the chief personage in such a sense that the tragedy may fairly be said to be Othello's character in action. lago. . in reading those scenes. of course. But something has gone wrong when we make him interesting in this kind of way . Othello sharing the other with Desdemona. He is not much more than a necessary piece of dramatic mechanism that at any rate is a fit reply to the view of Othello as necessary material and provocation for a display of lago's fiendish intellectual superiority. and it seems tactically best to start with something x as easy to deal with as the view Bradley's and Coleridge's and of course. And it is all in the tradition.' Coleridge. but in a conviction forced upon him by the almost superhuman art of lago. lago appears for moments not as a consummate schemer. And yet the text was there for evident. Essays and Lectures on Shakespeare. in the later scenes. though its justice is perhaps not selfmust remain for the time being a matter of assertion. lago his motivation or his motivelessness play. let me repeat that Othello does not kill Desdemona in jealousy. Easy to deal with because there. such a conviction as any man would and must have entertained who had believed lago's honesty as Odiello did. to be paying so much attention to the intrinsic personal qualities of lago as to attribute him This tragic interest last of that kind. proposition. Othello has in any case the prior claim on our attention. the been. plain and unequivocal. Othello's before them that Othello was 'not easily jealous'.

His confidence is shaken. 'the beginning of that passion may be traced' : Haply. yet that's not much gone I am abused. his determined sentimental preconception. but he is not yet jealous in the proper sense of that word. to such heroic lengths : Now I repeat that any man situated as Othello was would have been by lago's communications. iii. O curse of marriage. disturbed The lines 'proper sense of that word' is perhaps illustrated by these (not quoted by Bradley) in which. he is confused and deeply troubled. farewell : thou dost perceive. umphant Bradley himself saves us the need of insisting on this diagnosis by carrying indulgence of his preconception. and Bradley accompanies his 139 argument with constant reference to it. That we can call these delicate creatures ours. explicit expression element in Othello's behaviour someregistered as an essential to lago's success. and has dismissed lago with these words : If more Farewell. Any reader not protected by a very obstinate preconception would take this. he feels even horror . It is as particular extraordinary a history of trisentimental perversity as literary history can show. not for a new development of feeling. or for I am declined Into the vale of years She's . pages back. and my relief Must be to loathe her. does not show jealousy. let me know more . But up to this point. In any thing the evoking of which was essential that word*.DIABOLIC INTELLECT Coleridge. where lago is dismissed [III. And not their appetites I had rather be a toad. Bradley grants. but for the fully of something he had already. And live upon the vapour of a dungeon. and I add that many men would have been made wildly jealous. Set on thy wife to observe . 238] Othello. case. ! Than keep For a corner in the thing I love others' uses. jealous or not jealous 'in the proper sense of Othello has from the beginning responded to lago's 'communications' in the way lago desired and with a promptness that couldn't be improved upon. I must maintain. for I am black And have not those soft parts of conversation That chamberers have.

nobility. is absolute. it seems to against Othello. However. And happily repent. recoiling to her better judgment. And that. May fall to match you with her country forms. to anyone not wearing these blinkers it is plain that no subtilization and exaltation of the lago-devil (with consequent subordination of Othello) can save the noble hero of Bradley's devotion.HO to observe THE Ay. But pardon me I do not in position : fear Distinctly speak of her. proceeds to do. 194. there is not a syllable to be said With such he can say. though I may Her will. COMMON PURSUIT whom lago has just said you : Desdemona. He is quite explicit : to this point. : without realising the force of the corollary Othello's trust. And it is plain that what we should see in lago's prompt success is not so much lago's diabolic intellect as Othello's readi- ness to respond. then. complexion and degree. can never have been in Desdemona. It is the vindication of Othello's perfect nobility that Bradley is preoccupied with. where he trusts. thoughts unnatural. ! Foul disproportion. resolute fidelity does Bradley wear these blinkers that His trust. and we are to see the immediate surrender to lago as part of that But to make absolute trust in lago trust at Desdemona's expense a manifestation of perfect nobility is (even if we ignore what it makes of Desdemona) to make lago a very remarkable person indeed. Whereto we see in all things nature tends Foh one may smell in such a will most rank. lago's power.) To Up me. tradition aiding and abetting. say that it's not jealousy here is hardly (one would have thought) to bring Othello off clean. concerning Not to to be bold with there's the point : as affect many proposed matches Of her own clime. Bradley. (p. in the temptation-scene is . in fact. but Bradley's conclusion is not (as might have seemed inevitable) that there may be other faults than jealousy that are at least as damaging to a man in the character of husband and married lover.

. (p. and solidly there he is of action of noble product of the The big wars That make ambition virtue. rather. that is. takes it as part of the datum that Othello really knows nothing about his wiife.DIABOLIC INTELLECT : 141 that he represents something that is in Othello in Othello the husband of Desdemona the essential traitor is within the gates. of that kind phrase of his is a key one : his . The worth is really . we are told Othello is 'of a great openness and trust&lness of nature'. they have. he is nevertheless more complex than it Bradley's. plete his misery . But then. he is represented as middle-aged as having attained at any rate to maturity in that sense. not that of Romeo in his youth. 193.) known much of Desdemona before : Again we read But it is not surprising that his utter powerlessness to repel it page's should cominsinuation] on the ground of knowledge of lus wife . Bradley says : But he was newly married . spearean The tragedy is inherent in the Othello-Desdemona relation. 'there is no love. we are obliged to remark (Bradley doesn't make the point in this connection) is not in his youth . (p.. who is so noble and trustful ('Othello. a life 'That make ambition virtue' this virtues are. in the circumstances he cannot have his marriage. 'For'. more steeped in imagination than Othello's'. but he was in love with her. . . . Ah. truly impressive. characteristically. being an essential datum regarding the ShakeOthello that he has an ideal conception of himself. lago is a mechanism necessary for precipitating tragedy in a dramatic action. For if Shakespeare's Othello too is simple-minded. and Othello's. Explaining how it should be that Othello. can so immediately doubt his wife. in general. Othello. There might seem to be dangers in such a situation. and thorough in his trust'). says Bradley.) Bradley. in his comically innocent way. we have seen. It would be putting it more to the point to say that he has great consciousness of worth and confidence of respect. 192. quite apart from any intervention by an lago. was trustful. Bradley's Othello is. however. And so poetically.

as soldier of fortune. is egotistic. Seems to cast water on the burning bear. he sees himself as being. and who is so many years younger than himself (his whether or not colour-feeling' existed among the * Elizabethans. The whom that he has married this Venetian girl with facing he's 'in love' so imaginatively (we're told) as to outdo him now Romeo colour. which puts so a distance between Venice and Cyprus. in his own way. the significance of the storm. i] mode (Professor Wilson Knight. between the old life great and the new. It is. hasn't had much need of. And I quench the guards of the ever-fixed pole never did like molestation view On the enchafed flood. we are certainly to take as emphasizing the disparity of the match) the trials facing him now are of a different order. : [II. The chidden billows seem to chide the clouds The wind-shaked surge. This self-centredness doesn't mean self-knowledge: that is a virtue which Othello. the captain of men. the characteristic verse of Othello is firm. the nobly massive man of action. at But. The Wheel of Fire . this egotism isn't going to be the dangerous for its nobility. a habit of self-approving self^dramatization is an essential element in Othello's make-up. the impressive manifestation of a noble egotism. He has been well provided by nature to meet all the trials trials a life of action has exposed him to. and makes the change seem so complete and so And here we have momentous. new marital situation. in his magnanimous way. He really is. in the less the best. for the dew will rust them. In short. regular in outline. . The storm is rendered in that characteristic heroic mode of the play which Professor Wilson Knight a calls the 'Othello music': For do but stand upon the foaming shore. Othello.142 THE COMMON PURSUIT something of the quality suggested. This it 1 See that valuable book. with high and monstrous mane. but he does very much see himself: Keep up your bright swords. describes well) gives the effect of a comparatively simple magnificence . and remains so at the very end. beyond any question.

though he 'has not. we get our sense of the noble Othello. of course. Another way of making the point would be to say that the distinctive style under discussion. there are distincbe noted. die style that lends itself to Othello's self- . invests Othello and what he stands for. 's Bradley way of putting it is that Othello. as Othello takes it to be. the selfdramatizing trick commands subtle modulations and various as assertive as in stops. an attitude of a kind we are familiar with in the expressed analysis we may of sentimentality. On the other hand. the meditative or speculative imagination of Hamlet/ is 'in the strictest sense of the word' *more poetic than Hamlet* need not ask Bradley what the 'strictest sense of the (p. it note. Shakespeare works by poetic means it is through the characteristic noble verse described above that. If the impression made by We : Othello's own utterance is often poetical as well as poetic. though it is not. It is not always this verse. It is in an important sense Othello's own 'large-mouthed utterance' of the noble man of action. For his heroic quality. which is poetic drama. is it [V. not only explicit. In these speeches. within the idealizing mode. word' is. for Othello himself and others. the 143 buoyant and sonorous. 'For Othello himself it might be said that to express Othello's sense of himself and make us share it is the essential function of the 'Othello music'. very largely. 257] or the closing speech. it represents. realized in this verse (here the utterance of others) is a real thing. cannot be said to exhibit the element of self-dramatization that is characteristic of Othello's own utterances. ii. The description of the storm quoted above. but of conveying the romantic glamour that. 188). The from sentimentality Othello and what he storm. indeed. that is Shakespeare's way.DIABOLIC INTELLECT verse. But. is at the other extreme serves to bring out the reality of the heroic . If characters in poetic drama speak poetry we ought to be able to notice the fact without concluding that they are poets. tions to Behold. an attitude towards the emotion clearly involves. though it belongs to the general heroic mode of the play. I have a weapon. not of representing him as a poet. or stop to dispute with him whether or not Othello is 'the greatest poet' of all Shakespeare's heroes. the whole of the reality. In Othello.

O. Sc. In ninety Othello is saying Why The here : did I marry explanation of this quick work is given plainly enough . unbeglamouring. [IV.144 THE COMMON PURSUIT this. with such promptness as to make it plain that the mind that undoes him is not lago's but his own. he 'falls in a trance'. dramatization and conveys in general the tone and ideal import of goes. in its confident and magnificent buoyancy. my lord. lago's sustained attack begins at about line 90 in Act III. iii. of going in detailed commentary through an extended text. the stuff of which he is made begins at once to deteriorate and show itself unfit. only it does not seem to need arguing. ! ! In seventy lines Othello is brought to such a without getting any reply but state that lago can. immediately upon Desdemona's exit and Othello's exclamation : Excellent wretch Perdition catch my soul. in their voyage to is Cyprus. the difficulty is the difficulty.] As for the justice of this view that Othello yields with extra- ordinary promptness to suggestion. If it has to be argued. triumphantly outride. ofjealousy. beware. breaking into incoherent ejaculations. for written criticism. i. There is even a symbolic foundering when. The stresses of the spiritual climate are concentrated by lago (with his derealistic mode of speech) into flating. lines a and use the word 'cuckold'. O say misery. he won't not that kind of 35. Othello's inner timbers begin to part at once. But I do love dice and when I love thee not. But it is stress he has to fear in the new life beginning at Cyprus. In this testing. brutally something immediately apprehensible in drama and comparable with the storm. The text is plain enough. With that kind of external stress the noble Othello qualified to deal (if he well went down and we know he would go down magnificently). Chaos is come again. essentially with the outer storm that both the lovers.

appetite. In Venice they do let heaven see the pranks They dare nor show their husbands . : Othello And so she did. Than keep For others' 1 toad. points out that Othello didn't really know Desdemona. It is plain. conception of be his undoing (as it actually was the full irony lago can hardly be credited with intending). in the soliloquy that follows lago's exit She's gone I am abused. romantic hero and married lover. that his love is composed very largely of ignorance of self as well as ignorance of her: however nobly he may feel about it. it isn't altogether what he. There in the let it first two lines is. and my relief Must be to loathe her. possessiveness. She loved them most. at the willing sacrifice of everything else. and Bradley with him. It may be love. : That we can call these delicate creatures ours. This comes out unmistakably when he begins to let himself go . O curse of marriage. And there. for instance. their best conscience I Is know our country not to leave' t undone. lago. And when she seem'd to shake and fear your looks.' . then. i.DIABOLIC INTELLECT lago : 145 I would not have your free and noble nature Out of self-bounty be abused look to't . ! And not their appetites I had rather be a And live upon the vapour of a dungeon. in the last line we have the noble and magnanimous Othello. she had made with him a marriage of romantic love. himself: it would be a pity if He the considering her as a type a type outside his experience Venetian wife. like Bradley. but keep't unknown. I love Who has described Othello 12] as 'loving his own pride and purposes. a corner in the thing uses. accepting as evidence against his wife the fact that. . but it can be only in an oddly qualified sense love of her it must be much more a matter : of self-centred and self-regarding satisfactions pride. [I. marrying you . thinks it is. ? Othello : Dost thou say so lago : She did deceive her father. and Othello acquiesces in Othello's ideal 1 explicitly appealed to by lago. : disposition well . sensual love of loving than he suspects.

I say . he reassumes formally his heroic selfdramatization reassumes the Othello of 'the big wars that make ambition virtue'. as he sets himself irrevocably in his vindictive resolution. this noble was justified by experience irrelevant thus underlined. having exclaimed O blood. Whose icy current and compulsive course Ne'er feels retiring ebb. who enters immediately the close of this soliloquy. Now. blood. he does so in the heroic of the 'Othello music*. your mind perhaps may change. can avail nothing against the misgivings of angry egotism. but the disguise of an obtuse and brutal egotism. Shall ne'er look back* ne'er ebb to humble love. climax of the play. wide and capable revenge Swallow them up. Pointing to his forehead he makes an allusion to the cuckold's horns. To lago's Patience. It is significant that. he replies : Never. with violent pace. La the due reverence of a sacred vow Till that a I here engage my words. kneels to take a formal strain vow of revenge. is self-idealization. and when she in her innocence misunderstands him and offers to soothe the pain he rebuffs her. Othello's self-idealization and stresses. The element of angry sensuality is insistent : What I sense had I of her stol'n hours of lust ? Pioners and had been happy if the general camp. blood. At this climax of the play. all. Self-pride becomes as blindness . had tasted her sweet body. at the when Othello. The part egotism. by yond marble heaven. to the present this self-pride that trials of this conscious nobility. The is shown and the nobility as here no longer something real. Like to the Pontic sea. his promptness to jealousy and his blindness are shown in their essential relation. Even so my bloody thoughts.146 THE COMMON PURSUIT Even upon the actual presence of Desdemona. lago. but keeps due on To the Propontic and the Hellespont .

he says (p. lago !' it is plain here that 'fine'. the pity of it. 'fair' and 'sweet' apply. at this point. when he next speaks [IV. this : . three Get lest lines further on he says : me some poison. 194). his knowledge of Othello coinciding virtually with Othello's. Othello*s noble lack of self-knowledge is shown as humiliating and disashabitual 'nobility' is seen to trous. And the nature of this regret. "If she be false. A fine woman ! a fair woman i. I'll not expostulate with her. ! a sweet woman ! [IV. O. vindictive jealousy In any case. Bradley. but not that dog I shall throw it to.* are not the chief or deepest source of Othello's suffering. I 204] : will chop her into messes* Cuckold me ! Again. this association of strong sensuality with ugly is insistent in Shakespeare's play : Now he tells how she plucked him to my chamber." the feeling. lago !"* It is Shakespeare's tragedy of Othello that the man who exclaims this can exclaim three lines i. lago. It is the feeling. "O lago. i. he insistently idealizes. 'she gave it him and he hath given it [the handkerchief] his whore'). the pity of it. whom Othello hardly. but to her person in abstraction from the character of the owner. 181] 'O lago. At the cost of denaturing Shakespeare's tragedy. this night. [IV. however. later. The 'feelings of jealousy proper'. lago . respects. 147 an insane and self-deceiving passion* The make self-deception invincible. 140] I would have him nine years a-killing. ferocious stupidity. the egotism it expresses being the drive to catastrophe. sees nothing but the nobility. her body and beauty unprovide my mind again this night.DIABOLIC INTELLECT stupidity. not to Desdemona as a complete person (the immediate provocation is lago's remark. oh then Heaven mocks itself. I see that nose of yours. : This surely has some bearing on the nature of 'the pity of it' to equate Bradley's knowledge of Othello with Othello's own was : perhaps unfair to Othello.

This Sc. His anger has passed . The Othello who enters the bed-chamber with the words. 197) : An ineradicable instinct ofjustice. not in hate but in honour in honour. The supposed death of Cassio [V. not to rage and. there is almost nothing here to diminish the admiration and love which : heighten pity. But Bradley's own idealizing is invincible. That romantic idealizing love could be as dubiously grounded in reality as this is an essential condition of the tragedy. and at the hearing of words which by a crowning fatality can only reconvince him of her guilt. (p. these feelings give way to others. this It strikes sorrow's heavenly : where it doth love. however imaginatively and Romeo-like. it is the cause. again. He can even say (p. is how Othello (though as for satiated he says Had all his hairs been lives. it is to righteous indignation they give way. The deed he is bound to do is no murder. Even when. not the man of the Fourth Act. ii : is Bradley's com- mentary on Act V. ii] shows in brutal. 197. and . no doubt. leads him to question Emilia.i] satiates the thirst for vengeance. my soul. loved Desdemona. at the sight of her apparent obduracy. He is to save Desdemona from herself. a boundless sorrow has taken its place . at line 74. rather than any last quiver of hope.) That thirst. . It is is the cause. That's reader no doubt how Othello would have put it but for the the unidealizing reader what the questioning of Emilia [IV. unrestricted predominance is the antithesis of any instinct ofjustice. With obtuseness to the tragic significance of Shakespeare's play goes insensibility to his poetry to his supreme art as exhibited locally in the verse (it is still not superfluous to insist that the poetic skill is one with the dramatic). and also in love. my Had stomach for them all) great revenge .148 THE COMMON an PURSUIT nature tragically expressed regret. terribly painful as this scene is. but a sacrifice. bears essential relation to the of the love with which Othello. resolute.

you chaste stars my ! ! the cause. Put out the If I light.DIABOLIC INTELLECT would misses like to see all 149 it. Should I repent me but once put out thy light. : : . the shifts of tone by which Shakespeare renders the shifting confusion of Othello's mind. Next come misgivings over the finality of the deed : and then put out the light thou flaming minister. I know not where is that Promethean heat That can thy light relume. impersonal justice It : It is the cause. appears as self-deception. It must needs wither I'll smell it on the tree. and which makes the poetry of Othello so different in kind from that of Romeo and Juliet. Now the accent of impersonal justice is heard again Yet she must die. soul to you. When I have pluck'd the rose I cannot give it vital growth again. : quench thee. Now comes a shrinking back from the deed Yet I'll : not shed her blood. For it is a speech one might have chosen with the express view of illustrating that subtle command of tone which marks Shakespeare's mature art. the containing power appearing as inexorable. since it is unassociated with any real interest in Desdemona as a person. Nor scar that whiter skin of hers than snow And smooth as monumental alabaster. But Bradley. Thou cunning'st pattern of excelling nature. in the speech he quotes from. Tenderness here quite clearly is that characteristic voluptuousness of Othello's which. slips so readily into possessive jealousy. else she'll betray more men but the accent is so clearly unrelated to any effectual motive in Othello that the concern for justice. it is Let It is me not name it the cause. the self-bracing to noble sacrifice. and the two dramas consequently incomparable. I can again thy former light restore. opens with the accent of a contained holy revulsion.

lago . and I will kill thee. 208] there is and characteristic effect of selfof preoccupation with his emotions rather than preoccupation. why gnaw you so your nether lip Some bloody passion shakes your very frame ? : These are portents. but there is no tragic self-discovery. I must weep. this night. but a person. after one more. Moreover. it is not sorrowful love or noble becomes aware of in Othello : self-bracing to a sacrifice that she Alas. When he discovers his mistake.150 THE COMMON PURSUIT it : Tenderness here is less specifically voluptuous sensuality than was earlier. actually he refuses her the time to say one prayer. ye devils ! From the possession of this heavenly sight Blow me about in winds roast me in sulphr ! ! Wash me in steep-down O of liquid Desdemona Desdemona dead gulfs ! fire ! ! ! Oh! Oh! Oh! But he remains the same Othello he has discovered his mistake. It strikes where it doth love. but we nevertheless remember Get lest me some poison. with Desdemona in her own right in Othello a curious : And balmy breath. [IV. lines just quoted is that beginning Behold. his reaction is an intolerably intensified form of the common 'I could kick myself : Whip me. i. I'll not expostulate with her. one more Be thus when thou art dead. though Othello says 1 would not kill thy unprepared spirit. : : : And love thee When she is awake and so is no longer a mere body. her body and beauty unprovide my mind again : this night. and this the last. that almost dost persuade Justice to break her sword ! One more. She wakes. But they are cruel tears this sorrow's heavenly. lago. I have a weapon. So sweet was ne'er so fatal. The speech closing with the . .

With Then must you speak well. Then. an admirable note on this speech in Mr T. but he is the same Othello in whose essential make-up the tragedy lay the tragedy doesn't involve the idea of the hero's learning through suffering. . .DIABOLIC INTELLECT 151 one of the finest examples in the play of the self-dramatizing trick. we cannot doubt. a word or two before you go. . Where shall Othello go ? He is ruined. or rather especially. The noble Othello is now seen as tragically pathetic. I find. Eliot's essay. Speak of me as I am nothing extenuate. description 1 There is. with a rising emotional swell. a rush against Othello's breast. until in less than half-a-dozen lines die stoic of few words is : eloquently weeping. in that magnificent last speech of his Othello does tend to sentimentalize. Seneca. The quiet beginning gives us the man of action with his habit of effortless authority : Soft I you . Othello really is. I pray you in your letters. for the speech conveys something like the full complexity of Othello's simple nature. No more of that. the dictated dispatch. But then. the stoic-captain whose few words know their full sufficiency up to this point we cannot say he dramatizes himself. Of one that loved not wisely but too the epigrammatic terseness of the dispatch. in a marvellous way the emotion works itself up (if we consider Shakespeare's art). The fact that Othello tends to sentimentalize should be the reverse of a reason for our senti: mentalizing too. For even. S. Nor set down aught in malice . and in the total effect the simplicity is tragic and grand. have done the State some service. and he sees himself as pathetic too : Man but And he retires. When you shall these unlucky deeds rekte. he simply is. 1 though to say that and no more would convey a false impression. and they know't. Shakespeare and the Stoicism of . begins to quiver.

reality : his true part lay. Where a malignant and a turban'd Turk Beat a Venetian and traduced the state. a coup de thlatre. And Othello . Lawrence has some relevance here. that in concentrated in as it inseparably the man of action. The theme of the tragedy It is is it concentrated in tbe final speech and action could not have been had Othello 'learnt through suffering'. of one whose subdued eyes. The final blow is as real as the blow it re-enacts. is perhaps not after all surprising. in the sense that they have preferred to see the pky through Othello's eyes rather than Shakespeare's. Contemplating the spectacle of himself. his supreme moment of deliberate : courage : Set you down this . threw a pearl away Richer than all his tribe . But this is not the part to die in drawing himself proudly up.] a superb coup de theatre. thus. and the histrionic intent symbolically affirms tbe Othello dies belonging to the world of action in which Coleridge. As. but being wrought. and re-enacts.152 THE COMMON as before : PURSUIT self-dramatization as becomes unmistakably self-dramatization un-self-comprehending Of one not easily jealous. That he should die acting his ideal part is all in the part : the part is manifested here in its Tightness and solidity. with that double force. of one Like the base Indian. [Stabs himself. Drop tears as fast as the Arabian trees Their medicinal gum. Albeit unused to the melting mood. I took by the throat the circumcised dog And smote him. Othello is overcome with the pathos of it. E. he speaks his last words as the stern soldier who recalls. Swinburne. for that world should have found That so many readers instance not belonging to Othello's part irresistibly attractive. and the actor as And say besides. whose hand. Bradley. Perplex'd in the extreme . Aleppo once. It maybe suggested that the cult of T. it is a peculiarly right ending to the tragedy of Othello.

The evidence of his intellect is the success of his plot : if he hadn't had an extraordinary intellect. to compare lago with the Satan of Paradise Lost seems almost absurd. is allowed to appreciate the pathos of his own fate. and in will . to history. all the advantages of that last speech. may be taken as showing that Shakespeare succeeded in making him plausible enough for the purposes of the drama. though and cynical observations at times. so immensely does Shakespeare's man exceed Milton's fiend in evil. to be fair to Bradley. 'so was his good fortune'. less we must add that he also finds lago decidedly lago hasn't 'intellectual supremacy'. like Napoleon and his. 219). . and you see how mean and negative mind is. is a of this response to Othello. his intellect and his good fortune belong. lago is great' (p. 206. scrupulousness. and. It is an odd kind of literary criticism. even if we are to credit him with vast 'intellectual superiority* : 'in intellect . He has. in fact. they can hardly point to anything immediately it is true that he makes some acute present in the text. ordinary/ says Bradley. Nevertheless. That it should be possible to argue so solemnly and pertinaciously 'but'. Napoleon.DIABOLIC INTELLECT is 153 not merely a glamorous man of action who dominates all comis (as we have all been) cruelly and tragically wronged panies. so was his good fortune until Shakespeare gave him bad. 'The skill of lago was extrahe adds. And yet even Bradley betrays certain 1 ' of supreme lago's But compare him with one who may perhaps be roughly called a bad man intellectual power. . where the invitation to identify oneself with him is indeed hardly resistible. . incapable of his military achievements. he a victim of relentless intrigue. with characteristic on the assumption that lago. much more incapable of his political constructions/ (p. . Who does not (in some moments) readily see himself as the hero of such a coup de theatre ? it has already been suggested.) However. If we ask the believers in lago's intellect where they find it. (p. Yes. What but supremely subtle corollary villainy could have brought to this kind of ruin the hero whose we admire and love ? Bradley concludes that perfect nobility The exaltation of lago.) . while remaining noble and heroic. 236. 1 great than Napoleon. how could he have succeeded ? That is the essential argument.

Shakespeare's genius carries careful observations. at least in suggestion. and before we ask for more we should make sure we know just what is being offered us where. comparative notes and with it a large than facility in this imposing conviction locally. and otherwise it's the actor's problem) ask how it is that appearance and reality can have been so successfully divorced. in this play (it is we are to focus. Of course. apart who Actually.' it is 1 'And a fact too litde noticed that different to his wife. There is no . The not. we know Roderigo in taking him as we are meant to take him . tion. the inference. Considered as a comprehensibly villainous person. it is recorded only to be overcome : But there are certain observations and further inferences which. In the other scenes we have no difficulty tide tells us in the whole. the business of tells us that. But in order to perform his function as dramatic machinery he has to put on such an appearance of invincibly lie presented an appearance not very sign either that Emilia's marriage was downright unhappy. . would remove this doubt. to which is accompanied by a thrill of admirabegin with. if we are to be saved from these doubts (those of us are not strengthened by this confidence in Shakespeare). and we don't (at any rate in die reading. we refrain must from scrupulous inferences. so in all the plays). of course.154 THE COMMON his PURSUIT 1 trast one thinks of it) conmisgivings. 217) : wife) except Roderigo. or that she suspected the true nature of her husband. that lago's powers of dissimulation and of self-control must have What further conclusions can be been prodigious . have the process by which the prodigious lago is But the scrupulous Bradley nevertheless records the : passing doubt In fact so prodigious does his self-control appear that a reader might be excused for feeling a doubt of its possibility. . There we created. from the beginning that he is a villain . from a confidence in Shakespeare. As for lago. Noting the astonishing (when between the devilish reality of lago and the impression he makes on everyone (including Bradley comments (p. of grudging. cynical malice (and enough in the way of grievance and motive). he represents a not uncommon kind he's given. drawn from it ? Obviously.

. account of die play. the adversary of the Bradley 1 approach. Professor Stoll is of course known as. and to leave others wondering. claim for himself an implicit weight of emotional regard that critical reflection finds him unfit to carry. it comes below Shakespeare's supreme his very greatest works. lago must. having first justified with a weight of scholarunscholarly assumption that the view of Othello reship my presented by Bradley has. Perhaps the most serious point to be pondered is that. whether he isn't a rather clumsy mechanism. from reading Professor Stoll on Bradley precipitated it. if Othello is to retain our sympathy sufficiently. since Coleridge's time. 1915) and Art and Artifice in ShakeStolTs position appears not to have changed between speare (1933). ship that. No. Othello. but of convention. In Othello : An Literature. Professor the two essays. Profiting by the convention of die slanderer believed* (for the use of which Professor Stoll gives a long string of instances) Shakespeare simply imposes is Professor StolTs jealousy on Othello from the outside that * : position. however. been the generat ally accepted one.DIABOLIC INTELLECT as to I55 cunning devilry provide Coleridge and the rest with some excuse for their awe. exposes unanswerably and length the absurdity of that view. I refrained. It 'Clumsy'. He argues that Othello's lapse into jealousy is to be explained in terms. as devil. indefensible than Bradley's. however. is no less. in academic Shakespeare criticism. and now that I have read what he has to say about Othello he seems to me to confirm where the critical centre lies by Othello and its critics till I had written. is not the right word for anything in is a marvellously sure and adroit piece of workman. His own positive account of the play. As insist 1 we on contemplate his string of instances we are moved to certain distinctions the importance of which seems to Historical and Comparative Study (Studies in Language and University of Minnesota. 2. not of Othello's psychology. though closely related to that judgment is the further one with all its brilliance and poignancy. Professor Stoll. but I find his less developed style the more intelligible. as my own deviating as badly on his side as Bradley does on the other. of set purpose. in critical reflection.

recognized by Professor Stoll. p. By And inconsistent. takes a leap as he passes from one 'soul-state* to another. Beaumont and Fletcher or any of the others is jealousy in psy- not? The unique power by which 'faith in the emotions expressed' and beguiles Shakespeare compels Bradley and company into their absurdities is. Desdejnona. 2 This critic is better than talking about 'score' and 'libretto'. p.156 THE COMMON Who PURSUIT have passed him by. tfc. Professor Stoll. 62. falls into the contradictions of con- he employs vention and artifice. of Shakespeare's the 'libretto' ?) human situations in their complexity and particularity of realiring a vivid his power of an and coherent context. discriminations that Professor Stoll ignores. . 69. . he goes on. 'delicacy' and * poetry'. the one is the index of the other. When Shakespeare uses the 'same' convention as Beaumont and Fletcher. There are. his use is apt to be such that only by a feat of abstraction can the conwill bother to argue whether vention be said to be the same. and not content with the inconsistencies of life. their individual tone. often neglects motivation and analysis. it by fits and starts. The convincing life of the verse locally and the more inclusive realizing grasp belong together . unpsychological though they be. and Emilia maintain. Dryden and Voltaire. though he cannot recognize with any chologically defensible or sureness its nature : the sheer potency of art Othello. no doubt. Op. places in Shakespeare of which one may as part intricate 1 2 here-and-now of experience Othello : An Historical and Comparative Study. . lago. though a who saw that and understood would make distinctions and The 'sheer potency' the 'magic' of his 'score' (and where is derives from his imaginative grasp of concrete art. talks vaguely of 'tact'. Elsewhere he can recognize that 'No one has more imaginative sympathy than Shakespeare but '. and quotes Shaw's 'it is the score and not the libretto that keeps the work alive and fresh'. urging us to be content with 'mere art'. makes play with analogies from music.1 To explain this potency. through all their incredible vicissitudes. of course. their passions speak ever true.

) To 'take seriously* Duke as a historical means. in the dramatic at any rate. of convention and Shakespeare has fallen *into the contradictions artifice'. For instance. : The author seems to have lost interest in it about half-way through. And because of the obviously serious purpose it subserves. and the impressiveness of the total effect it makes possible. i6th. if one could as any in Shakeseriously. it is clear. (The Duke's character. for anyone who can read. That would be an adverse criticism. a matter of tacit convention. and turns a take it fine story to nonsense. Shakewould apply intimation enough that the Duke isn't to be taken speare provides that he moves on a different plane from the other in that way characters.DIABOLIC INTELLECT 157 and there. and that parts. Other characters in the play can be convincing* on easier terms. His combination of honest seeming with devilish actuality we accept as. to regard Shakespeare's person and judge him by the standards one in actual life. But. such a habit of expectation has critic's sense. we needn't of Emilia's behaviour we accept her inquire into the consistency and not even about lago are we or need we be as a datum. would be as curious and complicated speare a moralist who tortures people in order to study their be- haviour on the rack. Dramatic sleight 1 Oct. at least partly. it is not intelligent criticism of Measurefor Measure x as a dramatic critic did in The New Statesman and Nation to say. convincingly living argue that local vividnesses here are not related in an inwardly grasped whole. But with Othello it is different. But before we make it we must make sure what kind of whole Shakespeare is offering us. ingly handled tragic And the tragic theme is centred in Othello. 1937- . convention acceptable because of the convinc- theme to which it is ancillary. seriously been him (and he is well established as the main focus ofattention) that no development will be acceptable unless the behaviour it imposes on him is reconcilable with our set up with regard to notions of ordinary psychological consistency. By the time he becomes the it has been made plain beyond any possibility jealous husband of doubt or reversal that we are to take torn. so psychologically exacting. we readily accept the convention involved in taking the Duke as we are meant to take him.

. dt. 2 almost wholly sees the Professor Stoll. To impose by convention sudden jealousy on Leontes in The Winter's Tale and Posthumus in Cymbeline is one thing we admit the convention for the sake of an inclusive effect a dramatic design that does not. yet he is at the same time still the man who couldn't possibly have become jealous like that. effect. admirers : . 42. he is now 1 Art and Artifice in Shakespeare. t p. even when we consider it critically. to product have it both ways Othello succumbing to jealousy before our eyes acquires an intense dramatic value without incurring in our esteem the disadvantages attendant upon being jealous .. but equivalent tricks or illusions passing off on us mutually incompatible acceptances with regard to Othello's behaviour or make-up would be cheating that is. by all this like the ancient Fate or intruding contriving of the poet's. he represents of our being enabled. bears in this instance. there he is. .. the profit of 'putting jealousy ' upon the hero instead of breeding it in him' is an enormous emotional effect' : The end the enormous emotional effect justifies the means . the burden of responsibility . and is our sympathy with a hero made of no such baseness without alloy. Yet not of himself suspicious or sensual. god. that is. 1 . play as the triumph of sentimentalization that it has appeared to so many . . quarrel with the trick of ' double time'. though it involves impossibilities by the criteria of actual life and yet is at the same time necessary to the plausible conduct of the intrigue . anywhere ask us to endorse dramatic illusion with the feeling of everyday reality. by Shakespeare's art. 8 pp. no one in Shakespeare's tragedies more bitterly and wildly reproaches himself. we recognize (wherever in the scale of Shakespeare's work we may place these plays). not cheating so long as it subserves honesty there. in spite of the difference of his analysis. This emotional as the : The villain. p. 41. patently jealous. as Professor Stoll enjoys it. What end would be : served e What profit would accrue ? According to Professor Stoll. But to impose jealousy by mere convention on Othello is another thing. matter for critical condemnation.I 58 is THE COMMON PURSUIT We do not.

he keeps our sympathy and admiration to the end. is a more effective tragic figure because The 'emotional essentially that of the tragedy upon Professor Stoll is celebrated in his own way by Bradley. but all in honour. or one that ordinary experience of life and that his past history hasn't men makes it difficult to accept. object of a sympathy poignant and complete as he succumbs to the machinations of diabolic intellect many 1 Op. thereby been such as to increase his in just that respect. but.DIABOLIC INTELLECT still 159 not corrupted or degraded and amid hold up his head and declare . Fortunately ment and Stoll are not reduced to reversing the critical judgThe dilemma that Professors censuring Shakespeare. of course. pose us an insoluble problem. Yet surely. in fact. p. it psychologically so that his plunge into jealousy would. He he can say that because. we and Bradley resolve in their different but equally heroic ways succumbs bother the dilemma represented by a 'not easily jealous' Othello who at once to lago's suggestions needn't be allowed to us. Perplex'd in the extreme. if Othello hasn't exhibited himself in the past as prone to sexual jealousy (and his reputation tells us he hasn't). cfc. : his misery and remorse he can For nought I did in hate. he is likely to remain for admirers the entirely noble hero. in fact. not easily jealous. it is not so very elusive a datum about Othello. that establishes him as 'not easily jealous'. being wrought. does explain in large measure why such a tragedy should be so widely found in Othello and found irresistible. potentialities However. as Shakespeare presents him. 43* .1 unlike many. prefers not to recognize it). Both critics seem to think that. been such as to test his proneness to sexual jealousy has. and effect' Professor Stall's analysis. if we had to justify (Bradley.

which of Shakespearean dramatic method and with the name of Bradley. and tell us how unadmirable he is. We first meet him too timid or too irresolute to enforce his own laws and deputing his duty to another. The 'admitted unsatisfactoriness'. as man and ruler. It is true that Knights doesn't make the usual attack on the character and proceedings of the Duke. I find myself with some embarrassment driven to point out (he quotes Hazlitt and Coleridge. how indefensible. C. the tragic poet with the slick provider of bespoke comedy. 'The Duke hardly seems to be a personage to delight in. In fact. the editors of the New Cambridge Shakespeare. A shy fellow was the Duke'/' 2 . 67 does he not transgress against the confessional ? Again. 228]. but his inner character. in reading possibilities we associate classically X. p. 108-15] is not I prepossessing. has placed compromises of the artist with the botcher. and most consummate and convincing of Shakespeare's achievements. Mr Desmond MacCarthy. while he himself plunges into a vortex of scheming and intrigue concluding by falling in love with a votary. imagine Shakespeare was not in love with his Duke.' MEASURE FOR MEASURE' 1 both of L. i. ' 1 In Scrutiny. and might have followed up with Swinburne. Knights's essay and of Measure RE-READING. the Arden editor. Sir Edmund Chambers. should have come from the author of How Many Children Had Lady Macbeth? For I cannot see that the is ' discomfort' he sets out to explain other in kind than that which. . instead of a straight prosecution? Then the freedom with which he lies [IV. at least we arc left to suppose he did [HI. xxii.only heightened my first surprise that such an for Measure. 2 Nor. in the bad Measure for Measure both among prepotent the 'unpleasant' ('cynical') plays and among the unconscionable tradition. and innumerable others). that innocence about the nature of convention and the con- ventional form. has to be explained in terms of that incapacity for dealing with poetic drama. i. It is not merely his didactic platitudes and his somewhat over-done pompousness that get upon one's nerves. Knights explicitly appeals to the 'admitted unsatisfactoriness' of Measure for Measure. iii. and was not his (the Duke's) a very shifty way of bringing him to justice. 3. At ffl. The Arden Introduction. he must have known of Angelo's treatment of Mariana. has argument about what seems to me one of the very greatest of the plays.

though an unintentional significance. odd But to come back to 1 : Claudio. Claudio's first plain that the main critical intention he is shifting the italics to 'consistently' a "character"') and.e.'MEASURE FOR MEASURE' 161 this critic. liberty liberty. rather. Our natures do pursue. True. and it is in considering the nature of his offence that one feels most perplexity. while remarking that Angelo is the 'admitted success of the play' . my : So every scope by the immoderate use Turns to restraint. what's more 'scarcely it is this 'uncertainty of handling'. it when we have to ? followed through his investigations. and who stands It is Claudio between the two extremes who seems to spring from feelings at war with themselves. whom Knights judges to be 'not consistently created would be rendered by not 'created' (i. surfeit is the father of much fast. : he says. and when we drink we can see What problem is presented by these lines The only problem is why anyone should make heavy weather of them. I down their proper ? bane. significant. it Knights finds disconcerting that Claudio should express vehe- . Like rats that ravin A thirsty evil. do we find cause for invoking the kind of inhibition that has certainly counted for a lot in establishing the 'accepted* attitude towards Measure for Measure inhibition about sex he : doesn't himself actually call the play 'unpleasant' or 'cynical'. we are invited to find localized in the half-dozen lines of address to Lucio here Knights makes his most : serious offer at grounding his argument in the text From too much As Lucio. die. But that 'sense of uneasiness* which 'we are trying to track down' what. does amount It focuses. not consistent. upon Claudio. upon Claudio's offence who is scarcely a 'character' at all.' I am moved to ask by the way what can be Knights's critical intention in judging Claudio to be 'scarcely a " character" at all'. or. This inconsistency. but it is an parenthesis to have come from the author of How Many Children Had Lady Macbeth? It seems to me to have no point. I think it worth asking because (among other things) of his judgment elsewhere that Angelo is a 'sketch rather than a developed character-study'. he says this parenthetically.

or with the mutuality of the offence. by suggesting that the offence was indeed grave. too. teristic No doubt he doesn't feel that the offence deserves nor does anyone in the play. for. an manifested in a 'dislocation or confusion of feeling'. mitted a serious offence. not only in the eyes of the law. The unto * attitude' in Shakespeare's handling of Claudio. other hand. an obvious dramatic function. Nor. and as a result brought death upon himself. should be caused by Claudio's taking conventional morality seriously that he should do so is not in any way at odds with his being in love. and impute a heavier guilt to himself than anyone else (except Isabella and Angelo) imputes to him. then. Every element of the figurative comparison will be found to be accounted for here. barring Lucio and the professionals. as he now sees the case. and in the theatre that is probably all one notices in moral conventions * .162 THE COMMON PURSUIT ment self-condemnation and But Claudio has comself-disgust. No perplexity. it makes the penalty seem less fantastic . Further. : . and upon Juliet disgrace and misery. And that he should be bitterly self-reproachful and selfcondemnatory. and I can't see anything 'odd' or inappropriate' about the bitterness and disgust. except Angelo (it is characof Isabella that she should be not quite certain about it). * : the swift transition to tary point want I anything to certainty more explicit exposition/ The complemenmake is that nowhere else in the play is there support Knights's diagnostic commentary. And I don't think anyone could have passed from those lines to the . about him accepts ? A Claudio who took an advanced everyone twentieth-century line in these matters might have made a more Claudio was no interesting character' but such an emancipated of Shakespeare's conception of his theme. he has recklessly courted temptation. . Knights's own point should be done justice to *The emphasis has. . I think part Knights will grant. I think. is it On the difficult to grant his acquiescence in the that. has succumbed to the uncontrollable appetite so engendered. uncertainty depends on those six lines for its demonstration: it can't be of plausibly illustrated from any other producible passage of the text. true (though a pal of Lucio's) but. but in his own death eyes. are there any grounds for supposing that Shakespeare himself tended to feel that the prescription of premarital chastity might well be dispensed with. is surely natural he is not a libertine.

that voices a decent Isabella takes a sterner rise to common-sense humanity. we surely know that her attitude is not Shakespeare's. or think. is something more complex than . without any supporting context. 'cynical' and 'pessimistic' 'problem* plays. Taking advantage of the distraction caused by the problems that propose themselves if one doesn't accept what Measure for Measure does offer. But why this should give or doubt about the attitude we ourselves are to perplexity I take towards Claudio sufficiently 'placed'. and ends in references to Hamlet and Troilus and Cressida. He. wrong-doing. can't see. When the word 'dream'. It must be plain that the references to Hamlet and Troilus and Cressida implicitly * endorse the accepted classing of'Measure for Measure with the unpleasant'. attitude is meant to be ours his total attitude. vinced it seems to echo once more the sonnet on lust'.'MEASURE FOR MEASURE' 163 argument that adduces sonnet 129 and the passage from Cymbeline. The Provost. been no offence) can't be thought of as belonging to the world of : real effects evil is. The intention of the Provost's remark is the offence (morals are plain enough he is merely saying that and we don't expect a Provost to say. who was not importing into Measure for Measure something that wasn't put there by Shakespeare. The strength of the parti pris becomes very strikingly apparent when we are told. With the Duke it is different. that tradition naturally tends to smuggle its irrelevancies into the vacancies one has created. The importation seems to me essentially that which is provided by what I have called the bad prepotent tradition. and is not meant to be ours. of die Provost's sympathetic remark. then. where there is willed offending action that and is rightly held to accountability. nothing could be Without necessarily judging plainer. Then I don't agree that she is not that she is to be with simple repulsion as an 'illustration of the frosty regarded lack of sympathy of a self-regarding puritanism'. which is the total of the play. Alas! He that 'it hath but as offended in a dream. I am concouldn't have seemed to do so to anyone who was not projecting on to the text what it gives him back. can set up such repercussions. we have surely a clear case of possession by the idea or pre-determined bent. moral line. His attitude. there has morals.

so that the general is confidence he wins. speaking as a Friar. says representatively. essential to the plot. Reason thus with the reality of emotion' was anticipated (as '. on the page now beneath my eye 'There is a terrible and morbid pessimism in this powerful speech on " unhealthy-mindedness" that can have only escaped from a spirit in sore trouble. As it might reasonably is. by mentioning in the same footnote Claudio's 'retort to the equally "reasonable" Isabella'. life Duke's speech. or when. and which most of us make living undeniably positive and real. or criticism voicing the general contempt. and severity must cure it' ? To impersonate a reverend friar. quite credible. of course) that . THE but need it COMMON PURSUIT conduce to a 'sense of strain and mental * discomfort' when. of being taken for a reverend we friar. And towards him we are left in no doubt about the Friar. with the aim.164 Isabella. Hm attitude we are to take : 'Unfit to live or die'. both as a Friar and to Lucio. and talk otherwise about the given 'natural relation' have found uncertainty of handling in that. a mere commentary of the best authorities. no play in the whole canon is remoter from 'morbid pessimism' than Measure for Measure. has no fear at all of death. . Knights is too not insignificantly. I think. have no life is indeed an after-dinner's hold on Barnardine for sleep. 'ignores Knights. In fact. *It is too general a speaking vice. A further implicit criticism is conveyed through Barnardine. die disguised Duke acts the part. he shows himself disposed " to severity towards the sin" of Claudio and Juliet' . in the wisdom of drink and insensibility. of self-indulgence on Shakespeare's part of pleasing piece the appreciative : all the attitudes concretely lived in the play. reminds us) by Shakespeare The . himself. is an implicit of which the Arden editor. * criticism that the . including Isabella's. The duly noted which and significant. who not. says the Duke. for all of Claudio's speech on death same time. and he. the Friar-Duke quite simply and directly with Shakeidentifying speare. the whole context. the speech : less Cressida. the indifference to death displayed by him comes nearest to that preached by the Those illusions and unrealities which he dismisses. for . the of that speech .' Actually. superiority at the to the Duke's (on hard) is is it is. in the same scene. he says. whole play. properly to be associated in mood with Hamlet or Troilus and For the attitude towards death (and life.

64] How would you be If He.'MEASURE FOR MEASURE' the Friar its 165 recommends is rejected not merely by Claudio. which is But judge you as the top ofjudgment.. Angelo begs for death when he stands condemned. you are ? O [n. the varied positive aspects of which it brings out its significance being that it does so. Drest in a little brief authority. life. You would have him . with all the force of healthy natural impulse. is The demonstration is of human nature. in spite of all the Friar may have said. the significance of which is positive.. he has already lost his life. it may fairly be said. Barnardine is an unambiguous figure. but by total context in the play. necessary instrument in the experimental demonstration upon Angelo : hence shall we see. 75] . should ! think on that. proud man.. and also because of eschatological terrors. not merely in the eyes of others. by the criteria upon which his self-approval has been based when. In particular this significance appears when we consider the speech in relation to the assortment of attitudes towards death that the play dramatizes. since they are co-relatives of established positive attitudes (the suggestion of Dante has often been noted). asserts itself. 117] Of the again i nature of the issue we are reminded explicitly again and If he had been as you. he's Most ignorant of what His glassy essence . [II. Isabella can exhibit a contempt of death because of the exaltation of her faith. ii. If power change purpose.. what our seemers be. most assured. but in his own eyes. as undeniably real and poignantly desirable . ii. The death-penalty of the Romantic comedy convention that Shakespeare starts from he puts to profoundly serious use. [n. and you slipped like as he. for Angelo man. It is a . Claudio shrinks from death because. ii. his image of himself shattered. once he sees a chance of escape.

It is Shakespeare's great triumph in Measure for Measure to have achieved so inclusive and delicate a complexity. To believe in the need for law and order is not to approve of any and every law. Complexity of attitude isn't necessarily conflict or contradiction and. form in [II. to some organs and procedures of social discipline are essential to the maintenance of society needn't be incompatible with recognizing profound and salutary wisdom in 'Judge not. Chambers (see Mans Unconquerable Mind) have recognized. surely. some degree of complexity of attitude is involved in all social living. . The quality of the whole. but that is not to say that we are required dictions. answers to the promise of the poetic texture. ii. to which Knights. conflict and uncertainty. order. Shakespeare conveys his belief that law. in his preoccupation with a false trail. believe that . COMMON PURSUIT Go to your bosom and ask your heart what it doth . that ye be not judged'. know That's like A natural guiltiness such as is his. 'Judge not. accept the law as a necessary datum. To talk in this close is. Let it my brother's fault if it confess not sound a thought upon your tongue Against my brother's life. even in the play of which this is the moral. that ye be not judged' may in this play Shakespeare is to the Testament. seems to me to have done so little justice.166 THE Knock there. 136] The generalized stated which the result of the experiment of Measure for Measure I know) and R. W. in fact. But. We . or with believing that it is our duty to keep ourselves alive to the human and personal actualities that underlie the 'impersonality' ofjustice. and to have shown us complexity distinguished from contradiction. and about Shakespeare's attitude to the particular law in question there can be no doubt. it may be added (perhaps the reminder will be found not unpardonable). But there is no need for us to create a perplexity for ourselves out of the further recognition that. with so sure and subtle a touch. and formal justice are necessary. Wilson Knight (whose essay in The Wheel ofFire gives the only adequate account be how New connexion of the 'underlying dilemma* of the play is to suggest (in keeping with the general purpose ofKnights's paper) that Shakespeare shows himself the victim of unresolved contra- of mental conflict or of uncertainty.

On the one hand. or is she. but the Shakespearean use far subtler attitudes and valuations than the Morality does. as supreme enunciation of the key-theme Drest in a little : man. like Angelo. Her showing in the consummate interviews with Angelo must command a measure of sympathy in us. R. or subtlety uncertainty. I think. brief authority . : You do blaspheme the good in mocking me. an of the frosty lack of sympathy of a self-regarding But why assume that it must be either or' that puritanism' she has to be merely the one or else merely the other ? It is true illustration > * the Morality Knights remarks. Isabella presents a subtler case. proud man. We have come now. Chambers is certainly wrong in contending that we are to regard her with pure uncritical sympathy as On himself.' asks Knights. we note that the momentary state of grace to which her influence lifts Lucio itself issues in what amounts to a criticism a limiting I and placing criticism : Ludo : hold you as a thing ensky'd and sainted : By your renouncement an immortal spirit. On the contrary it is an obvious challenge to judgment. And to be talked with in sincerity. one that ought to leave us * in any doubt. the other hand. . Measure for Measure bears a relation to of convention permits . representing an attitude endorsed by Shakespeare To begin with. 'are we to think of Isabella ? Is she the embodiment of a chaste serenity.'MEASURE FOR MEASURE' to accept it in 167 any abeyance of our critical faculties. What. The attitude towards Claudio we have dealt with. and she convincingly establishes a presence qualified to command such respect. It is she who speaks the that. W. to the treatment of sex in Measure for Measure. Isab. . As with a saint. and its necessity is a matter of the total challenge it subserves to our deepest sense of responsibility and our most comprehensive and delicate powers of discrimination. Isabella is clearly not a simple occasion for our feelings of critical superiority. The respect paid her on her entry by the lewd and irreverent Lucio is significant. and I find myself obliged to insist once more that complexity of attitude needn't be ambiguity. but not. of course. .

accidental. but a trade. The effect of this is confirmed when. [Going. with her armoured virtue. is something to which she. No word to save thee. Do not believe it. it should proceed. Claud. it is not credibly an accidental touch Isabel. The cumulative effect is such that it would need a stronger argument that R. to thee would prove diest itself a bawd : thou quickly. IsabeL ***' O! Thy sin's not Mercy 'Tis best that fie. we register her soliloquizing exit at the end of : Act IV. while endorsed dramatically by the exalted seriousness that is a tribute to Isabella. my Claud. Chambers's to convince us that there to oughtn't be an element of the critical in the discharge upon Claudio : way we take Isabella's parting &<*& ! Take my defiance : Die. 34] This is implicit criticism in the sense that the attitude it conveys. note We again being he who has to incite Isabella to warmth and persistence in her intercession for Claudio. can't attain. fie. brother. fie. Til pray a thousand prayers for thy death. : Nay.168 Lucio : THE COMMON his lover PURSUIT : : Fewness and truth. little as he has our sympathy in general) comes out Angelo's condition. Your brother and P. Isabella ! . from the centre). without demanding that Isabella should have yielded to in its further that this advantage over her that Lucio has (for we feel it to be that. ii . W. iv. : Q hear me. as blossoming time That from the seedness the bare fallow brings To teeming foison. live chaste. Sc. die is Then. perish Might but bending down Reprieve thee from thy fate. and. 'tis thus have embrac'd As those that feed grow full. : More than our brother our chastity. we feel. hear me. and poetically by the unmistakable power of the expression (it comes. even so her plenteous womb Expresseth his full tilth and husbandry.

aptly clinches the general Finally. Knight. the poet's sure human insight and his fineness of ethical and . his delegation of familiar romantic convenauthority and his disguise (themselves which Shakespeare transforms a romantic means by tions) are the comedy into a completely and profoundly serious criticism oflife The more-than-Prospero of die play. ere I'd yield My body up to shame. But what one makes of the ending of the play depends on what one makes of the Duke and I am embarrassed about proceeding. is as the last sentence of Knights's paragraph confirms. significant at all. 100] surely significant that the play should end upon a hint to marry the Duke a hint that. that the resolution of the plot My own view is clean contrary : it is poetic sensibility. with. it is is that she presentment of her. iv. equivalent. * ' . showing obvious signs of haste. for interpretive of Measure for Measure is a consumand satisfying fulfilment of the essential design mately right marvellously adroit. as to a bed That longing have been sick for. in order to fit the disconcerting development of the a poet's essential interests with comedy ending that couldn't have been elicited out of their inner logic. a kind of sensuality of martyrdom : The impression of keen whips under the terms of death. in Promos and Cassandra. I were [H. the outside. there is The Duke. are little more than a drawing out and resolution of : the plot/ The first force of this judgment. it is the Duke who initiates . And strip myself to death. whose essay Knights refers to. it is important no . an adroitness that expresses. But at this point I come sharply up against the casual and confident assumption that we must all agree in a judgment I find staggering *it is significant that the last two acts. in the exalted assertion of her chastity. are not. was invented by Shakespeare Shakespeare's source. He. to note.'MEASURE FOR MEASURE It is all 9 169 in keeping that she should betray. implying a high valuation along with a criticism. since the Duke has been very adequately dealt with by Wilson . and derives from. 'drawing out and ' resolution ofthe plot being mere arbitrary theatre-craft done from that the . I'd wear as ruhies. criticism.

but his exposure in circumstances that develop and unfold publicly the maximum significance. The nature of the action as above. that is. not only the exposure of Angelo. and everything else that has pained and perplexed the specialists. If he were felt as a mere character. The reliance which will on our responding appropriately is the more .170 THE COMMON PURSUIT the controlled and controls the experimental demonstration that forms the action. Subtly and flexibly as he functions. I hasten to add. by Knights though. To think I can be undiscernible. the nature of the convention is. upon the Duke. This. of Providence directing the action from been strongly established. The feeling about the ! Duke expressed later by Angelo I my dread lord should be guiltier than my guiltiness. always sufficiently plain for the purposes of the moment. rack with the lie about her brother's death I am bound to say that the right way of taking this. has a controlled experiment with the Duke in charge of the controls. and it turns out that he had deputed his authority in full knowledge of Angelo's behaviour towards Mariana. like power divine my passes. know where we have to focus our critical attention and our moral sensibility : not. to keep Isabella on the it). in consistency. experiment There are hints at the outset that he knows what the result will be . is to be We carried to the promised upshot hence shall we see. in what subtle ways we are made to take him as more than a mere character. is illuminatingly discussed in The Wheel of Fire. I can't help feeling. an actor among the others. for example. but upon the representatives of human nature that provide the subjects of the demonstration. seems to me to impose itself easily and naturally. ! O When I perceive your Hath look'd upon the sense of him as a kind grace. Just what he is. he seems to me committed to How uncondonably cruel. what our seemers be. we know. If power change purpose. there would be some point in the kind of criticism that has been brought against him (not explicitly. be. has asserted itself sufficiently.

in illustration of the economy of this masterpiece in which every touch has significance. Angelo's treatment of her takes its place of critical correspondence in relation to Claudio's offence with Juliet . to man escape . play depends upon Angelo's not being off from you and me : capable of a wickedness that marks him Go Knock there. and her treatment by Angelo. she plays an important part in the pattern of correspondences and responses by which. In these scenes. cretely defined. I that seems to is don't propose to do a detailed analysis of this winding-up me unnecessary . the pardon and marriage point a certified criminal-type. W. Chambers thinks. as R. out as inoffensively as possible that the point of the then. sets out with lucid pregnancy the full significance of the demonstration: *man. it doth know . which an offence at all. as the winding-up scenes sufficiently insist. to your bosom and ask your heart what . to one point that I don't remember to have seen noted.. appears as hardly ity. One has. by any serious moralis capital. I will only refer. merely in order to save Isabella's chastity that Shakespeare brought in Mariana . . and Claudio's offence. largely. in comparison with Angelo's piece of respectable prudence. There is (as every one knows) another invention of Shakespeare's besides the Duke Mariana. formality and masterly in stage-craft. etc. the main points are obvious. It wasn't. if you see the general nature ofwhat being done. way of illustrating how the moral aspect of the play Finally. is affected glance at by by an understanding of the form and convention. 'Ju dg e not t t Y e be not judged' gets an ironical enforcement and the relative values are conclusively established the various attitudes settle into their final placing with regard to one another and to the positives that have been con. ballet-like in its patterned kept. is stripped publicly of all protective ignorance of 'his glassy essence' the ironies of 'measure for measure' are clinched in a supreme test upon Isabella.. I must that matter of Angelo's escape from death and worse (* of Angelo not merely of justice'.'MEASURE FOR MEASURE' 171 patently justified and the less questionable (I confess. proud man'. > ^ . the moral valuations are established.) which has baffles the strong indignant claim stuck in the throats of so many critics since Coleridge. it seems to me in that we can see the promise being so irresistible) consummately The 'resolution of the plot*.

having been destroyed. if you can't accept what Shakespeare does provide. a wider application than that which is immediately intended by the speaker. . we have taken the play very imperfectly. strained and twitching from his first appearance. as had been you. mercy : The bright idea of the recent 'Marlowe' production. more and I my willingly than do entreat it. If we don't see ourselves in Angelo. but that his image of himself. But then. perhaps that may be allowed to make a difference. since his guilty self-committals. interest and modernity into the play by making him a study in neurotic abnormality. and you slipp'd like as he. to let Angelo possible. to import your interest and significance. marry a good woman and be happy.THE That's like COMMON PURSUIT : A natural guiltiness such as is his. passed through virtual death. it may be said in complete seriousness that he has. the idea ofinjecting point. . It is not for nothing that Isabella reluctantly grants : A due sincerity govern'd Till he did look on me. was forced upon him. You would have There is him . he has embraced death: If any further argument should I am And That 'Tis sorry that such sorrow so deep sticks it in I procure : my penitent heart I crave death deserving. Authority. position calculated to actualize his worst potentialities. in some way. and there are grounds He was placed in a him as the major victim of the experiment. and Shakespeare's moral certainly isn't that those potentialities are exceptional. his personality as he has lived it for himself as well as for the world. I partly think his deeds seem necessary for holding it without offending our finer susceptibilities. Let it my brother's fault if it confess not sound a thought upon your tongue Against If he my brother's life. you have. was worse than uncalled-for. in spite of his for regarding protest. It is not merely that immediate death has appeared certain. .

not informed and quickened by an idea-emotion in all its is parts. in fact. . With the criticisms I find myself pretty much essays JL me two on Cymbeline. X. Vol. So much so. Stephenson both criticizes the account of the 2 play offered by F. Tinkler in the earlier. and offers a positive account of his own. himself observes. In the later 1 Fr. nevertheless. but I also find interpretation Fr. the incongruities. i. and argues from. that the question arises: Why didn't derives both Fr. Stephenson and Tinkler (whose argument also " in the judgcharacteristics) rest from observation of these ment that the play *is not an organic whole". as by Tinkler's myself as unconvinced by the new or any other that I have read. be recognized that Cymbeline it is not an organic whole '. that it is not informed and quickened by an idea-emotion in all its parts' 2 must they set out to show that it is. to be Why ' of 'significance paradoxically explained in terms of a pressure 1 Scrutiny. in terms "of critical irony' Stephenson. C. A. in agreement. No. But while developing his argument he at the same time curious fact that seems to me to deserve attention note of another conclusion : set of characteristics. No. Vol. what he takes to be a significant recurrence of Valuation-imagery'. judging that Tinkler's attempt to explain the play and 'savage farce' doesn't cover the admitted data.THE CRITICISM OF SHAKESPEARE'S LATE PLAYS A T HAVE them before Caveat of A. the sense of different planes. and this is the makes a firm and draws an explicit the inequalities. that I think. the discontinuity. the only spasmodic and flickering life in Cymbeline. VH. 2 4. It * must. The stress laid on these characteristics of the play seems to me much more indisputably justified than that laid on the valuationimagery. JW.

by suggest inanity or nullity : themes and modes we have an effect as odd and of a strict out of the interplay of contrasting (to fall back on the usefully corrective analogy) of an organization is not a matter distinctive music. plot great work of art from a deep centre Cymbdine of the order of The Winters Tale. and if we talk of and 'incongruities' it should not be to 'inequalities' 'significance' that insisting on finding a necessarily there. in that it belongs with Cymbeline to the late of plays plays that clearly have group important affinities. I think. The play contains a great variety of life and interest. We especially and temptaof criticism of the have is left know We keep a vigilant eye open for the development of theme by imagery and symbolism. itself as the The Winters Tale presents to comparison with which the point. should countenance one another in criticism ceeding suggests some reflections on the tions late of Shakespeare plays and Bradley fairly something more than drama of the drama cannot be from consideration of the poetry. rhythm. critics. But the and delicate subservience to a commanding significance. action and plot. Tinkler's and Fr. that poetic drama in verse. is not a : ing and ordering everything character. which penetrates the whole. in order not to suggest a severity ofjudgment that is not intended. episode. or capacitate misread. and we behind. and that consideration We at the present time. are aware of separated subtle varieties of possibility under the head of convention.174 THE ? COMMON intelligent PURSUIT of a kind that cannot be bent on conclusions so this kind of prodifficulties significance. Shakespeare's methods are so subtle. home know we must By assuming that the organization bring to most I readers is that we may err we assume to be have put the portentous word in inverted commas in this last use of it. the significance. though purpose here is to insist on the differences. In academic make my . Stephenson's account will. Stephenson. symbolism. conveyed That two such different. C. is of a given kind we may inourselves for seeing what it actually is. informimagery. flexible and varied that we must be on our guard against approaching any play with inappropriate preconceptions as to what we have in front of us. according to Fr. and so miss. and for the bearing of all these on the way we are to take character. What a following-through of F.

A. Thus we have the sudden. But all this has in the concrete fulness of Shakespeare's poetry an utterly different effect from what is suggested by the enumeration. if one is to speak with any relevance to the play. the part played by the oracle. straction Properly taken. or indulgent in a fairy-tale way to human fondness. The Winter's Tale. or loose in organization. unheralded storm ofjealousy in Leontes. episode. we criticize Leontes' frenzy of jealousy as dis- of a profundity and concertingly sudden and unprepared. so inexhaustibly subtle in their inter-play. the return to life after sixteen years' latency of GalateaHermione. But if our preconceptions don't prevent our being adverted by imagery. of the function of the words spoken by the characters is so than to 'create' the speakers. finally. and the developing hints of symbolism by the subtle devices of the poetry and the very absence of 'psychology' we quickly see that what we have in front of us is nothing in the nature of a novel dramatically transcribed. in relation to from the local effects. of considering character. so large a (we may say.SHAKESPEARE'S LATE PLAYS tradition 175 . the pastoral scene (regarded as a pretty piece of poetical by-play) and. The part is is not the place for discussing . Traversi shows so well in his Approach to Shakespeare > is a supreme instance of Shakespeare's poetic complexity of the impossibility. . of spirit. among other things. If we approach expecting every Shakespearean drama to be of the same kind as Othello. as D. The relations between character. theme and development reality. of some of the less responsible promptings of imagination and fancy. speech and the main themes of the drama are not such as to invite a too generalizing psychologizing approach the treatment of life is if we hasten to add 'and intensifying') . anyone who wants hints for the . and plot in ab- a certain fairy-tale licence an indulgence. and from the larger symbolic effects to which these give fife. of the poetry. or to adplainly something other vance an action that can profitably be considered in terms of the detail of Shakespeare's processes interacting of individuals. rhythm. the play is not romantically licentious. the casting-out and preservation of the babe. The Winter's Tale is one of the romantic' plays * the adjective implying. theme. What looked like romantic fairy-tale characteristics turn out to be the conditions generality of theme. in the reconciliation-tableau. the sixteen-year gap in the action.

. on the other hand (ifI may supplement Fr. nor on the birth . Not yet on summer's winter the year growing ancient. qui suivit on oublia tous promettait tant de joie-* les malheurs du passe" en songeant a Tavenir qui Les Trappeurs de T'Arkansas. Of trembling . En mSme temps le g&ie"ral s'approcha de sa femme et dans la reunion Loyal. Dieu a pennis que je le retrouve au moment oil renonc^ a jamais au bonheur !'* j'avais La jeune fille poussa un cri de joie et abandonna sa main a Rafael. And here there is opportunity for a brief aside in illustration 1 la A cc moment parut dona Luz. The As Fr. Fair timidc.THE It is COMMON to PURSUIT in D. Stephenson points out. or total effect. death. lui-dit-il. I a complexity of larger birth ('Thou mettest with things birth. (Des qu'il Taper^ut. Autumn . tu peux aimer sans crainte Cceurprit par * il est vraiment mon fils. stepmother and son. death. qui tomba a ses pieds. but has no significance in relation to any radical theme. is made move upon . maturity. Gustave Aimard. Stephenson's observation *the "evil" characters. of the fairy-tale they don't strike us as the expression of an adult intuition of evil. le visage joyeux. do not receive full imaginaafter'. : 1 : tive realization'). Summer. Traverses book. there is no such organization in Cymbeline. of the play. . resurrections and reconciliations of the close belong to the order of imagination in which 'they all lived happily ever Cloten and the Queen are the wicked characters. The romantic theme remains merely romantic. A. with things new-born') Sir. . . le gne*ral k main.) "Ma niece. The power and subtlety of the organization and this is a striking instance of Shakespeare's ability to transmute for serious ends what might have seemed irremediably so that the pastoral scene is are equal to absorbing into the profoundly symbolic significance of the whole even the coup de theatre with which Pauline justifies her sixteen years of double-living and romantic effects funereal exhortation. something very much other than a charming superfluity. in particular. Spring. reunions. Posthumus's jealousy. analysis will find all that can be asked here to remind the reader of the way in which the enough personal drama rhythms dying. is real enough in its nastiness.

: by devilish Italian cunning lachimo is. the efficient cause that lago. has taken over a romantic convention and has done little to give it together again to enjoy a life 1 anything other than a romantic significance. Jealousy is a theme common to The Winter s Tale. S. 2 See The Old Drama and the New by William Archer. out of pure malice. it would not be misleading to describe The explosive elements have been generated between the very specifically characterized Othello and his situation. In the case of Cymbeline the assumption that a profound intended significance must be discovered in explanation of the peculiarities of the play is fostered by the presence of varied and impressive evidence of the Shakespearean genius. deceives him about Imogen. T. Othello and Cymbeline. and lago merely touches them off. that is. fairy-tale fortune brings the lovers of hapiness. he is a victim.SHAKESPEARE'S LATE PLAYS 177 of the variety of Shakespeare's dramatic modes. Othello. Posthumus suffers remorse for his murderous re- we are not to consider him degraded by his jealousy. and. but after strange vicissitudes. explain this storm ? The question is irrelevant to the mode of the play. quite simply. on the other hand. He falls in with a villain who. : elements in Leontes' make-up. is worked on and betrayed as a character-study. vulsion. or seriously blamable. Simply. Eliot comments called 'Four Elizabethan Dramatists' interestingly on the book in the essay 1 In Pericles his are (Selected Essays). in the sentimentalized misreading of Othello. Strength could be adduced in a wealth of illustration. In The Winters Tale there is no psychological interest we don't ask as we are concerning ourselves with Shakespeare) What (so long . by nature far from jealous. Shakespeare. . is seen as being. I myself have long carried mental note of a number of passages from ShakeCymbeline that seemed to me memorable instances of lie took over a romantic play. working in what way. Why then should two such intelligent critics as those in question not settle down in the obvious judgment that the play challenges ? I have already suggested that the answer should be sought in terms of a reaction against what may be called the Bradley-Archer 2 approach to Shakespeare. Posthumus's case actually answers to the conventional account of Othello's the noble hero. and the three acts that are clearly remarkable for the potency of the transmuting 'significance '.

There are some fine examples 01 is 14 to 51]. while failing to find in his material a unifying significance such as might organize it into a profound work of art. Shakespearean compression and strength in imagery : ellipsis. One is Posthumus's description Two will iii. paradoxically. Shakespeare might. became The life of the need having found the back-door open Of the unguarded hearts. death. in spite of 'the inequalities. the and contempt (towards the Lord professional soldier's dryness. 3-29] so different in tone and movement : . is and now our cowards. in imagery. perfectly got. heavens. that gives the professional habit and speech its highly specific and dramatically appropriate tone. expressive both of of controlled excitement. iv. menlines of the battle [V. in perpetuity than be cured the sure physician. the sense of different planes'. The other passage is Posthumus's prison speech in the next scene [V. surely. when prompted and genius ? incited congenially. Stephenson's aim as well as Tinkler's) in terms of a But surely there should be no difficulty in recognizing that. his characteristic realizing . the discontinuity. tion. still show from place to pkce. Most welcome. a blend of breathless excitement. The precisely right tone. It is addressed). at once contemptuous and. nor does the dialogue with the gaoler at the end of the scene. a remarkable piece of vigorous dramatic felicity. wrestling with a job undertaken in the course or his exigent profession. we have the excuse for the attempt. And here. who is the key This doesn't belong to 'romantic comedy'. bondage for thou ! art a way. in its ironical dryness. and here. I think. how they wound : ! In 'like fragments in hard voyages' and the 'back-door' we have. is Fr. to liberty : yet am I better Than one Groan so that's sick of the gout . profound significance.T 78 THE COMMON PURSUIT in particulat I speare's imagery and versification. to vindicate the play (for that. since he had rather By To unbar these locks. and in the many vigorously realized passages. the business-like and intense matter-of-factness. the incongruities. Like fragments in hard voyages.

* * Lytton Strachey in his essay on Shakespeare's Final Period (see ' Books and Characters). then. break his staff and drown his book. but they strike us. has to be understood. Actually. to discuss Shakespeare's interest in the world of new discovery and in the impact of to distract the king piece civilization on the native. of course. in relation to the Bradley-Archer assumptions of his approach. gives us an opening There can be no doubt : that the peculiar characteristics which distinguish Cymbeline and The Winter's Tale from the dramas of Shakespeare's prime are present here in still greater degree. but the daydream has never been allowed to falsify human and moral realities. power as a licence of imagination stands proclaimed in the essential symbolism of the play and not only does Prospero finally renounce magic. That Alonso should. In The Tempest. but it is a very different kind of thing (to complete briefly die hint of comparison I threw out above). The courtiers are Elizabethan quality. in their behaviour and conversation. it seems to me that The Tempest differs from The Winter's Tale in being much closer to the 'reality' we commonly expect of the reached its of penetrating and transmuting The Winter's Tale. lands the parties and directs their footsteps about the novelist. quite appropriately. instead as in island to the final convergence.SHAKESPEARE'S LATE PLAYS Cymbeline. The Tempest is by more general agreement a masterpiece than The Winter's Tale. on the other hand. Prospero manages the wreck. 'unreality' functions in Ariel and in the power (as it were a daydream actualized) that enables Prospero to stage the scene of The repentance and restitution. The 'unreality'. unreality has apotheosis/ Lytton Strachey's 'unreality'. is 179 not like The Winter's Tale a masterpiece. Even Caliban (though sired by the devil on a witch) leads the modern commentator. is in The Tempest confined to everything Prospero's imagery and its agents. But the nature of this . we note that the sinister . Prospero himself. and Gonzalo's attempt and raise the tone of the conversation with a of advanced thought from Montaigne is all in keeping. as people of the ordinary everyday world. suffer pangs of conscience is not in the least incredible . the ship's crew all these belong as much to the 'reality' of the realistic novelist as the play of Othello does. without the assistance of magic. strongly derogatory in intention. Stephano and Trinculo. the Neapolitan and Milanese nobility and gentry.

But the perfection (or something like it) of The Tempest is achieved within limits much narrower than those of The Winters Tale . They maybe fairly set over against Ferdinand and Miranda. Shakespeare's power to present acceptably and movingly the unironical vision (for us given in Miranda and Ferdinand) goes with his power to contemplate the irony at the same time. in general be as readily concurred in and it is true that The Tempest has nothing in it to trouble in the same way the reader who finds difficulty in arriving at an unqualified acceptance of the statue business as part of a total unromantic response. the time-gap of The Winter's Tale is eliminated ought not to be allowed to count improperly in the comparative valuation. falling-off creative vigour. O brave new world. I think. decay and rebirth with the vital rhythms of nature at large. the depth. remain wiiat they were. Not that while reading The Tempest we are at all inclined to judge that this inspired poetry and this consummate art reveal any in the . and in which. are missing in The Tempest. in The Winter's Tale. the effect that I have described as both generalizing and intensifying. .i8o THE COMMON PURSUIT pair. then. and the achievement by which. yet we may poet's perhaps associate the mood ex- pressed in Prosperous farewell to his art and in the 'insubstantial pageant* speech (the mood in which Shakespeare can in the symbolic working of the drama itself so consciously separate his art from the life it arranges and presents life that is "such stuff as dreams are made on*) we associate this mood with perhaps may . by the concrete presence of time in its rhythmic processes. for which The Winter's Tale is remarkable. Rightly. That has such people that is in't ! both unironical and ironical. and by the association of human growth. The range. is The Tempest accounted a masterpiece but I am not sure that it deserves the relative valuation it commonly enjoys. they are to spend their lives. With the absence of the time-gap goes also an absence of that depth and richness of significance given. The judgment that The Winter's Tale is a masterpiece would not. Sebastian and Antonio. unprotected by magic. and they represent a potent element in that world to which the lovers are returning. in The Tempest.

. No doubt it might as truly be said of Florizel and Perdita as it has been of Ferdinand and Miranda. . and the pastoral scene is an organic part of the whole play. that they are lovers seen by one who is himself beyond the age of love. but Florizel and Perdita are not merely two individual lovers they are organic elements in the poetry and symbolism of the pastoral scene.SHAKESPEARE'S LATE PLAYS an absence of that 181 effect as of the sap rising from the root which The Winter's Tale gives us.

which I almost ^added here. 'social'. or to give for discussing. to try and define on what grounds and in what : ways the 1 This is the substance of an address given to the Students' Union of London School of Economics and Politics. assume that the expectation I should have had to address myself to in those not so very remote days isn't entertained at all generally on the leave ture me present occasion. Lawrence.LITERATURE AND SOCIETY TWO or three years back. edited by C. though he was unquestionably aware of and tried to describe the outside forces that were undermining the bourgeois society into which he made his saw those forces from a bourgeois viewpoint. . H. would be otiose)* I should have been braced for such challenges as the proposition that D. However. What was wrong with his work was social class I that he 'shared the life of a which has passed its prime'. the duty of the critic to evaluate works of literature in terms of the degree in which they seemed calculated to further (or otherwise) die proper and pre-destined outcome of the class-struggle. and the duty of the literary historian to explain literary history as the reflection of changing economic and material realities (the third adjective. Consequently he misrepresented reality. . the duty of the writer to identify himself with the working-class. I what to expect. as destroyers to way 2 be combated. or at any time in the Marxizing * decade. it would suit me to do that is. possibilities " barrassing and Society certain and I major interests of my own respond to it quite comfortably had no difficulty in concluding that I should be expected to do what. having been invited to discourse on Literature and and Society'. . in accordance with those interests. in fact. 2 The Mind in Chains. But that does with a large undirected formula on hands : 'Litera' my might. Day Lewis. should have known what was expected of me I opportunities should have been expected to discuss. . seem to be daunting and emin the wealth of it covers. and I assume it gladly.

inspiration sets in. If I say that idea represents a new emphasis on the social of artistic achievement. For if the Marxist approach to literature seems to me unprofitable. Gifted individuals occur. Eliot can fail to have taken stock.LITERATURE AND SOCIETY the study 183 of literature literature as it concerns me. an essential part directed against the thinking of everyone to-day who is seriously interested in literature. creation results. No one interested in literature gifts were who began to read and think immediately after the 1914 war at a . belonging to a realm of pure literary values (whatever they might be) works regarding the production of which it is enough to say that individuals of specific creative born and created them. they an atmosphere of prevail until rejected. lays the stress on the other things (or some of them) besides individual talent and originative impulse from within that have to be taken account of when we try to ^understand any significant achievement in art. ' time. environments and the extra-literary conditions of literary production. be literary critic seen as intimately relevant to what may be presumed to be the major interest of students at the London School of Economics. of the Romantic ideas critical tradition (if it and attitudes can be called that) the set of about literary creation coming down through : the nineteenth century. I think. that is. I ought to add at once that the word nature 'social' probably doesn't occur in the classical essay. which till then had not been effectively challenged. for conscious rejection. that is not because I think of literature as a matter of isolated works of art. all of whose early prose may be said to have been How Romantic tradition. co-operating with his poetry. Of course. Mr Eliot. and the Romantic set the unformulated and vague may be said to have prevailed until Mr Eliot's criticism. That tradition laid all die stress on indo masterpieces arrive ? spiration and the individual genius. made unconsciousness impossible and rejection inevitable. co-incident with the early critical work of T. S. Something like the idea of Tradition so incisively and proin the vocatively formulated by him plays. But we are apt to be peculiarly under the influence of ideas and attitudes of which we are not fully conscious. Tradition and . who am avowedly in the first place a should. I think. it was no discovery that there are these things to be taken account of: criticism and literary history had for generations dealt in influences.

not economic and material determinants. It assumes that. or constitutes an organic order. of course. let my this 'social' 'society' implied in in the idea of Tradition point) is and (which is not the eye on. from the present point of view. an intimate study of the complexities. to belongs and not merely added externally : it. there is a certain measure of spiritual autonomy in human affairs. and a different conception of society. we may take the stress as falling a human nature. much more important . own private mind I said. by way of moving towards more discussible parti- me inevitable for thinks about literature at . so implying a different conception from the Marxist of the relation between the present of society and the past. in relation to which the individual writer has his significance and his being. It stresses. that analogy (if this is the right word) used : He must country than his a be aware that the mind of Europe mind which he learns in time to be is the mind of his own . 'Mind' is the A literature. but intellectual and spiritual. and that human intelligence. and the difference what I have my But me first remind you of die idea as Mr Eliot formulates it. Something. a mind which changes and so on. the kind of importance literature the literary critic's literature should be recognized to have for such students the study of it is. in the nature of this way of thinking seems to all.184 * THE The COMMON word PURSUIT Mr ^ the Individual Talent (the that takes Eliot's stress is impersonal'). choice and will do really and effectively operate. must be thought of more than an accumulation of separate works it has an organic form. : cularity. potentialities and essential conditions of human natureBut that by itself is too large a proposition to take us anywhere. There is a human nature that is how. The anyone who Marxist theories of culture are ways in which it is at odds with obvious. which it The individual writer is to be aware that his work is of the Literature to . Marxist concept .. make another obvious note on the difference between the . of which an understanding is of primary importance to students of society and And here is the first way that presents itself of indicating politics. " as essentially something is. or should be. enormously no one will deny it as material conditions count. Let me. is. expressing an inherent human nature. .

. acquiring some inhibiting apprehensions of the subtleties that He behind the antithesis. No general description worth offering will cover them. Shelley. It's true that this latter stresses the social aspect of creative achievement as the Romantic attitude didn't: but it allows for the individual aspect more than the Marxist does. The tator. there is will obscure for long the truth that human life lives only in individuals : I might have said. The point I wanted to make is this you can't contemplate the nature of literature without acquiring some inhibition in respect of : that antithesis. This is inevitably a crude you'll see. standards and idiom of its confident maturity offer themselves for The contemplation in The Tatler and The Specrelevant point to be made about it for the present . and the phrase might be called misleading. and losing any have enjoyed in handling it without. It is this tradition. the truth that it is only in individuals that society lives. conventions. and its early phase may be studied in the works ofJohn Dryden. since the actual poets of the Romantic period Wordsworth.LITERATURE AND SOCIETY 185 Marxist kind of attitude toward literature and that represented by the idea of Tradition I've invoked. 'the individual . Though and in belonging to the same age they have in common something "negative the absence of anything to replace the very positive tradition (literary. or of materialistic interpretation. they What they have in common is that they belong to the same age . literature creative individual is Without the individual no creation. While you are in intimate touch with literature no amount of dialectic. An illustration presents itself readily. and more than literary hence its strength) that had prevailed till towards the end of die eighteenth century. I have spoken of the Romantic' attitude. way of putting it as But to postpone that for a and forget that the talent moment you : can't be interested in indispensable. Byron. innocent freedom you and society'. that 'inevitably' is my point. Coleridge. make the It originated in the great changes in civilization that second part of the seventeenth century look so unlike the first. that I want to consider briefly : first. the Augustan. r ' as influences they merge later in a Romantic tradition. Keats differ widely among themselves. may that is. themselves do not exemplify any common Romanticism.

that would express itself to this effect if it were fully conscious. muffling. seems natural and inevitable to the age imposes a conventional experience. and not one of his own invention . reversed for himself the shift of stress that He occurred at the Restoration. nevertheless. An age in which such a tradition gets itself established is clearly an age in which the writer feels hinself very much at one with society. convey a suggestion of social deportment and company manners. Its insistence that a social being was such as to mean in effect that all his activities. the new use of words. Full consciousness is genius. inner as well as outer. and in said to I see its only what My experi- may be have specific quality lies its significance'. Where. There will be a malaise. obtruding. expect poetry. and that this. which was a complex affair We : aspect that is relevant to tradition like that I have my present purpose. and manifests itself in technical achievement. is at odds with their own. Blake in ence is his successful work says implicitly and feel : "It is I I feel. But to such. I see only what mine.T86 THE is COMMON PURSUIT is that it laid a heavy stress on the social. The characteristic movements and dictions of the eighteenth century. was a period very confident of its flourishing cultural health. Blake uses the English language. and misrepresenting. the creative springs in the individually should experiencing mind. Even the finest expressions of the spirit were to be in resonance with a code of Good Form for with such a code the essential modes and idioms of Augustan culture were intimately associated. They will feel that conventional expression suppressing. to find evidence of this in the field of and we find it. a sense of blunted vitality. purpose man were to belong to an overtly social context. that literature took cognizance of.a reversal there is clearly a limit. and to say that he uses it is not to say that it is for him . the Queen Anne period. This is no place to pretend to give a fair account of the Augustan I'm merely stressing an decline. in verse as well as prose. there is bound before long to be a movement of protest in minds of the . a adumbrated prevails. then. But we should expect such an insistence on the social to have in time a discouraging effect on the deeper sources of originality. In the seventeen-eighties it is that which. And the Augustan heyday. who see and fed. William Blake.kind that ought to be creative.

where it belongs. One obvious consequence. What he did know and know deep down in himself was that he had no public he very early gave up publishing in any serious sense. But I believe that the familiar truths that we contemplate when we contemplate the nature oflanguage in the way. how do ye do ? spite that is clearly a private blow-off. in which we have to when we take a critical interest in literature have the familiarity of the familiar things that we tend to lose sight of when we begin to think. This is apparent in a peculiar kind of difficulty that his work offers to the critic. I am thinking of the difficulty one so often has in deciding what kind of thing it is one has before one. as well as of handling mind and sensibility that he has I may seem here to be handling a truism of the kind that there's no point in recalling. Blake had ceased to be capable of taking enough trouble. that is. with the ways of experiencing. The measure of social collaboration and support represented by the English language didn't make Blake prosperously self-sufficient he needed something more something that he didn't get. of this knowledge is again one comes : the carelessness that is so apparent in the later prophetic books. And what I have on is perhaps die most radical of the ways in just been touching which the literary critic's interest in literature leads to a new recognition of the essentially social nature of the individual and * add) of the reality' he takes for granted. The to is a more radical and significant uncertainty I have just referred 1 The second interrogative sentence of the stanza Blake made a number of he threw up the problem. 187 a mere instrument. that it involves. or aspect. The Tygeris clearly a poem (in 1 of the bluffed-out defeat in the third stanza). The to express are of the language. attempts at completing before . : A petty sneaking knave I knew ! O Mr Cromek. But again and on the thing that seems to be neither wholly a poem. In any case.LITERATURE AND SOCIETY experience. It seems not to know what it is or private nor wholly and one suspects that Blake didn't know. His individuality has developed in terms of the language. I want to pass at once to an order of consideration that will probably seem to have more discussible bearings on the (I may normal pre-occupations of the student of society.

it involved a separation. and in a rather than have him with the best conceivable society that should have provided conceivable public ? And so one is led public 2 But what is the best into the nature and conditions of cultural health and on to inquire prosperity. Bunyan. What with a line of reflection that has occupied me a good deal. of a responsive community of minds was the minimum he needed) his powers of attaining in achieved creation to that peculiar of art belongs and in which impersonal realm to which the work can meet it is as little a world of purely private experience minds failed to develop as. of adequate social collaboration (the sense. Tho* thou art worship'd by the names divine OfJesus and Jehovah. Harking back from Blake one notes that the establishment of the Augustan tradition was associated with indeed. or confident prospect. a real culture of the people. new and abrupt.188 THE COMMON PURSUIT form of the same kind of disability. thou art but a dunce. 1 The inevitable way in which is towards the sociological suggested better conditions. as it is the public world of the laboratory native endowment being what it was. Every harlot was a virgin once. seems to me a representatively suggestive document of the case I have been trying to describe : Truly. that is in spite of the bigoted The following. Anticipating the problem of bringing home as convincingly and vividly as possible to (say) students of modern social and political questions what is meant by saying that there was. If The Pilgrims Progress 1 is a humane masterpiece. one thinks first of Dryden's contemporary. And dost not know the garment from the man . they ought to have his done. in the seventeenth century. my Satan. one asks. thou art still The Son of Morn in weary night's decline. I will illustrate serious literary interest develops well enough here. In the absence. we may put it. between sophisticated culture and popular. . can one imagine for a Blake ? Can one have nurtured his genius imagine him in a tradition that should been something it had to escape from. The lost traveller's dream under the hill. Nor canst thou ever change Kate into Nan. both in its curiously striking qualities it clearly comes from a remarkable poet and in what I take to be its lack of self-sufficiency as a poem.

Christian: Did you hear no Christian. Christian: Had you no talk with him before you came out? in the streets. he is a turncoat! he was not true to his profession. not one of the most striking illustrations of Bunyan's art. but now I fear he will perish in the over-throw of the city. Christian: But why should they be so set against him. what closely akin to these. 204). . since they also despise the way that he forsook ? Faithful: Oh. on the reader approaching as a literary critic that this truth 1 compels itself (others seem to miss it). e.g. the other side. for a small-town 'mechanick'. the kind two books of Myths. Christian: Well. as one ashamed of so I spoke not to him. they say. a humane masterpiece resulted because he belonged to the civilization of his time. we have the idiomatic that runs to of the By-Ends saw and proverb. and the sow that was washed. the Slough of Despond. he fell in. He is now seven times worse than if he had never gone out of the city. participating in a rich traditional culture. and runs also to Sec. hang him.. See page 207 below. by Jack discussed below (see p. Consider. because he hath forsaken the way. and make him a proverb. some do mock and despise him. I Christian: Faithful: And what said the neighbours to him? He hath. in detail as in sum. but he leered away on Faithful: I met him once what he had done I . and scarce will any set him on work. but I am sure he was soundly bedabbled with that kind of dirt. and that among all sorts of people. been had greatly in derision. by William York 2 Tindall. for it is happened to him according to the true proverb. where. The dog is turned to his own vomit again. 2 but a passage representative in a routine kind of way: It is talk of neighbour Pliable? heard that he followed you till he came at Faithful: Yes. to her wallowing in the mire. but he would not be known to have so done. 1 think God has stirred up even his enemies to hiss at him. John Bunyan: Maker Lindsay. had hopes of that man. as some said. and that meant. since his going back. and/o/w Bunyan: Mechanick Preacher. at my first setting out. such as the apologia and sel&characterization of By-Ends. directs itself to enforcing. The passage 1 relation of this to the is consummate life is art plain. In spite of his aim.LITERATURE AND SOCIETY sectarian creed that 189 Bunyan's allegory.

by way of bringing home to them in how full a sense there is. a civilization or cratic parlance) that this 'way of life' (in our demowas truly an art of social living. Hearing that the English of those mountains persisted in the remoter valleys folk-song the war of 1914. in whom the social instinct is oped . he discovered that the tradition of song and dance (and a reminder is in place at this point of the singing and dancing with which the pilgrims punctuate their progress in the second part of Bunyan's Calvinistic so vigorously because the whole context allegory) had persisted to which folk-song and folk-dance belong was there too : he discovered. and Sharp.. behind the literature. with its habits and standards of serious moral valuation. . few of those we met were able to read and write. They are a leisurely. with a capital letter. More than that. very highly devel- creed. do not seem properly impressed by such evidence. They are however good talkers. The vitality here is not merely one of raciness. but the majority were illiterate. They have an easy unaffected bearing and the unselfconscious manners of the well-bred . during brought back a fabulous haul. They know their Bible intimately and subscribe to an austere . cheery people . inhabitants have for a in their quiet way. . a social culture and an art of Cecil Sharp's introduction to English living. Their speech is English. went over to investigate.ipo THE COMMON PURSUIT of pungently characterizing epitome represented by 'turncoat' have appeared in By-Ends' (which. . The region from . it is clear that they are talking the language of a past day. in fact. charged with Calvinism and the unrelenting doctrines of determinism or fatalism . . This then is what the literary critic has to deduce from his in social reading. and the old-fashioned way in which they pronounce many of their words. not American. and. If he finds that others. . call attention to Folk-Songsfrom still the Southern Appalachians. from the number of expressions they use that have long been obsolete elsewhere. he can.. might list of his kindred). The mountaineers were descended from settlers who had left country in the eighteenth century* is its the inaccessibility a very secluded one hundred years or more been completely isolated and shut off from all traffic with the rest of the world. interested primarily reform and social history. using an abundant vocabulary racily and A picturesquely. an art of civilized living is implicit.

it received . a master of the spoken tone and movement in short he is unmistakably of the Restoration but his raciness and him. : We pre-eminently refined. have acquired so many of the essentials of culture. as . In prose. his polite idiomatic wholly of the coffee-house. but chiefly to the fact that they have one and all entered at birth into the full enjoyment Their language. he tends towards the Cockney. Of the supreme value of an inherited tradition. the 'intellectual'. that new organ of metropolitan of which seems essentially to exclude any intimate relations with Bunyan's world. The reason. manners and the of life that are theirs. as in the Preface to All for Love. I take it. no cultural development is possible. . efficacy whose greatness manifests itself in his power of transcending the ease is culture the vibration . At least. sulating.LITERATURE AND SOCIETY That the illiterate 191 may nevertheless reach a high level of culture will surprise only those who imagine that education and cultivation are convertible terms. even when un- enforced by any formal school education. with L'Estrange. are merely racial attributes which many graces have been gradually acquired and accumulated in past centuries and handed down generation by generation. . even in Pope. albeit unlettered. he assimilates. community in sufficiently Correlation of Cecil Sharp's introduction with Bunyan should confirm and enforce the significance attributed to Bunyan above. wisdom. . need not be stated they are apparent in English literature from ShakeseeMarvell it is. or inof the politeness of Augustan verse. in fact. our mountain the Southern Highlands is an outstanding example. Halifax (the Trimmer) is 'easy*. The exclusive. . European in sophistication. of course. . The converse. of course. compare Halifax with Dryden. idiomatic I life relate him as unmistakably to Bunyan. name * . for this reason I speare to Marvell. each generation adding its racial inheritance. And Bunyan himself shows how the popular which he bears witness could merge with literary culture at the level of great literature. without which. is partly to be attributed to the large amount of leisure they enjoy. why these mountain people. I don't think am being fanciful when I say that when Dryden gets lively. natural' and urbane. and intimately related to a tradition of courtly urbanity but his refinement involves no insulation from the popular the force of which judgment is brought out by contrast with Pope. of their quota to what . regarding the culture to advantages enjoyed by the literary writer.

characteristically. and the traditional culture of the people was no longer there. unique in this. is at any rate obvious and Pope's politeness belongs to world as the politeness of Addison's prose. And it needs stressing that where there in the literary sense. the history I have so inadequately sketched would have been lost. evoked its touching simplicities the naive. seriously interested in modern literature can feel that it represents a satisfactory cultural order. and. prevail. the literary memory) is not folly alive. would significant would have have been very isn't. of low life in modes that. political andeconomicproblems. Augustan tone and movement being evoked at the same time the elegant and polite. but for the persisting literary tradition. different. the Industrial Revolution general life. : No one. in verse that has nothing Augustan about London in his time was clearly still it. Where. But if any one should conclude that it ought therefore the literature that the literary critic finds significant to be contemned. sophisticated Augustan. Augustan convention and idiom. one of the manifestations had a habit of attempting eighteenth century. literature and that a really the Marxking or contemporary relation to social. of the people (popular a 'folk'). in the same with their social suggesshort. a significant contemporary tradition the 'mind' (and mind includes literature. To have a vital literary culture we critic's must have a literature that is a going concern . except vestigially. and very remote from it the reaction that Wordsworth represents against the Augustan century doesn't mean any movement towards re-establishing the old organic relations between literary culture and the sources of vitality in the Wordsworth's death. inescapable. By had done its work. significantly. tional culture of the people. and that will be . Wellsiankind of he may be reminded that. It is The can the evidence is of Blake's genius that he. It is essentially (1783) nominal an interest in something felt as external to the world to which he himself belongs. in Poetical Sketches apparent here and there be genuinely. then. and our notions of what a popular culture might be. and what relations might exist between it and a 'highbrow* culture. culture cuts itself off from the tradition. The mention of this aspect of Blake serves something of to bring out by contrast the significance of Wordsworth's kind of in so far as it is more than interest in rustic life.i92 THE COMMON PURSUIT .

not of the actual business of explicit valuation. what it has to give only if it is approached as literature. Where it is can be determined only by the literary it 193 has to be. and illustration. H. The 'literature' in question is something in the definition of which terms of value-judgment figure essentially. Nor. that I have made my illustrative references. And I am not thinking merely of poetry. or anyone else. I am thinking. and collecting of examples. For instance. in whatever happens to have been printed and preserved. and something accessible only to die reader capable of intelligent and sensitive criticism. would seem most to illustration the kinds to illustrate that view. what I . but of the ability to respond appropriately and appreciatively to the subtleties of the artist's use of language and to the complexities of his organizations. there are. seems to be a general view that anyone can read a novel and the uses commonly made of novels as evidence. would figure very largely. but if one were enumerating the more obvious kinds of interest that literature has to offer the socioloit is plain. prose fiction. adverted and sensitized by experience and die habit of critical analysis. has to suggest in general by way of urging on of politics and society the claims ofliterary studies (I don't mean the ordinary academic kind) to be regarded as relevant and important is that thinking about political and social matters ought to be done by minds of some real literary education. It is to poetry. sociological or other.LITERATURE AND SOCIETY what. the training that few readers submit themselves can't learn what D. These all involve students What one the principle that literature will yield to the sociologist. More of course. and done in an intellectual climate informed by a vital literary culture. without being an original critic. For have in mind is no mere industrious searching for 'evidence'. critic's kind of judgment. under present conditions of civilization. mainly. can the the problems of . in this insistence. There gist. Actually. Lawrence has to teach about sociologist intelligent critic modern civilized man without being a more than any professional literary guide he is likely to find. the product of a kind of to. to use as evidence or of novel that are most significant and have offer requires an uncommon skill. the hints for the social historian and the sociologist I have thrown out in the course of my argument. capable of endless development particularly.

chapter viii. (and if not. She. why not?) an optimistic suggestion about broadcasting. but where. I will Instead of offering any end by making a sensitizing in general contention other terms. the thinking that attends social and studies will not have the edge and force it should. Observing was democratic ('it : had to interest all classes. the critic's experience and understanding have their essential role. of interests and a obviously brought about general levelling-up is culture. . . Printing . and it it was democratic in the sense was mainly the creation that it appealed to the of the [it] intellectual classes. choose them for their suggestive further. and the insight into generalizing thought the relations between abstract or concrete of human literature alone political and the of experience. towards the end of throws out some peculiarly good incitements to that the Saga literature inquiry. makes knowledge very easy to avoid. social nature of the individual's Then there are kinds of inquiry where trol the literary-critical con- cannot be so delicate and full. because all classes listened to it') she says But though whole people. .194 social THE psychologist COMMON learn PURSUIT has to teach about the what Conrad 'reality'. at the same time. it And she makesis acceptable. Hints are to be found in Gilbert Murray's Rise of fa Greek Epic a book that has a still greater value when pondered along with Dame Bertha Phillpotts' WA and Saga. This an effect of oral literature which it is easy to overlook. Without the with the familiarity subtleties of language. that the trained frequentation can bring. I These instances must suffice diversity.

And I cannot. and that are sociological lines of inquiry capable of there yielding profitin these suggestions one readily concurs they are not new. and it may be that these descriptions were written for recital to an audience of burghers. his wonderful sense of the Thing as It Is. Such examples might be . Chaucer had his Visconti the unscrupulous John of Gaunt. was first published in German. ate the theories bread of a court at which French taste and the rather stale of love of past centuries were still accepted and a good part of on these lines. There is . but not for the real element in his popularity. and were not when Dr Schiicking's essay. his taste and wit and irony. which made him at the end of his life the most vivid portrayer of the Middle Ages. But then. But by then his relations with the court had probably grown far less intimate. That anyone could write the most casual note relevant to Dr 'spirit : 5 Schucking's tide without proposing any more definite inquiry than he does. the conditions were worse.SOCIOLOGY AND LITERATURE of the age doesn't amount to much of an explanJL ation where changes of literary taste are concerned. way 10) : still Elsewhere. The Sociology of Literary Taste. is not a use of evidence at all. of course. He multiplied. with the general understanding less. and no amount of it can forward our knowledge or understanding of the anything. If you are to conduct a profitable argument about * a more inward sociological medium of literature' you must have acquaintance with the works of literature from which you argue than can be got from a literary history or a text-book. after several re-readings. or making any more of an attempt to distinguish between possible inquiries. the apparent casualness of his whole procedure is very remarkable. is remarkable. in 1931. They still left room for the play of his literary activity ran his sense of grace and elegance. He throws out the most vague of general suggestions and proceeds to * demonstrate them with a random assortment of evidence* in this (p. find substantially more to bring away from it. This kind of thing.

no doubt. Then arose the morning star Chaucer ordinary text-books ! adopted the despised English tongue and set himself to modify it. Some. in spite of the reference to 'the philologists'. Take do not wish to cite individual what can be gathered from the what are the current ideas ? Is not this a fair statement of them? 'English was a despised language used by the upper classes. Chaucer has expressed his views on the model literary style so clearly . Here at It is impossible to overpraise Chaucer's mastery the beginning. giving no promise of the new dawn. His English is plain. He imported words from the French he purified the English of Ms time from its . to polish it. dross . are to be found in the halfcentury before Chaucer. But where did he get his style We from which it may be said that English literature has been (in some respects) a long falling away ? What scholars. is and there the ordinary account ? I is no need. of the events of his life. . A certain number of dreary works written chiefly for homileric purposes or in order to appeal to the humble people. But least of all great English poets did Chaucer mould and modify the speech he found. The poets who take liberties with speech are either prophets or eccentrics. like Spenser or Keats in verse. terse.ip6 THE COMMON PURSUIT indeed a most interesting and significant inquiry to be made into the sociological background of Chaucer. They are poor and flat and feeble. He expresses his ideal again and again . It is what. and them where it will best repay them to ply their pickaxes and spades. He held fast by communal and social standards for literary speech. But even a literary critic can say something certain on the it into a fit Now point tell perhaps can even give aid by divination to the philologists. he shaped instrument for his use/ I have no doubt that a competent philologist examining the facts could easily show that this account must be nonsense. to shape it. is a treasury of perfect speech. . No poet makes his own language. of Modern English litcan trace his themes. From either of these characters Chaucer was far removed. from beginning to end. Carlyle or Sir Thomas Browne in prose. Raleigh suggests here (in one of the extracts from his lecture-notes published posthumously as On hardly Writing and Writers) : something of language. as it is commonly reckoned. and tell erature. to render it fit for his purpose. but it is of a kind that can fall within Dr Schiicking's ken. coin words and revive them. colloquial English. taken alive out of daily speech. No poet introduces serious or numerous modification into the language that he uses. homely. He desired to be understood of the people.

intente'. In Germany naturalism (or realism) came remarkably late. The aesthetic movement in Germany was of no great importance. He certainly betrays no sense of not being qualified to deal with English. Now a style like this. even when they are born to the language. and his confident reference to Thackeray as that has to be 'the greatest English novelist of the nineteenth century' (p. three centuries before the French Academy. we spoke could deny it on the evidence of Chaucer alone. the back of If Edward III witty talk in the English tongue. A point made is that Dr Schiicking's dealings with German literature seem to be no more inward than his dealings with English. this is perhaps the one : The deepening of the cleavage between public and art through Naturalism. 'commune . implies a society at it. But if the critical quality of his approach to liter- ature can be brought home in a quotation. he sought admittance to the Academy in 1888. And his poems made it certain that from his youth up he had heard much admirable. No English style draws so much as Chaucer's from the communal and colloquial elements of the language. 7) is representative. and addresses himself to the . as the English spoken by cultivated women in society.SOCIOLOGY AND LITERATURE and so often. had written his most famous novels in die 'seventies . Emile Zola. all subtleties of rhetoric. His language was shaped by rustics. His and has illustrated is mistake possible. About the same time (1886) Tennyson indignantly hurled his lame imprecations (now of great historic interest) in Locksley Hall sixty years had in the 'seventies the new movement. it has all the qualities of ease. which had after against already a typical representative in Henry James. is 197 them so well in his practice. It is bad enough to bracket the Tolstoy of Anna Karenina with . . His style 'facound'. likely to be conceived only by a more sensitively critical reader of English poetry than most scholars show themselves to be. like Virginia's. of the best colloquial English. Investigations of the kind suggested could be prosecuted they are. simplicity. He avoids all 'counterfeited terms'. 'is ful womanly and pleyn'. directness. we are told that educated people at the Court of French and that English was a despised tongue. which Chaucer recognized. that no the perfect courtly style . in short. Ibsen's League of Youth dates from 1869. Of more note was the German movement of Naturalism. and in this perfection. indeed. Tolstoy s Anna Karenina was begun in 1874 . In France its most eminent representative.

Leslie Stephen's classic is brief and modest. indeed. (translated 8 Men of Letters and the English Public in the Courthope's History of English Poetry or Leslie Stephen's English Literature and Society in the XVIIIth Century. S.198 THE COMMON PURSUIT of anything Zola. both of which are half a century old. in and controlled sociological will yield much profit unless informed a real and intelligent interest a first-hand critical interest in by literature. and drawn on. many different kinds of possible sociological to literature and of literary approach to sociology. you are committed to being essentially and the work of A. the economic history of literature. no use of literature is real use . something as relevant to Dr . attention as the Sociology of Literature forges ahead: no 'sociology of literature* and no attempt to relate literary studies with with which. very deeply engaged there is. by Alexandre Bcljamc XVIIIth Century). it is associated. literature isn't so much material lying of any use unless it is a there to be turned over from the outside. for reference and exemplification. for instance. critically. It is an but one that seems unlikely to get too much elementary point. but approach to all of them the axiom just enunciated applies. Collins. (Dr Schiicking. But to be capable of referring to Henry James as a 'typical representative' of Naturalism. in Fiction and 'sociological' handling the Reading Public. as.) 1 Le public as et les homines de lettres au XVIII siecle. or a typical representative clusions are compatible what considerable con? with such an approach There can be no pleasure in elaborating this kind of commentary. ing's offer it taste the centre most patently applies. 1 nor does he 2 But as soon as you start using it in a of literature. doesn't mention Beljame's admirable book. a great deal of perception. by the way. collect some kinds of relevant : material without being. as an essential part of your work. That is. of course. for instance. by the critically inert. but in the ready fulness of ordered knowledge and with the ease of a trained Nor does he appear to know and vigorous mind he really does something . Enough has been said as a preliminary to making the point Dr Schiicking's the book provides an opportunity for making more suitable an opportunity because of the drive in sociology its English publication. trained and active critic. To Dr SchiickThere are. discrimination and analysis such as demand a sensitive. You can. as this passage seems to do. You cannot make changes in of your inquiry without implicitly undertaking.

That a German scholar should miss it where Chaucer is concerned is not surprising. justify a 'sociology of literature* . Literature particular aristocratic patron* was written no longer with an eye to the approval of a who might easily demand. first. of the This of the even if your concern is primarily with the condition so long. quence of his conservative outlook. or to correct for publication) than by Dr Schucking's inconsequent assortment of loosely thrown out and thought adumbrations. I shall have. in conse. and secondly. properly undertaken. than perhaps suggested above into the art and language of Chaucer.SOCIOLOGY AND LITERATURE literature 199 constantly a critic if your use of the information and is to amount to anything. The Schucking's confused and ambitious gesturings as this suggests : Briefly. The possibilities of a sociology of literary taste are incomparably better presented by Leslie Stephen's book (written late in life as lectures. in talking of literary changes. though Dr Schiicking makes a great deal (relatively) of the Elizabethan theatre as a sociological theme. of these on literature. to take note of the main intellectual characteristics of the period . that traditions should be respected and the work of the artist was no longer directed by a small and exclusive social group. Everyone interested in literature must have noted a number of inquiries of that order asking to be undertaken. It is an order of inquiry that. and how the extension of the reading class affected the development of the litergradual * ' ature addressed to them *. itself except to a mind taking the but it could hardly propose most inward kind of critical interest in the relevant literature. That Shakespeare. whose atmosphere was the breath of his life. And any serious inquiry into of 'taste* (a more complex and less delimitable field of changes the effect interest Dr Schiicking realizes) tends inevitably to into a consideration of the most radical ways in which the develop use of individual talent is conditioned into the kind of inquiry. which he was too ill to deliver. would pre-eminently for instance. An infinitely wider sphere of activity showed itself. 12) : the significance he sees New fields lay open. what changes took place in the audience to ' which men of letters addressed themselves. as your concern is with literary market is so. loosely . shouldn't propose to him brings home more strikingly the disability of an external all it approach. that is. This suggests fairly enough (p.

Thus the talents shackles of tradition could here be struck off and a wealth of varied could find scope. Knights in his paper on 'The Social Background of Metaphysical Poetry' (see Scrutiny. interest in literature develops. and its boundaries cannot be drawn the : society and is . Vol. and that. There are other fields less obviously inviting attention and offering less obvious rewards. a living critical inwardness with literature. Its significance for an understanding of the nature of a national culture and of the conditions of vitality in art will not be quickly exhausted. For to insist that literary criticism is. discussing the quality of English civilization in the seventeenth century) : Since thought among common people had now reached a . and a mind trained in dealing analytically with it. XHI. their effects of imagery. * interest presented by Shake- spearean drama and the Elizabethan theatre has been missed here this is had much attention in recent years. But in the theatre the works that won applause were precisely those which through their closeness to life and their realistic psychology were bound to be foreign to the taste of the aristocratic world. 207) one to which it is very much to be hoped that he will devote a book. or critical. and so on a real literary interest is an interest in man. On the other hand. and directly on the theatre managers who ordered plays from him. There is that marked out by L. a specific discipline of intelligence is not to suggest that a serious interest in literature can confine itself to the kind of intensive local analysis associated with 'practical criticism* to the scrutiny of the 'words on the page' in their minute relations. What wealth of sociological' . or should be. C. civilization. if they are thought of as relevant at all.200 artist THE COMMON PURSUIT depended instead indirectly on the box-office receipts. Acre is no need to insist a field that has the sociologist here will be a literary critic or nothing. adjective not a circumscribing one. correlatively. moreover. would have improved much work undertaken in fields for which these qualifications are not commonly thought of as among the essential ones. Here is a passage from a distinguished historian one distinguished among historians for the humane cultivation he brings to his work (he is. If it is asked of such an inquiry whether it is primarily sociological or literary it will be enough to answer that it represents the kind of sociological interest into which a real literary.

of course. the are sufficiently striking : the appreciation of seventeenthpassages century civilization that goes with them is clearly a seriously limited one. and instinct with a poetical feeling about life that was native to the whole generation of those who used it. and could supplement. more profound and more essential use of literature than English Social History exemplifies. that renders it unfit for psychology or for close analysis of things either material or spiritual. it was always the same lan- guage. On the same author's recent English Social History I have heard comment that it is disappointing in that it does little more than add to some economic history that almost every educated person knows some information about English life that any educated person has gathered. in respect of the particular point. ignorant of scientific terms. Whether this is a fair comment or not (and the book was clearly designed for a given kind of public it belongs with that higher advertising of England which has employed so many distinguished pens of late). the broad-sheet or report of the commonest dialogue of daily life. A footnote to this paragraph runs If Mill or their ideas in the English : Darwin. M.SOCIOLOGY AND LITERATURE momentary literature. The extreme simplicity of Hamlet's thought is only concealed by the obscurity of his motives and the richness of his poetical diction. Its fault. Nevertheless. and literary fashions since then have changed in ways calculated to help. Browning or Mr Meredith had tried to express of the seventeenth century they would have failed. a similarly cultivated writer a similar undertaking. G. And one would be agreeably surprised to find a historian who should embark on who was essentially any better provided with the kind of qualifi- cation under discussion. Trevelyan's England Under the Stuarts (which I re-read with gratitude at fairly frequent intervals the quotation conies from page 54) was written. a use that would help him to direct his inquiries by some sharper definition of aims and interests than is . a good many years ago. the play-book. is want of exactness and of complexity in ideas. from his the acquaintance with English literature. the English 201 perfection for the purposes of religious and imaginative language was for those purposes perfect. corresponding to the state of thought in that age. the street ballad. it is certain that a social historian might make a much greater. Whether in the Bible.

as the history of a people with the politics Positively. Its scope may be defined as the daily life of the inhabitants of the land in past ages this includes the human as well as die economic relation of different classes to one another. visage But social history will have shape and significance will have significant lines and contours only so far as informed by the life and pressure of such questions and as intent preoccupations it is towards comparative valuation that they press. in defining and developing his interests. we have : But social history does not merely provide the required link between economic and political history. To say this is not to enwith complaisance a habit of naive comparative valuation. : A social historian who of the English language and of English teenth century appreciated the nature of the vitality literature in the seven- and such appreciation itself leads to sociological would. ? thrown on human possibilities on the potentialities and light desirabilities of civilized life 2 In what respects might it have been is better to live then than ideal civilization are now What tentative conception of an we prompted towards by the hints we ? gather from history ? It is with such questions in mind which is not to say that he will come out with answers to them that a . What. the character of family and household life. literature and music. the relations between the sophisticated and the popular. did England offer at such and such a time As we pass from now to then. learning and thought. form and significance to English Social any History questions as to the conditions of a vigorous and spiritually vital culture. the culture of each age as it arose out of these general conditions of life. and the criteria by which one might attempt to judge the different phases of a national civilization. It has also its own positive value and peculiar concern. the conditions of labour and of leisure. architecture.202 represented Introduction : THE by COMMON PURSUIT Mr Trevelyan's account of 'social history* in his Social history might be defined negatively left out. be inquiries sensitized by more positively and potently realized questions than that have given life. and took ever-changing forms in religion. as civilization to live in and be of. definitive and comprehensive. what : . even if they actually issue in none that is explicit. the attitude of man to nature.

But only if we are capable of appreciating shade. The possible uses of literature to the historian and the sociologist are many in kind. throws a truly revealing light on their work and on the evolution of American literature.SOCIOLOGY AND LITERATURE social historian. by relating the key American authors appear. Mr Trevelyan. the understanding of literature stands to On much from sociological interests and a knowledge of social for illustration. for instance.g. history. (it accredited authorities seems to be. if we want some notion of the difference involved in day-to-day living in. and all the . as I have said. to read. But they hadn't questions a sufficient concrete charge they were not sufficiently informed with that kind of appreciation of the higher possibilities of a civilization which. or to suggest that one has disposed of the language of Shakespeare in saying that 'the extreme simplicity of Hamlet's thought is only concealed by the obscurity of his motives and the richness of his poetical diction'. But his use of literature is nowhere more than external (see. we may profitably start trying to form from the novels ofJane Austen. demand If. in so far as his history 203 is anything more than an of mechanically arranged external information. in the earlier book. or fashionably. Some such were no doubt in Mr Trevelyan's mind. his use of Chaucer in England in the Age of Wycliffe) he knows that literature exists it nowhere amounts to evidence of much more than that. with the New England background and the heritage of Puritanism. a book that deserves to be discriticism tinguished. is distinguished among historians by his general culture. the other hand. Mr Yvor Winters' . must assemblage define the changes and developments that he discerns. And this is an opportunity to mention. tone. in the fullest we want to go further than the mere much more its constatation that a century and a half ago the family counted for than it does now. the sense of life and dimensions and in its emotional and moral accenting for the it ordinary cultivated person. that the user shall be able. gain Maules Curse.. implication and essential structure as is necessary to add) none of die academically. e. would have made it imto pronounce that the English of the seventeenth possible for him was inadequate to the complexities and subtleties of century Browning and Meredith. seeing how few good books of literary In it Mr Winters. : important ones sense.

The arrival of book 1 reminded me of one on Bunyan that came out some years ago. their seventeenth-century predecessors looked to Jesus and the Bible. The religious man may remain only half-aware. true he speaks of Bunyan's 'genius'. comprehending reaction to the large. cobblers and he thought what they thought. quite unaware of the social or economic motives which For the determine his sectarian allegiance. then. and wrote according to their conventions he was one of hundreds of literary mechanicks. felt what they felt. Mr Lindsay and Mr Tindall. the intention as well as the effect of Mr TindalTs is the reverse. ludicrous fanatics : Mr Tindall is mainly a concerned to show that Bunyan was merely one of a mob and Hudibrastic mob of preaching and scribbling tailors great number of eloquent tinkers. 'his raciness. our day as the sole conspicuous representative of a (viii. Marx and The Communist Manifesto. earthiness. As for the superiority in 'expression' 'The qualities of style for which Bunyan is esteemed It is : Mr to-day'. John Bunyan: Mechanick Preacher. But whereas Mr Lindsay is class-war. and he can be considered unique only by his survival to Bunyan was one of a . . While Lindsay's merely' has the intention of exalting.) * class of men from whom he differed less in kind than in degree. he says. but what this consists in he gives no sign that he knows or cares. 94) : saints too the class struggle needed the dignity of divine and as the miserable of to-day look for their sanction to Karl auspices. and in this earlier book2 now open before me it is by William York Tindall I read (p. . in their modes of approach have mainly concerned to show that Bunyan's religion was merely a self-un- something in common. and familiarity common to his kind. and are not easily to be distinguished l 2 were from john Bunyan: Maker of Myths.BUNYAN THROUGH MODERN EYES MR LINDSAY his is Marxist and psycho-analytic. or by virtue of a rationalization.

and of oral sermons.BUNYAN THROUGH MODERN EYES those 205 of other mechanicks*. (p. spake to me and with me . and how much he belonged to his enBunyan vironment. which are now as remote as they were once familiar. And any other superiority there may be doesn't impress Mr Tindall. for instance. moreover. The book has. nevertheless. illuminate And at the same time he tells us displayed for us in his account of the sectarian is : England of Bunyan's time. . have seen the Lord. groaned & with a loud voice out-sounded OtheBlu! OtheBlu! O the Blu! the die Spirit within (with exceeding joy) exceedingly And worm. In demonstrating so thoroughly that was one of a host. to spend seventeen and six on such a book. 196. a use. Apparently at the impulse of the Spirit. It is a richly fantastic background of fanaticism. Mr I still he has the advantage over Mr Lindsay is a represents a disciplined and laborious research. . Whereupon . in spite of the obtuseness and die offensive Tindall scholar and in this . .) bear something of a grudge against The New Republic for having persuaded me. with complacent insistence. .. (Innocents Day) the 28 of the last moneth. sit up in my bed me (in my^shirt) smoaking like a it is L Blu I. what Blu . raised to . The King . His set attitude expresses itself in the heavy Gibbonian affectation that (inspired. Mr Bunyan's something about the genius of the English people in that age. Here. if not for himself. and no man said. Bunyan con- Mr descended to employ and to imitate for his imperishable works the materials of pamphlets. recorded only in heaven. bigotry and ignorance that is distinctive genius.. perhaps. his book * tone. by a eulogistic review. by Lytton Strachey) he practises. and makes a genuine contribution to knowledge' one in which. Tindall does. as his own style : Gerald Owst have been valuable The ingenious speculations of in suggesting the sermons of Bunyan's time as the principal sources of his similitudes . we may see some value. quotes from a broadside called Divine Fire-Works I a passage he Who appeared unto me On He Then was furnace Fear not I . no doubt. which are now. . .

reminded of the uglier and pettier aspects of the intolerant creed. what sectarian enthusiasm tended towards. did The Pilgrim's Progress get its classical quality from? Mr Tindall talks vaguely about Bunyan's 'art'. Bunyan. of course. sentative (so essentially unoriginal. Bunyan as a popular homilist was. in thus distinguishing in it favour of Bunyan. is the fruit of a fine civilization . That England. Mr Tindall brings home to us. but lunatic extremes. And this is not the less impressive for our being. is a lunatic extreme . as one. For what makes The Pilgrim's Progress a great book. The Pilgrims Progress. one of the great classics. by the allegorical intent of this and that incident. The England of the led to as Sects. confirms the conclusions about that we are in any case The Pilgrims Progress being. as . cannot be taken full account of in Hudibrastic (or Strachey-Gibbonian) terms. something besides fanaticism. poised and mature humanity. in fact. is its humanity its rich. that Bunyan explicitly sets out to allegorize.206 THE COMMON PURSUIT That. and and 'earthy vigour* apparently sees in this nothing but a vividness of style. By 1692. the enthusiasts and mechanick preachers were not out of touch with a traditional wisdom. Bunyan Where. about one hundred thousand of Pilgrims Progress had been sold it had been translated into foreign tongues. were common were. one is inclined to say. then. plainly. and Bunyan so completely and essentially one of the mob of scribbling by The Pilgrim's Progress itself Mr Tindall and preaching fanatics. and had surpassed by ninety thousand copies the combined sale of Benjamin Reach's two most popular allegories. so completely and essentially repredemonstrates. But it is not merely vividness and vigour (though these it a classic a classic certainly has) that make The Pilgrims Progress in the fullest sense. a Baptist (Particular Open-Communion) and not a Ranter or antinomian extremist. And it is not merely a certain superiority in vividness and vigour so unemphatically conceded by Mr Tindall was to Bunyan that explains the following facts : Doe. bigotry and ignorance has to be invoked. of course. the narrow Calvinistic scheme of personal salvation. according to Charles copies . But Mr Tindall conQuaker. and vincingly exhibits the world of fissiparous sects and his works as essentially of it. the implication almost is). here and there.

has no use for these super-subtleties . we never strive against Wind and Tide Secondly. Mr Anything . and is arrived to such a pitch of to all. however. who are your kindred there. yet my Great Grandfather was but a Waterman. The same people that created the English language for Shake- in speare's use speaks knows its Bunyan. yet but in two small points First. in a tradition that goes uninterruptedly back beyond the Reformation to the Middle Ages. even to Prince and breeding. I am become a Gentleman of good Quality . By-Ends ends other than that of is the product of the resentment against the Anglicans of an enthusiastic evangelist and deBunyan's fortunate discovery that through these spised niechanick controlled debates between his hero and these caricatured projections of enemies he could experience the pleasures of combat without the complications of reality invests Pilgrim s Progress with the character of a controversial Utopia. looking one way and rowing another . . and in particular. Mr Two-tongues. By-Ends : Yes. Owst (in Literature 207 and Pulpit in Mediaeval England) has sufficiently shown. that she knows how to carry it Peasant. (60-62. we are always most zealous when Religion . . 'Tis true we somewhat differ in Religion from those of the stricter sort. and I got most of my estate by the same occupation.) his actual There seems some point in quoting here what should be one of the best-known passages of Bunyan that's And what Mr Tindall sees in By-Ends. : : . though Authorized Version. . : Christian : Pray. my Lord. . Mr Fadng-bothways. and my Wife is a very virtuous woman. R. (from whose ancestors that Town first took its name). . Christian : Are you a married man ? about. was my Mother's own Brother by Father's side and to tell you the truth. it is now a people that Mr Tindall. also Mr Smoothman. therefore she came of a very honourable Family. If one observes that this tradition owes its vitality to a popular culture it must be only to add that the place of religion in the culture is obvious enough. Fair-speech. he can explain Bunyan's art more simply : To Bunyan salvation the name By-Ends connoted righteousness. my Lord Turnmy Lord Timeserver. the Daughter of a virtuous woman she was my Lady Paining s daughter. by imputed .BUNYAN THROUGH MODERN EYES Mr G. . and the Parson of our Parish. if a man may be so bold? By-Ends : Almost the whole Town .

to explanaing tion in terms of class-relations and methods of production. developed by the productive advance with its intensified socialization of method. Baxter and the Quakers were the moral vestiges of the Middle Ages. We must beware ofidealizing. This last is an ugly sentence. equally plainly the life in it is of the people (not the less so for there being literary association. cannot in such conditions be actualized. with the help ofpsycho-analysis and history.208 THE Sun shines. expressing a strong vitality. This aspect causes some embarrassment to Mr Lindsay. trading. . but an art of social living. but the fact is plain. social reformers and Utopists do which modern not commonly project any serious equivalent. with its mature habits of valuation. with all its disadvantages by present a positive culture which has disappeared and for revolutionaries. What would actualization mean ? It would mean that social . Contemplating one aspect remarks that of this past order Mr Tindall last the economic opinions of Bunyan. Here are representative of the book consists of the repetitive depassages (the argument velopment if that is the word. industrialist 4 and capitalist. There would have been no Shakespeare and no Bunyan if in their time. we love much and the People applaud him. But Mr Lindsay has no difficulty in religious preoccupations respectable by reducthem. That is plainly traditional art and. too). that was doing the work of history'. who as a Marxist has to recognize that Bunyan (though of course we have him for standing up for his class) was wrong in opposing the development of the new economic order and trying to hold up the dialectic and hinder the growth of a proletariat it was the to cheer : rising bourgeoisie. COMMON PURSUIT goes in his Silver Slippers if the to walk with him in the Street. For what is involved is not merely an idiomatic raciness of speech. is the exof a vigorous humane pression of popular habit the expression culture. but Mr Lindsay's idiom doesn't lend itself to elegant or lucid summary. The names and racy turns are organic with the general styles and the style. and perhaps the musical sense conveys the right suggestion of such formulations) making Bunyan's : The sense of unity. concentrating the life of popular idiom.

The heaven-symbol is brought down from beyond-death it becomes a symbol of what earth could be made by . he can't really see that it's as simple as that.) . It is impossible in any case to believe that the classless society the process that the Marxist's History has determined produced by on could have a cultural content comparable with that represented by The Pilgrim's Progress. wanted to get outside the cramping. But that is impossible in a class-society. distorting social discord of his Lindsay talks of fuller life' he proffers emptiness. the discord between social relationship and productive methods. The religious intuition thus glosses over. emotionally cements. yet the children are left to wander about on the banks of the death-river before children behind. day into the fuller life of fellowship. (193. Bunyan here confessed his sense that something was wrong about the idea of death as the goal of life. 192). according to Mr Lindsay (p. muddled. Thus the allegory. It is the future of fellowship. Mr * he produces the effect of having emptied life of content and everything of meaning. which superficially stimulus to further living. (38.) It's all is is a story of how to die. Here are husband and wife rushing off to death as the consummation of their purpose. this abstraction will balance the loss of unity in actual life.) Bunyan. Therefore the sense of unity is abstracted. is a quite simple for Lindsay. The tale tells of the passage from privation and obstruction to light and joy and plenty.BUNYAN THROUGH MODERN EYES relationships 209 would be made as harmoniously coherent as the methods of production. For : Mr instance He makes Christiana wade over the river at the end and leave her picture is ridiculous. fellowship. like most Marxist writers who undertake to explain art and cul- Though ture. The they too are allowed to get over into heaven. But Bunyan. he points out. And Mr Lindsay almost goes out of his way to bring home to us without realizing it the problem of the religious sanction : The world of light is not the land of death. (192. So it is felt that if only a perfectly concordant scheme of son-father relationship can be imagined.

and said unto them. and lent him his hand. worth listening to. the whole effect is something far more complex and It is something. but shall make no Will. thy Daughters oj Message And my Then Mr Honest called for his Friends. day that he was to be gone was come. Mr Lindsay sees). for where can a like sustained exaltation be found ? else in When the time was come for them to depart. without an equivalently sanctioned attitude to death that is at the same time 'a stimulus to further living' (the mature. of course. The last words of Mr Honest were. that there was a Post in the town that enquired for and delivered to his Mr hand Honest. waiting by the Two of The Pilgrim's river. receive one by prose one the summons to cross 2 Incomparable.210 THE COMMON PURSUIT of betraying here the Lindsay. contradiction that cultural health. it shall go with me let him that comes after be told of this. The last words of Mr Dispondency were. Farewell Night. he addressed himself to go over the River. they went to the Brink of the River. . All for a Token diat house. When the Mustek shall be brought low. has no sense shallowness of his own ideas of life and death. clearly. So be it goes on. but Mr Honest conscience to meet him there. and so helped him over. Whatever of that element there may be in it. As for my Honesty. welcome Day. the which he also did. that could not be reproduced Yet The Pilgrims Progress must leave us asking whether to-day. these lines. Mr incomparable end of Part where the pilgrims. His daughter went through the River singing. Now the River at the time overflowed the Banks in some in his life-time had spoken to one Goodplaces. So he left the World. for pages. Then it came to pass a while after. So he came to his house where he was. Thou art commanded to be ready Lord at his Father's to present thyself before thy against this day seven-night is true. without something corresponding to what is supremely affirmed in that exaltation. could have published that as his reaction to the Progress. I die. without a false or faltering note. But who with any wisdom to offer. Grace reigns. there can be such a thing as . but none could understand what she said. It would useless arguing with anyone who contended that the inspira- tion here was essentially a Utopian vision of what 'the earth might be made by fellowship'.

1937. After assumptions. contributed Scrutiny for March. is because Dr Wellek is a philosopher and my reply to him in the first place . stituent who had of what for I : seen the recognition of it as an essential connaturally (whatever the quality of perform- my an appreciation of my undertaking. 1 This is Wellek to a reply to criticisms of book Revaluation. But. however. also aesdietic in my turn would ask Dr Wellek to believe that if I omitted it to undertake the defence he desiderates was not from any lack of consciousness : I knew I was making assumptions state and shouldn't now them) and I was not involve. I and. justly. tor the most part. If I I am not. ultimately. Dr Wellek ance) hoped points out. relying upon modesty for my defence. he says. my by Dr . so freely to be no philosopher it is because I feel profess myself that I can afford my modesty it is because I have pretensions is that I myself am not a philosopher. he adds. I suggest. That.LITERARY CRITICISM AND PHILOSOPHY MUST I to issue that a thank Dr Wellek l all my work. of course. . he asks me to 'defend this position abstractly and to become conscious that large offering me a summary of these ethical. 'that you had made your assumptions more explicitly and defended them systematically'. and above for bringing fundamental criticism for raising in so complete a way an less vaguely touched on an issue of which no one can have been more conscious than reviewer or two had more or myself. he shares diem with me. philosophical choices are involved'. that in my dealings with English poetry I have made state : a 'I number of assumptions that I neither defend nor even could wish'. I them (even if I didn't to myself quite as he states less aware than I am now of what they am interested that he should be able to say that. he would 'have misgivings in pronouncing them without elaborating a specific defence or a theory in their defence'. and that I doubt whether in any case I could elaborate a theory that he would find satisfactory.

I pulled a phrase that up just short of saying 'the might suggest too great a simplification it is no doubt possible to point to valuable writing of various kinds representing varying lands of alliance between not the less sure the literary critic and the philosopher. the advantage. This is not to better for a suggest that a literary critic might not. Philosophy. it is The difficulty that one who approaches with the habit of one kind of alliance a very discipline has in duly recognizing the claims of different kind the difficulty of reconciling the two in a working seems to me to be illustrated in Dr Wellek's way of re- ferring to the business of literary criticism : 'Allow me'. he gives me an excuse for making. would two I believe. I imagine. philosophic training. not to 'think about' and judge but to 'feel into' or 'become' to realize a complex ex- . disciplines : . I think they innocence I hope that philosophic while in ought to be distinct (for my commonly I represents a serious discipline. Words in poetry invite us. . for he would on being putting things .'. but if he were. some elementary observations about that procedure. 'to sketch your ideal of poetry. your "norm" with which you / That he should slip into this way of measure every poet seems to me significant. . but Dr Wellek knows what it is and could give at least as good an account of it as I could. challenged agree.212 THE felt COMMON critic. At any rate. . had am quite sure that literary-critical writing commonly doesn't). we say. is 'abstract' (thus Dr Wellek asks me to defend my position 'more abstractly'). be the writing to me to be quite Literary criticism and philosophy seem and different kinds of discipline at least. by way of reminder. manifest itself partly in a surer realization that literary criticism is not philosophy. and poetry 'concrete'. I should not find easy to define the difference satisfactorily. By the critic of poetry I understand the complete reader : the ideal critic is the ideal reader. that it suggests a false idea of the procedure of the critic. PURSUIT And I would add that even if own ground I pretensions to being a literary I on his qualified to satisfy Dr Wellek should have declined to attempt it in that book. he says. The reading demanded by poetry is of a different it kind from that demanded by philosophy. as such. But I am that necessary to have a strict literary criticism somewhere and to vindicate literary criticism as a distinct and separate discipline.

. things that have found their bearings with regard to one another. e explicitly and implicitly 'Where does : this come as How does it stand in relation to . the critic as critic. 'How does this accord with these specifications of goodness in poetry ?' he aims . the new thing he asks. .7ing of and against any preof it or from it. . and to count on it would be to count on the attainment of an arduous ideal. blurring of focus and muddled misdirection of attention consequences of queering one discipline with the habits of another. It would be reasonable to fear to fear blunting of edge. e How relatively im- portant does it seem ?' And the organization into which it settles a constituent in becoming 'placed* is an organization of similarly 'placed' things. first. They demand. but rather to increase it. His first con- Hm guard against abstracting cern is to enter into possession of the given poem (let us say) in its concrete fulness. In making value-judgments (and judgments as to significance). implicitly or explicitly. reader of poetry is indeed concerned with one-eye-on- 'your the every poet*. The business of the literary critic is to attain a peculiar completeness of response and to (as I No doubt would : observe a peculiarly into . and his constant concern is never to lose his completeness of possession. But it is to be noted that the improvement we ask for is of the critic. and a certain valuing is implicit in the realizing. but to figure him as measuring with a norm which he brings up to the : the-standard approach suggested by Dr Wellek's phrase "norm" with which you measure The critic to misrepresent the process.CRITICISM AND PHILOSOPHY 213 perience that is given in the words. but a completer responsiveness a kind of responsiveness that is incompatible with the judicial. he does so out of that completeness of possession and with that fulness of response. strict relevance in developing his response his commentary improperly from what mature or he must be on is in front irrelevant genera. and not a theoretical system or a system determined by abstract considerations. have admitted) a philosophic training might make a critic surer and more penetratpossibly ideally in the perception of significance and relation and in the judging ment of value. not merely a fuller-bodied response. As he matures in experience of object and applies critic's from the outside is The aim is. to realize as sensitively and completely as possible this or that which claims his attention. He doesn't ask.

in a criticism that should keep as close to the concrete as possible. my own developed 'coherence of response'. to get them to agree (with. Dr Wellek in this respect. for such a theoretical statement to be worth anything. in any add case. what the relative permanencies in my response. even if there were only one that. capacity to satisfy that I do not think again my And I my modesty has any adverse bearing on my qualifications for writing the book I did undertake to write. as the critic matures with experience. What. by putting in front of them. But I am sure that the kind of work that I have attempted comes first. turn out to be my more constant preferences. The cogency I hoped to achieve was to be for other readers of poetry readers of poetry as such. at any rate . on testing and re-testing and wider experience. even if I declined to I repeat. the of English poetry seen as a whole did. represent a growing stability of organization (the problem is to is Of course.214 to THE COMMON and PURSUIT immediate sense of make fully conscious articulate the value that 'places' the poem. and the 'immediate sense of value* should. If Dr Wellek should still insist that I ought. of course. essential order. combine stability with growth). and would. I velop the theoretical implications of the first (for it would be essentially a matter of two books. I should not put elaborate the philosophy implicit in my assumptions. ulate' the process of 'making fully conscious and artica process of relating and organizing. Ideally ought perhaps (though. have to be done first. be possible to elicit principles and abstractly formidable norms. when they interrogated their experience. my position in the terms Dr Wellek ascribes to me) to be able to complete quite the work with a theoretical statement. Dr Wellek's first criticism of me is that I (to give it its least exceptionable force) elicit haven't proceeded to write. having written the book I undertook to haven't gone on to write another book in which I de- them: binding). and what structure begins to assert itself in the field of poetry with which I am familiar ? What map or chart of English poetry as a whole inclusive coherence represents my utmost consistency and most of response? From this consistency and this coherence (in so far as I have achieved them) it should. I hoped. To this I make again my modest reply that I doubt. critical qualifications) that the map. no doubt. look like that to I them also.

no afflatus. no mere generous emotionality. that tend to cut poetry in general off from direct vulgar living and the actual. I illustrated indicated tions. it must not be cut off from direct vulgar living. Again. . ' : book by enunciating such I a proposition (or by arguing it theodid not say that the language of poetry 'should retically). . pointed to certain attendant limita- and tried to show in terms of actual poetic history that there be recognized in a tradition that were serious disadvantages to insisted on such qualities as essential to poetry. not flatter the singing voice. it must have a firm grasp of the actual. have a devitalizing effect. I feel that by very my own methods I have attained a relative precision that makes this summarizing seem intolerably clumsy and inadequate. My whole effort was to work in terms of concrete judgments and particular analyses: 'This doesn't it? bears such a don't you find it so ? wears relation to that this kind of thing better than that*.CRITICISM to AND PHILOSOPHY about them. as I did. I thought I had provided something better. no luxury in pain and joy' but by choice. I avoided such should be normally human it was not out of timidity . or that make it difficult for the poet to bring into poetry his most serious interests as an adult living in his own time. of the object. . I 215 have been more think I have gone as far in explicitness as to go. But I cannot see that I should have added to the clarity. argue in general terms that there should be 'no emotion for its own sake. again. etc.' ? If. In fact. I do not. my generalization regarding the relation between poetry and 'direct vulgar living' or the actual' would run rather in die following way than in that suggested by Dr Wellek traditions. it must be in relation to life. by concretely in comparison and analysis the qualities those phrases. it . and that I I can only reply that I could profitably attempt do not see what would be gained by the kind of explicit explicitness he demands (though I see what is lost by it). though I am much aware of the shortcomings of my work. should not be merely mellifluous'. If I had to generalize. it was because they seemed generalities. arrangement and analysis of concrete examples I give those phrases (in so far. too clumsy to be of any use. Has any reader of my book been less aware of the essential criteria that emerge than he would have been if I had laid down such general propositions as 'poetry must be in serious relation to actuality. etc. or prevailing conventions or habits. cogency or usefulness of my : . that .

mainly the effect of demonand a literary critic strating how difficult it is to be a philosopher at the same time. There is. and. philosophic approach. 'The romantic view of the world'. but I believe that any approach involves limitations. I think. view of the poem. . in fact. those three poets are so radically different. who says : 'Actually I think the poem has only one possible meaning. I have heard of it.216 is. from one another that the offer to assimilate them in a common philosophy can only suggest the irrelevance of the them that : . a chance that I may in this way have advanced theory. . The positive aim of his remarks he sums up as underlies being 'to show that the romantic view of the world and pervades the poetry of Blake. I hope. a debatable view of the world'. am interested in Blake because it is possible to say . THE COMMON my PURSUIT as I have achieved purpose) a precision of meaning they couldn't have got in any other way. Wordsworth and Shelley. I myself. And in general. where is concerned. Wordsworth. for me. attitude towards Blake Dr Wellek. My stands. I know that the cogency and precision I have aimed at are limited . for the reader whose primary interest is in poetry. so far from arguing that Blake's poem is 'so ambiguous as to have no "right sense'". achieves something like the Blake extraordinary precision of Ash-Wednesday. a view common to Blake. at least. a study literary critic. I hope he will forgive me if I say poets that his demonstration has. and that it is by recognizing them and working within one may hope to get something done. The comparison with poem. elucidates many apparent difficulties. but what interest can it have for the literary critic ? For the critic. Shelley and others yes. and is. I have in that note the explicit aim of showing Blake. even if I haven't done the theorizing. seems to me more favourable than how my My that implied by Dr Wellek. Ash-Wednesday has a context in the chapter to which the note He my verdict challenged by Dr Wellek is appended. immediately and finally. Dr Wellek has a further main criticism to bring against me it is that my lack of interest in philosophy makes me unfair to the of die Romantic period. which can be ascertained by a of the whole of Blake's symbolical philosophy'. misunder- on the particular certainly misrepresents the Introduction to Songs ofExperience. with his astonishingly original technique. intention is the reverse of a slighting one.

though. the precision of a poet working as And it is this precision that Dr Wellek ignores in his paraphrase and objects to my noticing fall : In spite of his Man might yet control the universe ('the starry . The main difference. for I : . And I think Hear the voice ofthe Bard! decidedly a good one. . and I was aware of symbolism in the poem I picked on but I judged that I might fairly avoid a large discussion that seemed inessential to the point I was proposing to make. if rhythm and the sense is quite dear' Yes. 'Delete "and" like that. between the philosopher and the poet is that to the poet there may be allowed. I know that even in his best poetry symbolism appears. a laxity of ex(in line 7) which was inserted only be- clear. a life that is independent of his 'symbolical philosophy' for instance. I will say now. I cannot. Or rather. The confidence of his paraphrase made me open my eyes. But I myself believe that in this with very unusual precision a poet. It is a philosopher's confidence the confidence of one who in the double strength of a philosophic training and a knowledge of Blake's system ignores the working of poetry. 'Earth'. Knowledge of Blake's arbitrary assignment of value to a symbol may often help to explain why he should have written as he has done here. 'dewy grass' and 'wat'ry shore'. a certain looseness. his poetry another. that when in Blake's poetry his symbols function poetically they have. in the interests of rhythm and mere formal matters pression cause of the . see why he should suppose it does. 'starry pole'. Dr Wellek's account of it seems to me to justify my assumption that I could fairly discuss the poem without talking about symbols. I believe. in the Introduction to Songs of Experience.CRITICISM AND PHILOSOPHY 217 with reference to some of his work that his symbolical philosophy is one thing. one gathers. immediately one derives from a study of 'the whole of Blake's symperform these little operapoem Blake is using words bolical philosophy' the confidence to tions. there and elsewhere I do not believe that it will ever turn what was before an unsuccessful poem into a good one. seem to me to have a direct evocative power. cannot see that his account tends to invalidate mine. I see it is because he assumes that what we are elucidating is a text of symbolical philosophy written as such and to be read as such. in fact.

The identification of Earth and Man in this poem is explicitly recognized by Blake in the illustration to this very poem which represents a masculine * figure lying upon the watery shore* and.2i8 THE COMMON PURSUIT refer to God. It opens I would call Dr : Earth raised up her head From the darkness dread and drear. Earth's Answer. might be godlike an unfallen and unsinful Lucifer (Milton. 'Man' capable of controlling the universe may surely be said to have taken on something of God and may be. The twinkling stars in Blake mean always the light of Reason and the watery shore the limit of matter or of Time and Space. immediately following that which is under discussion. with the 'starry floor' as a background. I suggest. . the Aegean isle then I falling star we have an instance of the philosopher disabling an instance of the philosophical approach inducing in the reader of poetry a serious impercipience or insensitiveness. ! Stony dread And her locks cover 'd with grey despair. from morn from noon to dewy eve. And if 'fallen. works in the concrete. painfully lifting his head. A summer's day. The next 'that' cannot possibly or to Man. There is no need to evoke Lucifer. Dropt from the zenith like a On Lemnos. was of the Devil's party without knowing it). we remember. in harmonious mastery ofhis full potentialities. evoking by a quite unproselike (that was point) use of associations a sense of a state of desolation that is the more grievous by contrast with an imagined state of bliss in my which Man. . Her light fled. Wellek's attention to the poem. in Blake's syntax in his peculiar organization of meaning not so sharply notion of clear sense' distinguishable from God as Dr Wellek's and 'one possible meaning* demands. the critic . Blake is not referring to abstract ideas of Man and rebirth he think . and with the setting sun. . fallen light' does not for Dr Wellek bring into the complex of associations * Lucifer To noon he fell. but to the soul pole') . who after his rebirth might control the 'starry pole'.

'I would maintain the coherence. phizing hadn't the value he meant it to have I was pointing out that it hadn't the relation he supposed to his business as a poet. he says. When I look up p. or even take seriously. where Wordsworth is concerned. unity. conclusive. I had heard of and read about Wordsworth's thought. I freely grant. hear the father of the ancient men. my den : Weeping I I o'er. but my business was with Wordsworth's poetry I never proposed. him as a philosophic thinker. Well. Dr Wellek merely analysis still seems to in general terms that it isn't conclusive for him : 'I cannot see says why the argument of Canto II of the Prelude could not be para- and my me phrased'. but it is an applications) had not : expression of his intense moral seriousness and a mode of that essential discipline of contemplation which gave consistency and In saying that Wordsworth's philosostability to his experience'. brings to can. be very easily paraphrased if one a general knowledge of the kind of thought involved and an assumption that poets put loosely what philosophers It it ould Dr Wellek in prose philformulate with precision. indeed. which. and if we remember that even where he offers 'thought' the strength of as . it is as a poet that he matters. and subtlety of Wordsworth's thought'. has received a great deal of notice.CRITICISM Prison' d AND PHILOSOPHY shore. Even if Wordsworth had a philosophy. misunderstand my intention. 164 in book I find this as die only passage Dr Wellek can be referring my consider to 'His pHlosophizing (in the sense of the Hartleian studies and the value he meant it to have . Dr Wellek seems to Again. quote these stanzas as a way of suggesting to him that his neat and confident translation of symbols will not do (I am not saying that 'Reason' and 'Jealousy' could not be reconciled). and that even an argument from one of Blake's illustrations may not be as Dr Wellek supposes. such looseness of osophy statement and argument as Wordsworth's in his philosophic verse ? If so. 'So contrary to your own conclusion' (p. 219 on wat'ry Starry Jealousy does keep Cold and hoar. he has a very much less strict criterion for philosophy v w philosophy than I have for poetry as poetry. 164). and do not propose now. to coercive as . For be satisfied with.

I do not see what service Dr Wellek does either himself or Science and the Modern philosophy by adducing chapter World. When Dr Wellek comes to Shelley he hardly makes any serious show of sustaining his case against me and the weakness of his own approach is most clearly exposed. Now to me the opening paragraph of Mont Blanc evokes with great vividness a state of excited bewilderment and wonder. they would make no substantial difference to my carefully elaborated analysis of the way in which Shelley's poetry works. I merely illustrate from it the characteristic working of Shelley's . logician and speculative as Professor Whitephilosopher should be so interested in poetry head there shows himself to be is pleasing . poetry. shall. regarding as I do . do than supply precision and completeness to argument. but I cannot see why even then they should affect a literary critic's view of Wordsworth and Shelley. his suggested interpretations of points in the Ode to the West Wind it is not merely that they are. perhaps wantonly and irrelevantly. quite unacceptable even if they were otherwise. I will add. I cannot see the slightest confusion in the opening paragraph 9 Blanc . but I have always thought the quality of his dealings with poetry to be exactly what V of one would expect of an authority so qualified. Nor do I attack Mont Blanc. as critics. it seems to me. The obvious Wordsworthian element in the poem Shelley an inappreciation explained by the approach intimated in his next sentence: *It states an epistemological proposition suggests a comparison with Wordsworth. : . That an eminent mathematician.220 THE gives is COMMON we PURSUIT find something his abstract what he better to the poet's. And why should Dr Wellek suppose that he is defending Shelley in arguing that 'the tangled boughs of Heaven and Ocean may allude to "the old mystical conception of the two trees of Heaven and Earth intertwining'"? Not that I attack the Ode to the West Wind'. Take. and. for instance. He is so interested in philosophy that he pays no real attention to my analyses of poetry. that the utterances of Professor Whitehead's quoted by Dr Wellek look to me like bad poetry in their context no doubt they become something different. he seems to to be betraying an me of Mont inappreciation of quite clearly'. When Dr Wellek C says.

not ways reading as a literary critic. vices such that. from sorrow to joy. and so fails to realize the force of my radical judgment on the poem (I cannot recapitulate the whole argument here). Dr Wellek's attention is elsewhere than on Shelley's poetry and my analysis. the literary critic finds himself becoming explicitly a moralist. I conduct the argument very carefully and in terms of particular analysis. When Dr Wellek tells me that the passage I quote from die Prelude *has philosophically nothing to do with the in- troduction of Shelley's things. Dr Wellek tells me that Shelley was an idealist. he slips into saythe When lamp is shattered in which I ing. the comparison I actually make seems to me justified. is main point astonishingly unified. vaporous. But I do see that. Actually. it is no consolation for disliking the characteristic Shelleyan : vapour to be told This fusing of the spheres of the different senses in Shelley is exactly paralleled in his rapid transitions and fusions of the emotions. the personal voice of the last stanza. and Dr Wellek has given me no grounds for judging I think. my charge that Shelley's poetry repetitive. of course. I can only wonder whether some unfavourable presumption has not been set up about idealism. in diagnosing them. and my that Shelley's Shelley's poetry to If. in reply to be anything other than I have judged is it to be. monotonously self-regarding and often emotionally cheap. he fails to respond with his sensibility to the peculiarly Shelleyan virtue. 'These notes'. Mont Blanc'. in no very long run. from pleasure to pain.CRITICISM AND PHILOSOPHY 221 the two poets. not as stating epistemological propositions or asserting general conceptions. but as reacting characteristically to similar concrete occasions. herent' I do not consider it my business to discuss that proposition. he merely confirms and literary criticism are I viction that philosophy my convery different Having described certain Shelleyan habits go on to point out that these carry with them a tendency to certain vices . Again. I cannot see why he should think that his alternative interpretation of the third stanza of makes that poem less bad in any of the have judged it adversely. 'are made only to support perfectly cophilosophy. and so. and I cannot see that Dr Wellek makes any serious attempt to deal with it. Shelley would like us similarly to ignore or rather to transcend the boundaries of individuality between . boring.




persons just as Indian philosophy or Schopenhauer wants us to come the curse and. burden of the prindpium individuationis.

Of course, according to that philosophy, poetry may be a mistake

something to be



But Dr Wellek


that have been unfair to Shelley's hardly bring against out of lack of sympathy with such a view. poetry Unfairness to poets out of lack of interest in their philosophy he does, of course, in general charge me with. His note concludes


Your book






the question

of the poet's 'belief and

how far sympathy with this belief and comprehension of it is necessary
for an appreciation of the poetry. question which has been debated a good deal, as you know, and which I would not like to solve too



the basis

of your book.

comment, without wishing to question the justice of Dr Wellek seems to me to assume too easily that the poet's essential 'belief is what can be most readily extracted as such from his works by a philosopher.
will only
this conclusion, that

form a just idea of Mr Quentin Anderson's contribution to the understanding of Henry James one needs to have read his essay in The Kenyan Review for Autumn, 1946. He had room there to develop his case at length, and the interested reader of the




that, at the Editors' invitation,

he wrote for


the fuller treatment exists and

(September and December, 1947) ought to know that may, by those who have no access


in an important respect, finally convincing. Anderson has established, I think, a very interesting fact. only are there decided manifestations in James's work of a

be taken

strong and sympathic interest

on his

part in his father's system



books, generally considered as constituting his the system is present to such effect that, unadverted 'major phase', and unuiformed, the reader is without the key to the essential



the intention that makes the given book what it is and what James saw it as being. The fact, then, has its bearings explains

for criticism.

The statement of these
Anderson seems to
as to


not a simple matter. Moreover,


me to have started with radical misconceptions

what they could


should like at the outset to


of the positive value of his work. His arguquite plain my ment regards mainly the late novels and stories. These, of course,
are very highly rated


by the fashionable admirers ofJames, who, assumed them to be the supreme expression of his genius,

but seem quite incapable of suggesting either any intelligible grounds for the assumption or any clear idea of the kind of thing


are supposed to

be admiring. Novels are novels; James's

distinction, we gather, is that he handles with great refinement the


between 'civilized' individuals representative members of a Victorian or Edwardian house-party: these late books (that
appears to be the assumption) are especially alembicated specimens





of the same variety of 'the novel'. Well, Mr Anderson shows that The Wings of the Dove and The Golden Bowl are, in intention, both intention and method much allegories about Man, and by more related to Everyman than to 'the novel of manners'.
closely If this fact can be

brought to general notice its disconcerting even induce some receptivity in salutary. It may may of the truth diat even in his earlier work James is not a respect mere novelist of manners so that ultimately it will become imbe

David Garnett does, that as possible for critics to tell us, . characters are 'ordinary people' 'just as much alive James's
. .



the people

we meet in hotels

or at the houses of our friends, but

no more'. But to return


disagreements with





doesn't, I've suggested, deal satisfactorily with the critical bearis less clearI ings of the fact he establishes. The fact itself, think,

cut and measurable than he supposes. 'The Ambassadors, The Wings of the Dove, and The Golden Bowl were planned as a single poem embracing the history of mankind. They represent three are paralleled by three stages in the experience of the race which in the moral career of an individual'. And Mr Anderson, in stages
his essay in


The Kenyon Review, gives a detailed account of the works as allegorizing faithfully and comprehensively the blend of Swedenborg and Fourier (for that's what it is, though Mr Anderson himself doesn't put it that way) elaborated jjDy Henry
senior. I


am not convinced

that the

younger James even in

intention identified himself as completely with his father's system as that I can't believe it, if only because the system, taken as a

whole, seems to me prettty meaningless, except as satisfying the particular emotional and moral needs of the leisure-class American




have to insist on is that intention in the important sense can only be determined by the tests applied in literary

But what



belong to the literary critic, who disciplined relevance in response,

significance. He is something that should contain within itself the reason

and judgment of works of literary art is one in so far as he observes a comment and determination of concerned with the work in front of him as

why it is


and not otherwise. The more experience experience of life and literature together he brings to bear on it the better, of



may make him But the business of critical intelligence will percipient. remain what it was to ensure relevance of response and to determine what is actually there in the work of art. The critic will be
it is


true that extraneous information



he uses extraneous knowledge about the especially wary writer's intentions. Intentions are nothing in art except as realized,
and the


of realization will remain what they were. They are

critic's sensibility they are a matter of his sense, derived from his literary experience, of what the living thing feels like of die difference between that which has been willed and put there, or represents no profound integra-

applied in the operation of the


and that which grows from a deep centre of life. These


may very well reveal that the deep animating intention (if that is the right word) is something very different from the intention the author would declare.
is that he is not, in his interof James, actively enough a literary critic his use of his pretation key seems to be something apart from has critical sensibility. Doesn't he assume his value-judgments, and rest inertly on the

My main criticism of Mr Anderson

conventional consensus that rates the late novels so high ? I may be wrong in this general suggestion, but I am sure that his commentary on The Ambassadors implies an indefensible valuation.


should he assume that the reader tends, almost irresistibly (though mistakenly) to identify himself with Strether ? I can only

that I haven't been in the least tempted so to identify or to spend any moral or intellectual energy determining myself, the worth or significance of Strether 's resolution to *have got


nothing for himself. For all the light Mr Anderson throws on possible intentions, The Ambassadors still seems to me so feeble a piece of word-spinning that I should have been inclined to dismiss it as merely senile ifJames hadn't himself provided an explanation in telling us that it had been conceived as a short story. What Mr

Anderson points to is a set of preoccupations that helps us to understand how James should have been so mistakenly led into fluffing out the story to the bulk and pretensions of a major work. I suspect that The Ambassadors, which to me remains wholly
boring, doesn't belong so essentially with the other late 'great' novels as Mr Anderson thinks and as, perhaps, James himself in



But before



leave Strether


have a

comment to make on the kind of significance Mr Anderson attri-

butes to him. Strether represents, we are told, self-righteousness. What Mr Anderson's argument, so far as I understand it, seems to
to point out is that self-righteousness and moral can resolve to are not exhaustive alternatives. neutrality

compel one


and yet, without inconsistency, self-righteousness, believe we have a duty of moral discrimination. It is true that our judgments ought to come from an impersonal centre in us, and that we shouldn't have been able to make them but for a truth the statement of which would be a generalized form of Mr Anderson's * If James had not felt in himself the very impulses proposition which he saw crystallized in American manners he would not have understood American manners'. This possibility of impersonality and this measure of 'community of consciousness' are implied in the existence of art. Difficult as they are for discussion and definition, these truths are profoundly familiar. It is only here and there, in the individual focus, that consciousness exists, and yet, as the experience of great literature brings home to us very forcibly, and the more forcibly the more we ponder it, that is not the last word the individual focus of consciousness is not an insulated unit, whose relation with others are merely external and susceptible of statement in Benthamite terms. It is difficult to see what more can be conveyed by the phrase in which Mr Anderson summarizes the elder James, 'We all share the same consciousness', than a reminder of these familiar truths. Clearly, it can't be literally true when the lorry breaks your leg you feel the pain and I don't. And what the special Jamesian intention may be is not given definition and cogency by any success of concrete presentment in the younger James's art. But at this point there is a discrimination to be made both The Wings of the Dove and The Golden Bowl seem to me much more interesting than The Ambassadors, and interesting in the general way suggested by Mr Anderson. They are no more specimens of 'the novel' than Everyman is a specimen of naturalistic drama. Thanks to the light brought by Mr Anderson we can see, for instance, in the peculiar impressiveness of Mrs Lowder of The Wings of the Dove, 'Britannia of the Market-Place', a triumph of








Yet that


makes no

essential difference to


judgments about the book, which remains, as preponderantly as before, fussily vague and intolerably sentimental.


Milly Theale, for all the elaboration of indirectnesses with which James sets about generating her, remains an empty excuse for unctuous sentimentality. Kate Croy continues to engage more of our sympathy than suits the author's purpose. The Golden Bowl had always seemed the most interesting of the late novels. Helped by Mr Anderson, we can give a better account



account of

morality can refrain from dismissing Adam Verver tout court as the American millionaire denatured and sentimentalized. Adam, we can see, stands for America in certain of its aspects on

relative strength though not, I think, a less disabling its total unsatisfactoriness. Adverted of the


the one

hand (going with the loosening of tradition) a characinnocence combined with generous goodwill, and, on the other, the supremacy of wealth that makes possible the purchase

of what America hasn't been able to produce, represented by Amerigo and the fabulous collection of objets d'art that is to be housed in American City. What precisely the allegorical intention amounts to in full it is difficult to determine to say which is to make a radical criticism. Certainly it doesn't merely amount to the elder James's system. For not only is American City a penal Botany Bay for Charlotte x about the withdrawal there of the Ververs there is an unmistakable pathos.


Mr Anderson's

account of American City




the cicerone of the temple of the divine-natural humanity. Appearance, the sum of all the objects of art which represent the divinity, is to be housed in America, the spiritual
led off in a silken halter to




how does he

explain James's presenting

Madame Merle's

banishment in

unambiguous light (the quotation comes from the late revised version and in any case Mr Anderson contends that James based his work from the outset on an acceptance of his father's apocalyptic philosophy) 2


my husband who doesn't get on with me', said Isabel. could have told him he wouldn't. I don't call that crowing over you , Mrs Touchett added. 'Do you still like Serena Merle ?' she went on. 'Not as I once did. But it doesn't matter, for she's going to America'.
'To America ? She must have done something very bad'. 'Yes very bad '.

the overdoing. The deep consciousness that he had no public and no hope of real critical attention would confirm the dispositions tending to life-impoverishment in his art. or rather quadrilateral. of course. We remain convinced that when an author. presents a drama of men and women. It had already been plain that the hypertrophy of technique. dining out and writing. whatever symbolism he intends. place once occupied in force by the system of interests belonging : to the novelist as novelist his most it vital experience. and not richly enough as a man. life. We the system of interests derived from can see too that in coming so to disguises power of his both increases. too. James paid the penalty of living too much as novelist. This. when not at house-parties of a merely social kind (he was unaware. in spite of all our attempts to say what can be said in favour of The Wings of the Dove and The Golden Bowl. in fact. If. doesn't represent the . of the Victorian country-house at its functional best).228 THE COMMON PURSUIT is What we are not reconciled to by any awareness of intentions the outraging of our moral sense by the handling of the adultery theme the triangle. of interests behind his operative sensibility it dosen't with his creativeness. of personal relations. he that sensibility. Actually we can see that James doesn't realize what violent accommodations he is is demanding of us. And what. It is in this late period that the inherited symbolism assumes and we can see why this should be so it moves into the control. the separation art from The system of symbolism. was correlated with a malnutrition. in fact. all his in abeyance. and from James. And he spent his life. for his own sense of life judgment we rest at. is intense critical he never developed any sense of society as a system of functions and responsibilities. structure in short. It is from the beginning. and mustn't ask us to acquiesce in valuations that contradict our profoundest ethical can work a revolutionary change in sensibility. he is committed to dealing in terms of men and women. He paid the of never having been allowed to price. but who will contend that James's art in those late novels has that power ? In The Golden Bowl we continue to find our moral sense outraged. belong . it would seem. so that for interest in civilization. Mr Anderson has done is to further the diagnosis ofJames's late phase. of his upbringing the take root in any community. well and good.

an into explain for. and yet is offered to us as embodying a guileless integrity that places him at a disadvantage in dealing with a corrupt and self-seeking aristocratic Europe. which. high and low. in his Daisy Miller the implicit valuation (who is real enough so real that of her presents the reader with a problem). criminations in favour of America. If we ask how James can have been guilty of so preposterous an unreality. as its living principle. are scarcely worth correcting They belong. a deep-seated desire to produce a transcendent and aboriginally pure American superiority a desire. Christopher Newman. He knew that he preferred living in France and England to living in America. to take another familiar instance. the least reverence from a denizen of the new world. They are not worth studying. the answer lies in the paternal spell. The prejudices one has about them. to the infantile development of the mind. who. The relation to reality of the satisfaction it gave him is suggested by a passage quoted by 286) : Mr Matthiessen in The James Family (p. all their good and their evil. and they don't deserve. he shows himself capable of intelligent and convincing disthat traditions He evinces. an optimistic and idealistic Americanism. In James's creative phases the manifestations of the impulse are sporadic and anomalous. at any simple-minded as that. The system of die elder James had at its centre. rate while he remained a good novelist. In The Wings of the Dove and The Golden H* . James himself places The American as 'romantic*. has rapidly made his pile in the West.THE FUNCTION OF CRITICISM Mr 229 associated with an odd weakness. and the romanticism is a matter of die insurrectionary prepotence of this desire. A representative instance may be seen The American. nevertheless. to the past humanity. as tention to be identified with it asserts itself as an intrusive presence in even in James's early phase. . . related to his filial devotion. we can see. we can now see. . starting from nothing. They (the English) are an intensely vulgar race. with its symbolically named hero. it helps Anderson enables us to perceive. more than any other European nation. and in The younger James was not as drama of critical-constructive interplay between different which provides the organization of so much of his best work. which comes out again. even when they are unjust.

Consider tragic art that suggests its relation The Portrait of a Lady. but both Newman and Verver. and it enabled him.230 THE it COMMON Bowl rules unchastened PURSUIT and unchecked. yielding to the paternal inand preoccupied with elaborating in its interest the spiration. the It is true that a great . . As for Adam Verver of The Golden Bowl. to share that optimism. when he was a great artist. as great artist. essential genius. His strength was both American and more than American. as Mr Anderson seems to suggest. I am closely thinking of the very unpleasantly sentimental morbidity exemplified by The Altar of the Dead. We are to and as a take Milly Theale as superlatively a Princess. had himself lost ambiguities and evasions of his late technique. stories. : And it is surely significant that nowhere in die in the copious discussing of themes for novels and Notebooks. But it doesn't at all follow. is there the least reference to any symbolic intention. it may be true that he isn't to be taken as merely a more preposterous it is Christopher are Newman. had. . with the optimistic Fourier-cumintimately Americanism in which the elder James (whose Swedenborg freedom from economic cares had been earned by his father) inmore rigid dulged his idealism and his sheltered ignorance of the The younger James. If the optimism had prevailed we shouldn't have had them. Mr Anderson reminds us. artist's consciousness is in a profound way and never unconditioned by the age and culture to representative which he belongs. Plainly. The Awkward Age Washington Square. awed and compassionate American heiress on object of supremely reverence. associated plain. these works are characteristic expressions of his essential genius. to transcend the optimism. merely because she is an a fabulous scale (she isn't even represented as fit intelligent). He was. . And that morbidity seems in its turn to be related to the curious suggestion of abnormality. and in so far as James did at any time incline to the optimism this was at odds with his facts of life. his relation to it can't ever have been quite what Mr Anderson suggests. it is clear. touch with concrete life. was incompatible with to James's greatness. however intense may have been James's interest in his father's system. that James. also drawn to it. and they are tragic. It seems to me equally clear that this weakness was correlated with another that looks like its antithesis. because he was born in America. The optimism. .

What Maisie Knew and a number onouvelles having virtues of the same order as the major works. for instance. shall also be a centre of the life of the spirit in which manners shall be the index of an inner fineness and in which die man of the world and the inveterate diner-out who is also an intellectual novelist shall be able to find congenial society and a public capable of appreciating his novels. Washington Square. . The AivkwardAge. the organization when we have completed the reading of the given book. make any notable difference : the works I admired were what they clearly were. is that.THE FUNCTION OF CRITICISM 231 preoccupation with indefinite evil. Then. American and European. . in the nature of things. and from which emerges the suggestion of an ideal positive that is neither. The Bostonians. I must before closing say that the facts adduced by Mr Anderson make no difference at all to my appreciation of those works of James which made him for confess that I me a great writer. with its external civilization. and the discriminations made invoke criteria of personality and moral quality that the cultivated reader recognizes. I see no possibility at all of questioning the nature and conditions of the value of these things. The works I am thinking of are The Europeans. iimnediately. The Portrait of a Lady. in The Europeans and The Portrait of a Lady is a characteristic (as I see it) critical and constructive interplay. What strikes us first about them as we read them is the vivid concreteness of the rendering of this world of individual centres of consciousness we live in a rendering such as seems to imply a and a habit of discrimination that bear no any Swedenborgian ethos. James here is unmistakably preoccupied with the thought of a possible world in which the country house. I ought perhaps to couldn't antecedently have believed that facts of that kind would. . seen to give it significance as a work of art involves no reference to any such symbolism as Mr Anderson describes. The characters and the action are 'symbolic* (to use the treacherous word) in a Shakespearean way. What we have. and can accept. kind of interest relation to . of which The Turn of the Screw is the best-known illustration. between different cultural traditions an interplay in which discriminations for and against are made in respect of both sides. done in dramatic terms. and the grounds of my admiration were such as I certainly hadn't put there myself.

. of missing experience of life. is no more to be explained in terms of Swedenborgian mysticism. both as man and artist. between the special exacting art. The relations between the young author and the veteran clearly dramatize the complex debate that has claims of his the full gone on in James himself.232 THE COMMON PURSUIT The organization. of a representative success like The Lesson of the Master. again. and his fears.

We remember that neglected critical master- in Classical American Literature. Rozanov. go on to ask . in these reprinted reviews. for instance. At least. We know it can't have been intelligence for Mr 1 QuennelTs view that (in contrast to die superlatively intelligent Mr Aldous Huxley) he was. for it was without permission he won his fame. Lawrence the finest literary critic of our time a great literary critic if ever there was one.THE WILD. Eric Gill. distinctly passe. though a genius. while recognizing the queerly limited gifts he dissipated. edited After Strange Gods. Studies and may very well what kind of gift it was that made D. Phoenix is an admirable rethat minder of the qualities that make our ruling literary intellectuals feel that his fame had better be encouraged to fade as quickly as possible. by Derek Verschoyle. in this collection of dispersed papers. we are no longer (if we ever were) very much impressed by him. Here. but to take him seriously as could affect our and the problems of our time it's amusing to think that there were once earnest souls who did so. in fact. and he was patently not the kind of writer who would ever earn permission. piece. G. a kind of genius. 1 See The English Novelists. To-day. we have Lawrence dealing under ordinary reviewing conditions (he needed the money) with books of all kinds H. that is. he was never in. we hardly bother to smile at his humourless fanaticisms. H. He had. he appears as an incomparable reviewer (presenting. muddle-headed is generally accepted (and did not Mr Eliot find in Lawrence *an 2 incapacity for what we ordinarily call thinking' ?) Yet here. of course. a standard that our higher literary editors couldn't be expected to take seriously). Dos Passos. UNTUTORED PHOENIX TAWRENCE J-j is placed is. p. 58. Lawrence is decidedly out of favour in fact. that's the impression one gets from the literary world to-day (I mean the milieu in which fashions are set and worn and a force that spiritual force. Wells. attitude an intellectual and towards life the higher reviewing provided for). 2 .

some kind of confused sensation or emotion which is the necessary coarse body of thought and from which thought. one of his heroes. His critical poise is manifested in (pace that for all its Mr Eliot) a lively ironic humour vivacity style is is. Like Benjamin Franklin. sublimates. Clissold-Wells : His effective self is disgruntled. and offend none'. grinding upon itself. He smites the marauding Mr Mencken with a velvet glove. . ashy indifference to everything. which he. except himself. himself as centre of the universe. living thought. Professor Sherman once more coaxing American criticism the way should go. idiosyncratic as Lawrence's would be difficult to find one more radically free from egotism. will purr and feel flattered So much for the Scylla of Mr Mencken. Both gentle- men. emotions. For. the sureness of touch. There is not one gleam of sympathy with anything in all the book. unless it is his insistence on the Universal Mind. Mr Clissold is too successful and wealthy to rebel and too hopelessly peeved to sympathize. If the mind is fed from the is obscure sensations.234 THE COMMON PURSUIT Hemingway. Here he of him and knows on H. G. . or that it must turn itself into an automatic sort of grind-mill. of course. as the only hope of salvation. . What has got him into such a state is a problem . and not one breath of passionate rebellion. The emotions are to him irritating aberrations. poetry. psychology -and giving almost always the impression of going straight to the centre with the masterly economy. is it not obvious that without a full and subtle emotional life the mind itself must wither . fiction. of one who sees exactly what it is in front is exactly what he thinks of it. Baron Corvo. arises or This being so. his ailment is a peevish. Yet even he admits that even thought must be preceded by some obscure physical happenings. criticism. exemplifies. it a humour clear-sighted and mocking quite without animus. if the mind really no more than an exhalation of these. he attempts the invention of a creed that shall 'satisfy the professors of all religions. physical happenings inside us. It is the first essay in the . and it pierces the obstinate Mr More with a reproachful look. of course. we wonder that he so insists on the Universal or racial mind of man.

who denies him 'the faculty of selfcriticism' (op. p. The Charybdis of Mr P. is learned. and that his family was of a social class the sons of which. T.. Lawrence docs indeed characteristically exhibit certitude and isn't commonly to be found in a mood of hesitation or self-condemnation (though his art is largely a technique of exploration exploration calling for critical capacity as well as courage) but in purity of interest and sureness of self-knowledge he seems to me to surpass Mr Eliot. and later at 1 University College. even though he pays no respect to criteria that Mr Eliot indicates as essential. claim with any confidence that they had a better one than Lawrence had. violent and passions. The humour seems . however expensive their own education. 59). And if one is to agree that Lawrence lacked intellectual and social training. whafr D. Lawrence f by E. therefore. H. . UNTUTORED PHOENIX : 235 book. Nottingham. He even goes and fetches out Aphra Behn from her disreputable oblivion. in fact. It's true that he didn't go to Oxford or Harvard. and lack of intellectual and social training prejudices . 59. 1 will. seeming to contradict Mr Eliot. and steeped hi tradition. his wits smutty. to entertain her in public. by At school. . the very antithesis of the nihilistic stink-gassing Mr Mencken. More is the last essay to this monster the professor warbles another tune. at that time. is remote : somewhat haughty and alasser ! supercilious at his study And even. for with all his example he likes . I imagine. in thus attributing to him an extraordinary self-awareness and intelligence about himself. A man like Lawrence. to me that of a man whose insight into and human experience makes egotism impossible. he hunts out the risky Restoration wits to hob-nob with on high Parnassus . But few readers of the memoir of LawI rence E. p. one would like to be shown someone who didn't or doesn't. author of the Shelburne Essays. Mr More table.THE WILD. (After Strange Gods. But alas. had little chance of getting to one of the ancient universities. . E. Wycherley. learning and remoteness. cit. T. Mr More.) have already intimated that the acuteness of Lawrence's sensibility seems to me (whatever Bloomsbury may have decided) inseparable from tie play of a supremely fine and penetrating intelligence. with his acute sensibility. human nature and I find myself.

apprehension and understanding. but he had genius. social and intellectual.236 THE COMMON PURSUIT ever their faults (and he says some stringent things about the to the College). For. Lawrence at twenty-one was no less trained intellectually than Mr Eliot at the same age had. he got sufficient stimulus and sufficient guidance sources and instruments of knowledge to be able. with his friends to carry on a real education. not only was their intellectual education intimately bound up with a social training (what respectable meaning Mr Eliot. . It seems to me probable that D. H. . and it is characteristic of him information as . He knew well at amazing range least four languages besides his own. and it is difficult to imagine adolescents who should have read more actively and to discussed their greater profit. that is. . And the setting of family life finely and yet pressed on by day-to-day economic and practical exigencies) in which these young people met and talked was in sight of in immediate touch with on one side the colliery (Lawrence's father was a miner) and on the other the farm (Miriam's father was a small farmer). was no less in command of his capacities and resources and of the means of developing further. Lawrence was not Shakespeare. Some can absorb knowledge. denying a 'social training* to can be giving the phrase I can't guess) they enjoyed Lawrence. even if less sophisticated than Mr Eliot. and his genius manifests itself in an acquisitiveness that is a miraculous quickness of insight. belonging as they did to the self-respecting poor in a still vigorous part of the country. The 'information' that Mr Eliot doesn't deny him (*a lack not so much of is more than mere information he had an ') and wealth of living knowledge. the advantage of a still persistent cultural tradition that had as its . They way eagerly over an extraordinary range of and French. read no less widely (even if lacking Greek). past and contemporary (Lawrence reading. . and had as adequate a sense of tradition and the nature of wisdom. in intercourse. Shakespeare acquired more essential history from Plutarch than most men could from the whole British Museum. main drive the civilized religious tradition of which Mr Eliot speaks so (quite contemptuously. And it seems to me probable that. English hit on the English Review. the more tardy must sweat for it. then in its great days). . he was not less mature in experience of life.

and die virtues in general that compel Mr Eliot to say . . censures him for is language which *the peculiar so great a vice in a What those qualified to judge think of Lawrence's with painting I don't know. book to keep at hand and re-read. laziness or insensitiveness to translator'. We are doomed to live. but he certainly shows an dealings extremely wide and close acquaintance with it. This long Study of Thomas Hardy. And therefore therefore the only thing is We have to live. referring Cunninghame Graham's rendering. is our intelligence to us. responsibility of not the smallest use running into pis alien and trying to shirk the responsibility can't get out of it. not only in the Introduction to these Paintings. I found the study difficult to read through it is diffuse and repetitive. This appears notably. So we may as well live of living. and because they if not what we 'ordinarily call and their application represent. Yet in the persistent integrity of this exploration the genius is manifest. an extraordinarily penetrating. dunking'.THE WILD. perhaps. . if we will not use it in the greatest issues? Nothing will excuse us from the it is even death is no excuse. but also in die Study of Thomas Hardy. and Lawrence has dealt with the same matters better elsewhere. : As a criticism of the modern world. represents the kind of thing that Mr Eliot has especially in mind when he charges Lawrence with 'an incapacity for what we ordinarily call thinking'. UNTUTORED PHOENIX 237 that in reviewing Cunninghame Graham's Pedro de Valdivia he not only shows a wide general knowledge of the Spanish conto the original Spanish particular instances of quests. It is an early work. persistent and vital kind of thinking. He says (p. deriving from an obviously intense interest. 611) his criteria are : What good living fully. If Lawrence's criticism is Fantasia of the Unconscious is a sound that seems to me to be because of the measure in which sound. and without this kind of work we couldn't have had the later ease. and that his real purpose is to explore. and hasn't much to do with Hardy. We And good to undertake the responsibility with grace. Lawrence frankly admits that he is using Hardy as an occasion and a means. refine and develop certain ideas and intuitions of his own. poise and economy. but.

would always have remained uneducated. I (p.238 THE COMMON PURSUIT It is Lawrence's greatness that he was in a position to say this . But my attention has just been drawn to Mr Eliot's essay in Revelation. they stink ! ! The Lawrence who thus places Wyndham Lewis seems to me the representative of health and sanity. Those who plume themselves on being intelligent but find Hitler. but can say: For Babbitt was by nature an educated man. the common petty reactions of the literary world. at a different level from those referred to end of the last paragraph. being able to allow for all the books one has not read and the things one does not understand it means some understanding o one's own ignorance. who was complacently deaf and ! . in fact. appeared since his death Babbitt. in pronouncing Lawrence Spiritually sick'. demand serious attention. Irving Babbitt. as well as a highly wellinformed one. be able at the same time to invoke Lewis's 'brilliant and 'con- Wyndham exposure' of any side of Lawrence. it means. The effect is the same. but he retreats into the intellect to make his display. Lawrence. It is a question of maimer and manners. of course. He treats Lawrence clusive criticism' there still more respectfully than in After Strange Gods. all one's divinations about whom have been confirmed by the reminiscences and memoirs of him that have written in the past. But it is odd that he should. as to see instinctively where everything belongs. intelligent as only the completely serious and disinterested can be. I hadn't intended to end on this note. By being 'educated' I mean having such an apprehension of the contours of the of what has been map and approximately where anything new is likely to belong . It is the same exclamation : They stink My God. this Wyndham notion of intelligence uncongenial will prefer Mr Lewis even a Wyndham Lewis who comes out for was reminded of 271) : Mr Wyndham Lewis by this in Phoenix have on him. he was. and the case that Mr Eliot argues does. at its most at the respectable. Mr Eliot's reactions to Lawrence are. furthermore. even had he acquired a great deal more knowledge and information than he ever came to possess.

can hardly. can Mr Eliot thus repeatedly and How serious point of view. UNTUTORED PHOENIX . without misplacing a stress.THE WILD. 1937 . be called intelligent ! Even as Mr Eliot quotes him and comments on him he appears as the born academic (is that what 'by nature an educated man* means ?). and completely without understanding of his incapacity who. 239 blind to literature and art. being thus in sensibility undeveloped or dead. obtuse Mr Eliot seems almost to bring out the word e his case deliberately give away by invoking such standards It is an amazing thing that so distinguished a mind can so persistently discredit in this way a obtuse in his dogged and argumentative erudition.

he says some memorable doings. . His themes are orthodoxy and tradition. call the sense the sense that what it religious spoke in may be crude to Lawrence when he any more than a rooted tree is may be said. Mr Eliot's stress in this book. perhaps ' . and one is tempted to pass it by with a glance at the circumstances of production. his preoccupations have too resub-title of the book. religious needs on to what one is sure of. the embarrassing partly to be explained by those circumstances.MR ELIOT. cannot. to re-establish a vital connexion between the individual and the race . for example. struggle to renew our association with traditional wisdom. be dismissed as having no significance. It the sense. it seems an odd summary. But when he goes on. Yet the weaknesses. falls explicitly upon the of the age. in the book in which he speculates about a future in which we shall 'have learned enough about our minds to do with them what we will' and the " What sort of mind shall I choose to be ? " would turn question said. it free'. 'the again struggle. and the presentative too distinguished. And when he describes 'the of our time' as being 'to concentrate. in a civilization that more and more. Tradition. against Liberalism'. after all. is like the last set of printed a book the author would choose to lectures. recalling does an old and notorious promise. invites us to consider their is presentment here as embodying a certain maturity of reflection.'. one assents with pleasure. is obviousness of which Mr as it Eliot an importance. fosters the chauffeur-mentality. clearly not have written. as one would expect. a perception of the need to cultivate which made Dr L A. with conscious inadequacy. of course. And. not to dissipate. I 'Thank God is am not free. at higher and lower . MR WYNDHAM LEWIS AND LAWRENCE FTER STRANGE GODS. Richards. and. one agrees that 'to re-establish a holding vital connexion between the individual and the race' means reviving. in a word. he describes admirably as 'the means by which the vitality of the past enriches the life of the present'. levels.

Nevertheless. To put it another way : moral or religious criticism cannot be a substitute for literary criticism . we can only test them by reference to our own surest perceptions. point to his Church and recite its dogmas. of the habits of the community formulated. our own most he * stable discrimination. develop a more : or rather to apply to authors critical standards that are almost in desuetude/ The first phrase the development is strictly accurate we could recover such standards only by development as the of a more critical spirit out of the capacity for discrimination that we have already. invent heightening sincerity' (ibid. says that he is grounds of * applying moral he principles' to literature. upon Eliot is. As we watch his in use. is plain when morals cease to be a matter of tradition and orthodoxy that is. for instance. more generally. p.. for instance. if not excessively. The * relevance of this. What we can try to do'. 'is very small'.' Mr Eliot has no need to talk hesitantly about the 'need for a religious sense* he adheres to a religion. corrected and elevated by the continuous : thought and direction of the Church and when one man is to elaborate his own. if he de- monstrates anything. perhaps in The Use of Poetry and the Use of What would be the drift of Mr Eliot's comments on the present kind of fumbling inadequacy one knows well enough. and can . In these lectures. It is only Mr by demonstrating convincingly that his application of moral principles leads to a more adequate criticism that he can effect the kind of persuasion that is his aim.ELIOT. p. it is the opposite : one can only report that the criticism seems painfully bad disablingly inadequate. 290) that invention the crudities Mr unnecessarily severe Criticism. it is only by being a literary critic that Eliot can apply his recovered standards to literature. WYNDHAM of which LEWIS & LAWRENCE 241 his 'ritual for into an experimental matter' (Practical Criticism. has. as alternatives to the criteria says. writes Mr Eliot. 'The number of people in possession of any criteria for distinguishing between good and evil'. those of us who find no such approach to tradition and orthodoxy possible can only cultivate the sense of health we have. 347). When. to be said that since the religious . often irrelevant And it and sometimes disingenuous. 'is to we cannot accept those principles we know. critical spirit. then personality becomes a thing of alarming importance.

in the context in which I use the term. I do not need it be mean a 'test' in the sense that one knows beforehand what said There : 2 the 'right' reaction is (it will certainly not be acceptance). Mr Middleton Murry's Son of Woman while at die same time admitting to a very imperfect acquaintance with Lawrence's work. less power of sustained devotion and less courage than before. of the more interesting heretics. in issue all humility. that they have an exceptionally acute perception. but to their sickness. having reviled him. One may at any rate venture that health even religious health demands a more active concern for other us could Eliot now shows or enthings than formal religion than it seems reasonable to restate in terms of courages. fear that Lawrence's work 'will appeal not to what remains of health in them [" the sick and debile and confused "]. Meredith. What one demands is a truly critical attitude a serious attempt to dis- Lawrence. or profound insight. All this must be so obvious to those who read him (except to the conventional and academic who. Indeed. of some part of the truth. After Strange Gods exhibits something criminate and evaluate after an honest and complete exposure to Mr Eliot has in the past made me indignant by much more It is like a critical attitude .242 THE COMMON PURSUIT Mr Eliot's critical preoccupation has become insistent in them have been notable for showing less discipline of thought writings and emotion.' is hardly any need to be more explicit it must be plain for those preoccupied with orthodoxy. These comments one makes. as essential to the . endorsing. less purity of interest. Lawrence should be especially a test. and his references in the present book to Hopkins and Housman. and this it is far from seeming. say. now acclaim him) that there is no need to illustrate the only difficulties in doing so would be to select and to stop. but . they are to enforce the point of saying that it is not as a Eliot nowadays offers substitute or an alternative that what Mr recommend itself. there has obviously been a serious attempt to understand in spite characteristic of antipathy. but only as a completion. order and traditional why forms. of all things. Mr Mr Eliot's situation his expressions of fear regarding Lawrence. an insight more important often than the inferences of those who are aware of more. Mr Eliot himself can hardly be happy when he conArnold and Professor templates his recent references to.

but 'incapacity for * ' what we to apply far more Mr Wyndham does not this ordinarily call thinking' Lewis than to Lawrence ? Mr Lewis stands. this invocation of Mr Wyndham Lewis ? With all his undeniable talent. he offers us. their air of sustained and ordered argument is a kind of bluff. ourselves. But why. If. The first of information as of the critical faculties which education should give. as he obviously is) 'a very much greater genius' than Hardy. and he is capable of making 'brilliant connexions. an incapacity for what we ordinarily call thinking. It would. Of this side of Lawrence. humour. a of Lawrence] the ridiculous [aspect certain snobbery. can bring himself to attempt a summary of it discovers. rotten and rotting others'. is by far die most conclusive criticism that has been made. in a paradoxically high-pitched and excited way. ' . on the other hand. of the greatest value. is he qualified to expose any side of Lawrence ? No one who can read will acclaim Lawrence as a philosopher. But 'what we ordinarily call thinking' is just what he is incapable of consider for instance the list of names brought together under the 'Time-philosophy' in Time and Western Man. one asks. (what are and there is *a very great deal to be learned' from him. perceptions of an uncommon intensity. So far as balance. But it is not so largely and revealingly unstill lies in its being significance and so equivocally so. for common sense . far away from the imagined frightful consequences* decidedly of Lawrence the don at Cambridge. having contrived to read one through. a lack not so much is : his lack of sense of The charge of snobbery (repeated elsewhere in this book and accompanied by a most unfortunate tone) may be passed by. the brilliant exposure by Wyndham Lewis in Paleface. we are able to redress the we may find such authors not explicitly said of Lawrence but it suggests fairly Mr implied estimate of him he is spoken of with respect. as the reader who. have been ungracious to recall this unhappy past if Mr Eliot's attitude now had been consistently or in general effect its main critical. His pamphleteering volumes are not books .ELIOT. at the common-sense level. to be agreed or disagreed with. Eliot's : We * * . critical This is . less WYNDHAM LEWIS & LAWRENCE 243 acutely aware of anything. what damage it does is so obviously not to the object. efiect the compensation. indeed.

Lawrence and especially the Letters and Phoenix in. as anyone who could have been hit on. combined with devotion on the part of an elite to Art. and I think that. in any critical critical difference. unhappily. to speak incapable of thinking is to mislead. was mistaken. or any side of him. the world will be as good : as anyone could require . brilliant exposure' of Lawrence in Paleface. : should imagine. no man was less a sensualist. In the same way the phrases.244 THE COMMON PURSUIT an as Lawrence does not offer intellectual order or definition or intellectual approach. .' Mr Eliot. Against the living death of material civilization he spoke again and again. . 'lack of intellectual and social training' and 'soul destitute of humility'. what I he said is unanswerable. fairly laid there is a matter for Lewis rightly attacks liable to (and could estimate. seem to me if Mr Eliot goes on misleading in suggestion. Mr Eliot no doubt thought he was merely using Mr Wyndham Lewis to mark off a weaker side of Lawrence from 'the extraordinarily keen sensibility and capacity for profound intuition' which made Lawrence so irreconcilable and potent an enemy of the idea that 'by tolerance. . on the spiritual level. Now the When we look up Mr Wyndham Lewis's Mr Wyndham ' primitivistic illusion that was indeed something that Lawrence was diagnose). and Mr Eliot might have placed him along with Mr Pound among those whose Hells are for the other people no one could with less injustice be said to be destitute of humility. inoffensiveness and a redistribution or increase of purchasing power. benevolence. he may come to wonder whether such phrases are quite consistent with humility in the critic. Just how far. though he may stand for Intelligence. who. is as unqualified to discriminate between the profound insight and the superficial romantic illusion. to Mr Sherwood Anderson is plain on Mr Eliot's own showing 'Lawrence lived all his life.' If Lawrence was this. His remarkable satiric gift is frustrated by an unrestrained egotism. and even if these dead could speak. reading of him a serious attempt to understand. how comes Mr Eliot to be using Mr Wyndham Lewis against him? Mr Wyndham Lewis. the stress may be But that Lawrence's importance is not anything that can be illuminated by assimilating him. we discover that it is an 'exposure' of Lawrence and Mr Sherwood Anderson together.

It is as if were something he cannot bring himself to contemplate fairly. If it represented Lawrence and the Fantasia deserved to be bracketed with it. It is an odd insistence in one whose own attitudes with reference to sex have been. can question that something as matter is necessary if the struggle 'to re-establish a vital connexion between the individual and the race' is to mean anything ? Lawrence's concern for health far transcends what is suggested by any talk of sex. it is worth noting. or conscious of their importance. can elicit abnormalities. This equivocalness. this curious sleight by which Mr Eliot surreptitiously takes away while giving.) The preoccupation with sex in Lawrence's work is. In contrast to Nottingham. and it is one of Mornings the very inferior books. if they like. Energy . And the index obtr ded in that over-insistence on Lawrence's 'sexual morbidity' refuses to be ignored. cynical and external. perhaps. almost uniformly negative attitudes of distaste. is what I mean by the revealingly uncritical in his attitude towards Lawrence. is hard-boiled. only the first' . disgust and rejection.' And who from Mr Eliot's bent in the from After Strange Gods (p. His may be 'not the last word. and no doubt psychologists. in prose and poetry. his Mexico seem to represent Life* text. but the first is necessary. or if the 'capering capering redskins of Mornings in in Mexico is Mr Wyndham Lewis's redskins' (betraying phrase) represented Lawrence's 'capacity for profound intuition'. Fantasia of the Unconscious is a book to keep at hand and re-read. to make the sex relation valid and prethere cious.ELIOT. as we are aware of the leaves of a tree when the autumn wind begins to after We become conscious of blow them off when they have separately ceased to be vital. 18) : these items. From the WYNDHAM two sentences * : LEWIS & LAWRENCE 245 of supreme paragraph he goes on As praise quoted in the last a criticism of the modern world. London or industrial America. then Lawrence would not deserve the praise Mr Eliot gives him so equivocally. (Mr Wyndham Lewis's treatment of sex. But who can question his own account of the preoccupation? *I always labour at the same thing. excessive by any standard of health. His justification is given in these remarks different as this not shameful. usually only they have begun to fall into desuetude.

These are manifest in the obvious and significant failures in touch and tone. It may be prejudice that makes one find something distasteful in the habitual manner of earlier description * Mr Eliot's references during the past half-dozen years to * Baudelaire and Original Sin. No one will suggest that in Lawrence we have all we need of moral concern. can reveal the most secret places of life for it is in the passional secret places of life. but is nevertheless. And here lies the importance of the novel. properly handled. and his justification of the of him as an extremely serious and improving' writer. The metaphor. But such disasters as that curtain' to the second lecture in the present volume leave no room for doubt. is susceptible of more than one translation. The tree will not put forth new leaves unless the sap flows. but the very choice of it is nevertheless an involuntary concession to Lawrence. to aim to return to some previous condition which we imagine as having been capable of preservation in perpetuity. cleansing and refreshing. and the dry tree should be put to the axe second danger is . instead of aiming to stimulate the life which produced that condition in its time.246 THE COMMON PURSUIT : may be wasted at that point in a frantic endeavour to collect the leaves as they fall and gum them on to the branches but the sound tree will Our put forth new leaves. but. But it is characteristic of the world as what way Lawrence is serious and imthe sum of wisdom. as the phrase itself conveys. as After Strange Gods reminds us. and it can lead our sympathy away in recoil from things gone dead. here we have Lawrence's reply. And for attributing to him spiritual sickness' Mr Eliot can make out a strong case. No one who sees in proving' will attribute * to him. It can inform and lead into new places the flow of our sympathetic consciousness. or anything like it. indispensable. * . Mr Eliot complains of a lack of moral struggle in Lawrence's novels . properly handled.. that the tide of sensitive awareness needs to ebb and flow. of course. above all. It is the way our sympathy flows and recoils that really determines our lives. To 'stimulate the life' in Lawrence's way is not all that is needed. a preoccupation with discipline the effort towards orthodoxy also has its disabilities and dangers. Therefore the novel..

247 sense that health cannot anywhere be found whole and the is in an important one. He stands at any rate for something without which the preoccupation (necessary as it is) with order. which Lawrence stands for health 1934 . forms and deliberate construction. it is WYNDHAM LEWIS & LAWRENCE . cannot produce health.ELIOT.

and to creative is. in the given : form. its It's I. He knows beforehand. on to try and be a critic. It can be recomdefiantly mended for a brief perusal as showing unambiguously what in the concrete Christian Discrimination One why Mr its logic leads. but to those of other people with constant communication. the book. whom he is in I see what's in his mind. start by asking looking through might. a new outlook upon the world. the idea that. think. since (I hope I may be forgiven for saying) interest in it. to be found in the first sentence This book is intended as an introduction to contemporary poetry. Every has devoted so much time to poetry. He follows it up with a sentence that hardly clarifies the idea. in a general go kind of way. George Every's has the air of having Poetry and Personal Responsibility. But though his dealings the idea that seems to Mr Every to explain with poetry. They go with his conviction that the most impor- . and no aptitude for its he shows no compelling The answer he would of his Preface: give us is study. he doesn't. considered as the sensitive spot in the modern mind.THE LOGIC OF CHRISTIAN DISCRIMINATION HAVE i little already is had reason for concluding that Christian Discrimination book. Bro. where a new response to life. is taking shape. wouldn't. been designed a decidedly bad thing. Still. to justify that conclusion. and where after literature in general. Richards The poet is the point at which the growth of the this is mind shows itself. derives currency from A. what new responses to life and what *new outlook upon the world are to be looked for as making a writer significant ' and important. as to be consistent he should. have been him what he meant by it I : left standing if and had asked anyone The best poem is die most sensitive not only to the thoughts and feelings of the author.

Alex Comfort. Here is a characteristic passage : Our greatest living novelist. S. then. but the pieces of verse he quotes get no critical examination. It is true that he does a good deal of quoting. especially The Family Reunion. M. and that he cannot still be dealing with significance of the same order. Tell . asserted importances. a family group or a reclining woman. and disabled it. As her prose recalls the verse of T. Christian Discrimination. . Mr Every's indifference to the essential critical judgment appears at its most naked in his astonishing collocations. David Gascoyne. in a paragraph. which had great promise for the future. so her treatment of die novel as a form of poetry makes a convenient introduction to novels by two poets. Her characters are elongated and foreshortened in the manner of sculpture by Mr Henry Moore. such voices as Dylan Thomas. Herbert Read and Charles Williams. Mr E. absolves Mr Every from the literary critic's kind of discrimination. as lectures) can have got from him : the younger poets who came to light in 1937-42. Eliot's plays. for it. Rex Warner seems to have done the same. apart from names. He can glide with perfect aplomb.CHRISTIAN DISCRIMINATION cult to see what. He nowhere begins to come near the business of literary criticism. he feels. have never suffered from any illusions about the future of our civilization. for any serious treatment of his theme. something of a change of level has occurred. rests on a departure from the naturalistic novel into stylized conversation. . This comment will not disturb him he has provided . from Little Gidding to Miss Anne Ridler and Sidney Keyes without a hint of any perception on his part that. This suggests well enough his principles of selection and associand die nature of his commentary. and don't as a rule support the implicit ation assumption that the author matters as a poet. and Sidney Keyes. the need of some significance that can be attached to dying in a world where there is no common belief in immortality. For them the urgent problem is the imminence of death. impressive generalities his pupils (the substance of the book 249 tant activity to-day is to promote a Christian revival. Miss Elizabeth Bowen and Mr Desmond Hawkins have not added to their early output. deserted the novel twenty-five years ago for other forms of literature. and it is diffi- and was given . Forster. among The reputation of Miss Compton-Burnett. so far chiefly her fellow-writers. No other modern novelist cuts so close to the bone of life.

He writes : The border between literary criticism and the evaluation of a writer's had been obscured by the critics of the 'twenties. then to detect poetry* and to discriminate between that which can properly be considered as such and that in which any journalist or extension-lecturer recognizes the Zeitgeist becomes a task of the due execution of which only great delicacy and importance. and especially by . who were prepared to adopt literature as a vocation. and golf there are qualifications that can only be gained by discipline and experience. the fostering of the highest critical standards and the observance of the most scrupulous critical discipline can hope to ensure tell him this. and pedantry ture as well as on perfectly safe classics. them to make sense of their lives. if poetry matters because it is the where a new response to modern mind * sensitive spot in the life is taking shape'. and Mr Every replies (his immediate audience being of the WJE. For what can be meant by 'the minority should always include a proportion of people who are not themselves engaged in the practice of literature' ? The minority is what it is.A. type): The error of the Scrutiny writers was to look for the intelligentsia in the same places where aesthetes were recruited in the days of the Yellow Book and the Rhymers' Club. . Such people develop very easily into can be reared on a diet of contemporary literapedants. The minority who in any age are really responsive to new developments in literature and the arts should always include a proportion of people who are not themselves engaged in the practice of literature. among intelligent and well-informed young men and women at the older universities.250 THE . developing natural aptitude. . COMMON PURSUIT * him that. that it should be bigger is always desirable but it will not be enlarged by pretending that confidence based on lack of cultivated literary experience and lack of trained aptitude in analysis and judgment for what does 'not engaged in the practice of literature' mean ? can be counted on to distinguish and respond to die signi. drift are Mr Every's intention and ideas unmistakable. Mr ficantly new in literature. but his tactic amounts to nothing more and nothing less than the launching of that appeal to the natural man and the natural man's dislike of the suggestion that perhaps in more important matters than football. billiards. who care for art because it helps Every doesn't actually bring out the word 'highbrow'.

calling for literary experience. being the concern of an aesthetic sense that is insulated from . are irreleart is The vant the experience of art is sui generis and unrelated to the rest oflife. or moral commentaries and judgments on works ofliterature should be relevant. doctrine of 'significant form' maintains that. Ronald Duncan. David Gascoyne. one can study. logical 251 in the interests tress criticism of 'significant form*. Now to his great disseemed to be becoming completely immersed in theo- and sociological polemic. as established values. H. and how many more. a whole team of Christian poets.CHRISTIAN DISCRIMINATION Dr Leavis. where visual in question. the boy war-casualty whom by some caprice it has been agreed to immortalize as a symbol of lost Genius (I can see no ground for his reputation). That is his way (and does he. Of his own discovery and fostering Mr Every offers us. and that the business of ensuring relevance is a . the rest of one's organization. Lawrence and T. the 'sensitive spot where a new re: sponse to life is taking shape'. as poet and intellectual of established standing . Auden. or judgments of significance. since the 'significance' of 'significant form' is to be ineffable signifying nothing that can be discussed or indicated. Mr Every imputes a literary transposition of that doctrine to me. Mr Every's own line of goods is of course Christian. Herbert Read. Dr Sitwell writes emotionally. Eliot. delicate one. The true aesthetic appreciator can only ejaculate. Alex Comfort. trained skill. and not only Sidney Keyes. S. Having thus absolved himself from the duty of making the Mr Every can facilitate the business of his own special line of goods by accepting with a pushing large and reassuring catholicity. find it honest ?) of dealing with my insistence that theological. of major significance in terms of the critic's con- cern with tie 'sensitive spot'. political. Dylan Thomas. that appeal to the values and interests of general living. sociological. it just is. but essential discriminations. with characteristic afflatus. in the same sense as one can in D. cultivated scruple. one gathers. his friend John Heath-Stubbs in all these. on reflection. therefore she can be acclaimed as a great (if not yet quite a Christian) poet. most of the current names. and the is literary critic's concern with the quality of the life that concretely present in die work in front of him. Edith Sitwell. value-judgments. about Christ.

of Eliot. But then. Murder in the Cathedral and Thomas Cranmer. and Mr Norman Nicholson a writer in whom. In the long run Williams influenced Eliot more. influence that changed Mr Eliot's it attitude towards Milton The influence of Eliot is seen in repulsion as well as in attraction. Milton's grand manner of verse. he rejected Eliot. Mr Every gives us a whole of Charles Williams' To-day : chapter on 'The Poetic Influence critics are failing in their understanding of the younger because they are not aware of his later work. Mr Every. conat least. and that the critic is mistaken in supposing himself to be interested in poetry.252 THE say. In what fidently sets up as a great poet a peer. I COMMON PURSUIT (we are to assume). This wall in the end prevailed to modify Eliot's judgment stance at least the imitation where critical arguments failed. with the tide. I can see no vestige of any gift. . as The Mr one who knows (having creative : that it was Williams* Mr Every can on the highest authority). From on their mutual influence grew. poets Williams. But assure us. without producing any arguments or evidence tending to make the valuation in the least plausible. Eliot's negative capacity. sense this is Christian Discrimination : comes out with almost disarming naivet6 here Admiring Milton. am bound to tions and pretensions that have gathered assurance from assiduous encouragement and from the sense ofswimming. In answer to the challenge thrown down by his attack on the Chinese wall. I can see no reason for being interested in Charles Williams. but only^inten- Mr Nicholson's inspirer. In 1935-36 Eliot and he wrote plays in succession to one another for the same festival. Charles Williams built a Chinese wall of his own to resist the decay of words. however sound the poet's orthodoxy. until the arch-classicist and ultramodern was revealed as an Anglo-Cadiolic lay theologian. his infinite Every serve passages of Williams* verse quoted by to convince one that. In one inof Milton had been of use. whom we are offered as a major power. because his own effortless originality' was less Canterbury that time * open to any influence than receptiveness. shoal-supported. only he hadn't begun to be a poet..

can only repeat that those who subscribe to this fashion can. all that we learn and divine of it leads me to the conclusion that here. and training teachers) pretentious phrases. to debase the currency and abrogate the function of criticism. and that the utterances giving colour to this significant critical bearings on his poetic development. It may be an of Christian Discrimination I am sure it is not good example literary criticism. To pass off his writings as to promote the opposite of spiritual health. spiritually edifying is More generally. Mr Eliot. does Mr Every offer his disciples in return for the great poet to whom he denies diem access ? He offers them (they were in the first place extension-lecturees. can only. we have a subject worth attention from the inquirer into the 'sociology' of contemporary literature. George Every is that. and the supernatural belong essentially to the ethos of the thriller. It seems to me that there is some danger of his verse-constructions being imposed on the student in succession to The Testament Oj . it seems plain to me. vague and .CHRISTIAN DISCRIMINATION It is 253 one of the most revealing of contemporary fashions to suppose that Mr Eliot has seriously and radically changed his mind about Milton. What I want to say very earnestly to Bro. one may ask. and that his dealings -girl) stage in 'myth'. Mr What. you can hardly fail to see that Williams' preoccupation with the 'horror of evil* is evidence of an arrest at the schoolboy (and rather than of spiritual maturity. or if you approach merely with ordinary sensitiveness and good sense. man who had Beauty. never have taken an intelligent interest in his poetry. and never had any but a conventional respect for his genius. the occult. I am convinced. in the milieu to which he belonged. in so far as he is truly concerned for religion. I think he is doing his cause a great deal of harm. has referred in a commendatory way to Charles Williams' introduction to the 'World's Classics' Milton. as Every offers to do. Charles Williams is ostensibly inspired by Christian doctrine. it is true. As for Charles Williams' influence. theological students. but if you approach as a literary critic. do harm by the standards of any real concern for religion. unstiffened by the determination to 'discriminate Christianly'. mystery. Having taken the tip and looked at it I am obliged to report that I found it the merest attitudinizing and gesturing of a view have I nothing critically relevant to say.

As for Christian Discrimination. ways that Bro. without his summoning his creeds and doctrines to the job of discriminating and pronouncing. If.254 THE COMMON PURSUIT a confused exaltation of self-importance. then they will play their due part in his perceptions and judgments. what Mr Eliot's poetry has to give is to be educated into a new understanding of the nature of precision in thought. severe. And this holds. It is fair to add (if I may use a phrase that was once reported to me as having been applied by the Editor of The Criterion to something quite different) that he represents the most active and formidable of contemporary gangmovements*. then the life of the spirit will suffer damage. it needs to be said that there can be no substitute for the scrupulous and disinterested approach of the literary critic. he does. like Bro. George Every. and at the same time to experience intimately an emotional and spiritual discipline. If Christian belief and Christian attitudes have really affected the critic's sensibility. and help towards believing that to feel vaguely excited and impressed is to have grappled with serious problems. on the other hand. more or less muddled ideas. George Every's work merely exemwith a peculiarly rich obviousness. in the plifies * . to take. On the other hand. in any measure. * make a deliberate and determined set at discriminating Christianly'. irrespective of whether or not the reader subscribes to Christian doctrine.

(So. or suspects intact it. in the very effort at self- and a due humility. particularly his first novel. since I could never take his philosophy seriously. attempting his own explanation. and still admire. it lies in the inadequacy of the and in the justification he brings Lawrence when he least effort. That Lawrence had gifts Mr Garnett ever becoming 'never met a writer who appeared readily perceived. LAWRENCE AND CAMBRIDGE by Lawrence towards Mr David Cambridge-Bloomsbury milieu in Mr Garnett has a simple explanation jealousy. and the criticism distinction is there. perhaps. creeds protected them from prophet who hated all those whose his disciples'. His pair that Mr Garnett introduces) a piece (the second of the of retrospective self- searching in which he asks whether he and his friends may not have Lawrence with some valid grounds for judging them provided adversely. he has FOR the repugnance felt Garnett's friends. But he feels that more is needed. I was a rationalist and a scientist. In fact. a greater genius being in. Keynes. the assumptions on which the inquiry is to prous. Memoir is invokes jealousy. and the : to have such genius. my friends Keynes too. to The our . no one will question. But the significance of what he offers is not what he is conscious of. view gives virtually complacency he exposes at the outset. and I was repelled by his intuitive and dogmatic philosophy. 9 The American Or. 9 continues. was a distinguished mind. The White Peacock'. It was thus inevitable that sooner or later Lawrence would spew me out of his mouth. whereas the ideas of from Cambridge interested and attracted me. intends it. stories. one might say: 'Yes. question: 'I parTwo Gentlemen of Verona ). his short poems and several of his novels. his I greatly admired. Mr Garnett ticularly admire . 'He was a general. by way of paying one's tribute to tremendous! I particularly admire James.KEYNES. 'But'.

means what was made of him. The Memoir is devoted to explaining the serious substance underlying the 'brittle stuff' of the conversation in which Lawrence couldn't be brought to join. he 'obviously' puritanical Lawrence must inevitably 'It have admired and envied. following as it does on this Lawrence was jealous of the other lot. repulsive to him. was obviously a civilization* shocked as the provincial and have been. and not less obviously uncomfortable and unattainable for him very repulsive and very attractive. to be a large part of the 'civilization' is one gathers so from the way in which Keynes 1938) announces his theme at least : (it shock the Club too much. It was obviously a civilization. I think. to try and recall the principal impacts on one's virgin mind and to wonder how it has all turned out. E. instead of sexual. was there something true and right inwhatLawrence felt ?' The 'but' leaves the assumptions with us as implicitly granted. It overwhelmed. But the 'influence' I well remember the exasperated despair with which its manifestations (in mild forms. I should like in this contribution proceedings to introduce for once mental or spiritual. of course. Moore. Bertie gave him what must have been.256 ceed : THE COMMON PURSUIT : 'But when all that has been said. in friendly seniors who had been formed in that climate at the beginning of the century. adventures. Keynes. 'Influence* here. and the Memoir taken up with describing his influence. looking . attracted and repulsed him which was the other emotional disturbance. loathed and despised what was in front of him merely because he saw just what it was. judging out of his experience of something incomparably more worthy to be called a 'civilization'. That Lawrence. then at their height. not in any field of disciplined study. 'religion' is was derived from G. Such 'brittle stuff' continued. largely The of course. even in the maturer years of die Mite. were. but at the level of undergraduate 'civilization'. his first glimpse of Cambridge. just after the 1914 war. and whether one if it will not to its still holds by that youthful religion. is inconceivable to can't but Keynes. That Moore himself deserves the high terms in which Keynes speaks of him no one will wish to question. and Cambridge rationalism and cynicism. I now see) filled me when I met them.

KEYNES. One can readily imagine how the incontinendy flippant talk and the shiny complacency. it And ethos. Memoir. 257 back. 'seriously* as it took itself. snub-proof in its obtuse completeness. whether one is serious or not taking itself for ironic poise not at some time observed the process ? : who has It did not prevent us from laughing most of the time and we enjoyed all supreme self-confidence. not as illustrating a familiar undergraduate phase which should in any case be left behind as soon as possible. the more 'brittle stuff' describes it whimsically. Keynes criticises the 'religion* for deficiencies and But he can't see that. The more worldly sophistication that Lawrence encountered in 1914 was not a more genuine maturity. and that what they were finding in their intellectual performances was sanction and reinforcement for an undergraduate immaturity the more confident they grew in their sophistication. and which the most intelligent men should escape. Articulateness and unreality cultivated together callowness disguised from itself in articulateness conceit casing itself safely in a confirmed sense of high sophistication the uncertainty as to errors. . to arrest development. Still in 1938 he takes them seriously. the less chance had they of discovering what seriousness was like. but without in the least realizing that what he and his friends were illustrating was die power of an ancient university. and most revelatory of the Cambridge-Bloomsbury even. he describes the dialectical play ('It was a stringent tells us) that was to merge into. in some ofits climatic pockets. he sees them. Of course. infuriated him. He loathed : . describes the intellectualities of the coterie and its religion with a certain amused irony but it is not the detached irony of a mature valuation. of the unconverted world. was ultimately superseded by. but as serious and admirable would seem. when cultivated well beyond undergraduate that is what seems to me most significant in the years. to be inimical to the development of any real seriousness was its essence. superiority and contempt towards the rest Broadly speaking we all knew for certain what were good states of that they consisted in communion with objects of love. LAWRENCE AND CAMBRIDGE . mind and And Keynes education in dialectic'. one gathers. beauty and truth. . and. .

What ails Russell is.258 THE COMMON PURSUIT the flippancy.. criticize Keynes. The young ex-elementary school-teacher was in a position to judge of the most distinguished intellectual among his friends. But what it means to him is just this and no more (damaging enough by itself. 'We lacked reverence. the inexperience It isn't that life has been too much for him. in social life : later : of youth . criticism How little Now what we got from Moore was by no means entirely what he . in matters of life and emotion. but too little. and never out of touch with the of the daily bread. as he thinks.. T.. : We had no respect for traditional wisdom or the restraints of custom . He says that. in its account of human nature. does of course certain defects that fall the 'religion* for under inexperience. Nothing could be more ludicrously wide of the mark than the assumption that Lawrence must have felt inferior and ill-educated when introduced in Russell's rooms to the dazzling civilization of Cambridge. this radical criticism. shows what an intense cultivation they had enjoyed during the formative years at Eastwood and Nottingham. of course) .'s D. Keynes can understand the full force of Lawrence's he shows when he explains what he calls the 'individualism of our philosophy*. The inteldaily business of ensuring the supply lectual interests were not the less real for that E. and ignored at die same time 'certain powerful and valuable springs of feeling*. but for formed in a working-class quite opposite reasons. looking back. He had been which intellectual interests were bound up with the of home and chapel. taken together with Sons and Lovers. as he does in a letter of a year or so culture.. But his criticisms have a way of not being able to realize the weight they ought to carry and the depth to which they ought to strike. It did not occur to any of us to respect the extraordinary accomplishment of our predecessors in the ordering of life (as it now seems to me to have been) or the elaborate framework they had devised to protect this order. Lawrence. . H. it ignored the formidable part of the irrational forces. But the thing to stress is his enormous advantage in experience. not because he was an inexperienced prude. as Lawrence observed / Keynes endorses.

each primed with conscious and hardened in self-approval : they talk endlessly. offered us. If this judgment seems too severe. . which has served to prosurpassable tect the whole lot of us from the final reductio ad absurdum of Ben- Moreover. practice. accepted Moore's religion. : The kind of triviality that Lawrence describes here is indeed a worse thing than Keynes was able to conceive it. granting that the 'philosophy' had weaknesses. And the significant fact that emerges unmistakably from the Memoir is that he couldn't really grasp the intention of the criticism he was considering. . In amongst the outside world was not forgotten or forsworn. perhaps alone our generation. to escape from the Benthamite tradition. They are cased each in a hard little shell of his own and out of this they talk words. have impressed the 'ignorantjealous. not a crumb or grain of reverence I cannot stand it. how seriously Keynes takes the 'civilhe is sure.. . And it becomes possible for him to suggest that the Club-members would have been more subject to the infection of Marxism if they had been at all seriously affected by the spirit of Sidgwick. . irritable' Lawrence. the first of our generation. But what Lawrence heard was the levity of so clevernesses many petty egos. LAWRENCE AND CAMBRIDGE We 259 He had one foot on the threshold of the new heaven..KEYNES. but the other foot in Sidgwick and the Benthamite calculus and the general rules of correct behaviour. let it be remembered that the 'civilization' celebrated by Keynes produced Lytton Strachey. and that the literary world dominated by that 'civilization' made . It is a fact that would seem substantially to confirm Lawrence. . it was this escape from Bentham. but endlessly and never. . The 'unsurpassable individualism of our philosophy' call the ethos evoked in the Memoir that. But we ourselves have remained . thamism known as Marxism . altogether immune from the virus. . we were amongst . of course. and discarded his morals. so to speak. never a good thing said. as safe in the citadel of our ultimate faith as the Pope of Rome in his. and possible for it becomes very good Keynes to conclude that 'this religion of ours was a one to grow up under'. There is never for one second any outgoing of feeling and no reverence. while These extracts illustrate ization* that must. joined with the unindividualism of our philosophy.

These characterizations are of course caricatures. the equivalent of Lytton Strachey ? By what steps. as it produced die 'civilization' with which he associated himself and which exercised so strong a sway over the metropolitan centres of taste and fashion. Can we imagine Sidgwick or Leslie Stephen or Maitland being influenced by. and its facts the documents which record in very different prose the public incidents which it relates. if seriously pursued. would tell us about a great deal it more than Cambridge. and by the operation of what causes. Cambridge produced him. They were accurate enough. But the details were of course selected and distorted to suit his purpose. a reason for thinking very much . did as much harm as the caricatures of the Economic Consequences insight economic did good.260 THE COMMON PURSUIT pondering of Sir Charles influence. these I suggest a comments which (he is I take from a review by Webster dealing at the : moment with the other of the two memoirs in Keynes's book) were then checked againsr Keynes let me read it in 1943. what suited his purpose at the moment. as I told him at the time. The inquiry into which the second would lead. In this he to literary purpose ruthless sacrifice Keynes put down of truth was obviously much influenced by Lytton whose popular boob depended on little else. or interested in. Keynes was a great representative Cambridge man of his rime. did so great a change come over Cambridge in so comparatively short a time ? These are the we find ourselves once more asking as we put questions that down Keynes's little book. And if Lytton Strachey a living Master and a prevailing of facts belonging to I should seem to be making too much here the history of taste and literary fashion. That is worth undertaking. The political Strachey.

Nor does she provide the bioinformation that. she doesn't offer a critique . one might carelessly say. Forster. representative.E. it is true. it is also. know quite a lot about the particular milieu and the phase of English culture with which Mr Forster's work is associated. highly individual as it is. perhaps. to lump the four pre-war novels together is clumsy a distinction has to be made. to discuss with some profit the extent to which. almost unbelievably crude and weak. however faintly. relating them most obviously to The Celestial Omnibus that he incurs disaster. but he aims also at making a poetic communication about life. The art that suggests comparisons with Jane Austen. There is no disastrous weak. in the early novels the contrast between and immaturity. however impertinently in one sense graphical of the adverb. without extra-critical pryings or impartings. For though the art of the 'born novelist' i* . comes out in an inequality . doesn't raise. comes third). be very pertinent to die Still problem facing the critic. ness in die first of them. In his comedy. Yet. the formula is too simple. FORSTER THE problem with wliich E. For one thing. by contrast. the intention. in its virtues and its limitations. It is a problem that Miss Macaulay. the fine and the crude is extreme so maturity extreme that a simple formula proposes itself. though his strength in these novels. to the not very large corpus of Mr Forster's work. should like to have it because it would. while it is in the element. we do. M. he shows himself the born novelist. her book is rather a guide. or in A Room with a View (which. simply and chattily descriptive. in The Writings of E. Where Angels fear to tread. M. after all. enough. we should like to have. Forster immediately confronts criticism is that of the oddly limited and uncertain quality of his distinction his real and very fine distinction. in order of publication. and that we might have been led by the publisher's imprint to hope for. And the distinction here isn't one of 'comedy' as against 'poetry' or 'comedy-cum-poetry'. In fact. M. there is good reason We for supposing. and here he is.

with its light. In his treatment of personal relations the bent manifests itself in the manner and accent of his preoccupation with sincerity a term that takes on. in those novels. The intention is most obvious in his way of bringing in. 54-58). sedate and rather spinsterly poise. in dais book. . for instance. in so far as we can separate it off. at the ^ and it is a bent distinction. There Italy figures much more subto the civilizastantially and disturbingly as the critical challenge Mr Forster's cultivated English people. * : the pre-war novels. a characteristic spinsterly touch. H. in these THE two is COMMON PURSUIT novels. in association. a kind of elemental hunger for continuance. There follows the episode in which the Italian tortures Philip Herriton by wrenching his broken arm. His preof living occupation with emotional vitality. Yet none of Mr Forster's books is more notable for his characteristic comedy. might seem to involve the limits. truly and freshly outside the limits of consciousness that his comedy. It is still more strikingly manifested in Where Angels fear to tread. die tales in which suggest. in their poetic ambition they may fairly be said to specialize in 'poetry' no one less than Jane Austen. with the problem from a centre. suffers the violent death.262 has. There is the scene (c. at any rate in intention. no discrepancy or clash of modes or tones to tread is decidedly a success. that novelist same time very perceptibly the author of The Celestial Omnibus. roughly. indeed. Italy. love and sudden death as. is enacted in the devotion of the caddish and mercenary Italian husband to the baby. that it is Jane Austen's distinction to have kept. Lawrence rather than to Jane Austen. nevertheWhere Angels fear less. It seems to me the most successful of . leads him. . that plays an essential part in the novelist's peculiar Pre-eminendy a novelist of civilized personal relahas at the same time a radical dissatisfaction with civilizations. in chapter IV of A Room with a View (see pp. and what may be tion' of called for the moment the Lawrencian bent is more pronounced. VIE) in which passionate paternal love. a different value from that which it would have if we used it in discussing Jane Austen. And there is. he tion with the finest civilization of personal intercourse that he knows a radical dissatisfaction that prompts references to D. and the baby it is that. represents the same bent of interest as Pan and die other symbols do in the tales.

The Egoist is entirely successful. and Galsworthy. though not a disaster. but as a way of calling attention to Mr Forster's peculiar distinction among Edwardian novelists it can perhaps be justified. as Miss Macaulay points out. a curious spinsterish inadequacy in the immediate presentation of love (in Where Angels fear to tread. There is. But having credited him with that distinction. an overemphasis. though the themes here might seem to be much less dangerous. The Egoist tries only to do something simple (as we are bound to feel if we think of The Portrait oj a Lady). apart from faults of over-writing. and the borrowed theme. their emotions are stated but not convincingly conveyed. Being no longer a parable (though the fashionable term 'myth' could be for once justifiably invoked for The Egoist] the Forster version achieves the status only of minor comedy . we should have to make an even more saddening report in which the charge of 'whimsy' would appear. significantly. loses also its symbolic strength. there are certain weaknesses to be noted. Nevertheless A Room with a View is a charming and very original book extremely original and personal. Even leaving Conrad out as not inviting comparison. at any rate immediately). And old Mr Emerson. serious love between the sexes doesn't come in. The reference above to D. Wells. M. And if we were unkind enough to bring out the story Other Kingdom from The Celestial Omnibus volume for similar comparison with its source. there are the two to whom he owes so much Henry James and . but. of course. one has to admit that in comparison with the major contemporary practitioners he appears very differently. does lead one to question the substantiality of the wisdom that he seems intended to represent.E. which is again The Egoist. but. The Lucy-Cecil Vyse^George Emerson trio who replace and imitate Clara Middleton. Sir Willoughby and Vernon Whitford are quite perfunctorily handled and but feebly animated they are not realized. losing its substance and force. it is essentially trivial. FORSTER 263 A Room with a View is far from being a failure. Lawrence was. H. The critic who deals so damagingly with Meredith in Aspects of the Novel is potentially there in the genuineness of the element in Mr Forster's early novels that sets them apart by themselves in the period of Arnold Bennett. over-thronging and prolixity. Yet decidedly it provokes a comparison with Meredith. for to The Egoist it obviously owes its inspiration.

Philip Herriton. if in expression it .264 THE COMMON PURSUIT Meredith. His relation to Meredith we have discussed. in Room with a View. we are hardly worried. glance entirely and setting as Forster chooses. coming to the other two pre-war novels. of the artist's to tread and A control. commissioned to retrieve the baby. are. a touch that is hardly to be disit for the most part commands from that of the comedy. The art of the comedy is a dis- tancing art. Take even the slightest ofJames's stories which first plot : The Marriages is. in Where Angelsfear to tread and A Room with a View. Forster's art has to be recognized as only too unmistakably minor. even But Mr complex may manifest itself as a surprising immaturity and actually. of passion is profound. Lilia. is not marginal and whose knowledge Forster's 'poetic' intention is genuine and radical. The Longest Journey and Howards End. . Or perhaps it would have tinguished been better to say *is commanded by' for when. Miss Abbott and die rest. And where the other is in question. In this effect the Italian setting. in its is fairly comparable ironic pattern and its really startling psychological the art of a master whose depiction of human behaviour insight. it is only in a very qualified way that they engage us (though they engage enough for a measure of poignancy). Gino's silly tragic victim in Where Angels fear to tread. at a 'Forster' story. two novels are much less the artist's : in them the or seeking of any such conditions of a detached and imposing other The . seen from the outside . are all simplified figures. with just such characters. has its part . we ask how it is notice at once how the novelist's' Where Angelsfear the 'born that they should be so much less successful. we contrast brings out the sure easy poise. Then we recognize. The complexity of the situation we see as such : though we are interested and sympathetic. though modified. the detachment. That is. framed and distanced. The critical scenes of still holds. and it is a tribute to the novelist's skill that we should have no disturbing sense of a change in mode and convention when we pass to the whole action effects quite is other than those of comedy. exotic and quaint its people seen as another kind from us. it lends itself beautifully to the recon- them course. we might say. not undisturbing . and episodes towards the end yet we are not immersed in ciliation of the 'comedy' with the 'poetry' and of tragic intensity with detachment.

was pressing her. upon it. close in this they represent. against him. and she whispered. the unsureness and sometimes the crudity of the other elements. He stood at the springs of creation and heard the primeval monotony. The phrase was repeated. a He thought. He only looked for a moment. die riot of fair images increased. *Do such things actually happen and he seemed to be looking down coloured valleys. with it a general success. we find there too the characteristic comedy (notably in all that concerns Mr Herbert but we can no longer say the success of this carries Pembroke). sudden death. He had drawn the woman on to his knee. has plainly good deal of the autobiographical about it. and immediately it shone with mysterious beauty. The poised success of the comedy in its own mode serves to emphasize the immaturity.) Gerald is Agnes a suburban snob. (p. like some star.' Her face had no expression. Then an obscure instrument gave out a little phrase. It stared at the intruder and never saw him. M. disharmonies and disturbing shifts that go a long way towards justifying the formula thrown out and withdrawn in the second paragraph of this note. In fact. come early book : He had forgotten his sandwiches. in the presentment of its themes. and a listener . with which it wouldn't have been easily congruent even if they had in themselves justified the intention Passionate love and. Brighter they glowed.E. where he had to stand aside for the maid to carry in the luncheon. FORSTER 265 happily poised art has been precluded by the author's essential interest. Music flowed past him like a river. 51. Their orchestra commenced in that suburban house. with all his strength. Gerald and Agnes were locked in each other's arms. perhaps one may without ima pertinence observe. and then he was looking at pinnacles of virgin snow. a fulness and intimacy of realization. While Mr Pembroke talked. till gods of pure 2 ' flame were born in them. Then her lover kissed it. They invaded his being and lit lamps at unsuspected shrines. but the sight burnt into his brain. The man's grip was the stronger. there are discrepancies. True. and it offers. The river continued unheeding. 'Don't you hurt . Already her hands slipped off him. but this glimpse revelation : a brutal and caddish minor-Public-School Apollo and is for Rickie the hero. and went back to get them. The Longest Journey.

Rickie writes stories like Mr Forster's in The Celestial Omnibus. in his questing real.. a man dowered is with coarse kindliness and kind of cynical ploughboy. Stephen Wonham. rustic strength.266 THE COMMON PURSUIT In full unison might know it was a fragment of the Tune of tunes . There is a note of ironic indulgence in the references to them : Rickie is novelist offers us very young. finality Rickie a criterion or touch for the sincerity. of we are told of whom people sometimes took It is him for a gentleman until they saw his hands. This memory of pure uncalculating perhaps death with an awful passion as a kind of ultimate.. (p. his youth eternal . . blurs. 74. that teacup (p. flame of the flame. was love bora. becomes for and something It is a key-experience for Rickie. The direct and serious expression that the of the bent represented by such stories is in terms of a a character. 217. Then. Rickie and Mr Pembroke were on the ground when the accident took place.. And his friends are as young and ignorant as of the wine of life. which has made men of Pembroke's type what they are. though Robert is too much idealized to be called a Lawrencian . invested by like a religious sanction. a Lady-Chatterley-and-the-keeper situation that is outlined.) They us are full Mr cup let call it the teacup ! The theme of The the truth.. His wings were infinite.) He Rickie's the illegitimate child (comes the shattering revelation) mother and a young farmer. flushing the dark river beneath him and the virgin snows above. Oh. a dozen pages later (p. He believes in women because his mother. and blunted indifferences of everyday living he has loved himself. acquiescences. He was broken up in the football match. . Its significance is made explicit rather too explicit. 62) : Gerald died that afternoon. a kind of test for radical : among the automatisms. He has no knowledge of the world . But they have not tasted the of experience. Longest Journey is Rickie's struggle to live by of the wine while being immersed in knowledge of the world.

this is how Stephen replies : Sunday week/ interrupted Stephen. Nor damn your dirty little mind I meant to say I didn't come for money.. Of course. and the weakness of the poetic' element is made to look its worst by contrast with the distinction of what is strongest in the novel. outraging gentilities. sorry. . 243. and 'Last 'I ! Sunday week. 'I mind it I'm I don't alter blackguard one week live here the next I keep to one or the other you've hurt something most badly in me I didn't know was there/ (pp. as : He Ansell says. apology and atonement. 281-2. . Not as this or that's son. Not to fall on your neck.E. Uninhibited by plainly cannot face the about 'knowledge of the world' and the *cup of the passage * . it isn't easy to feel that the novelist in this essential part of his undertaking has attained a much more advanced maturity than the Rickie of the stories. and breaking through the pretences. and therefore him. proud and beautiful. coarse. It might be loves horseplay and can be a drunken blackguard.) offers When Rickie. but he is incapable of anything other than direct sincerity he would. product : .. looked truth at the face. Sorry. He only held the creed of class-distinctions * here am I and there are you'.. money from people he did not He moves roughshod through the latter part of the action. is Of mercy (p. his voice suddenly rising. which was frank. Nor to live here. and it is disastrous. What Mr Forster offers as the centre of his purpose and intends with the greatest intensity of seriousness test of reality it challenges. He could not quite explain . FORSTER 267 of a perfect passionate love (cut short by death). the contrast is there. what he has undertaken is something incomparably more difficult.. grows up among the villagers and shepherds a kind of heroic boor. but . representative of physical and spiritual health character.. were trivial things to 292. (p. violating suburban flowerbeds. Still. Stephen.) I C haven't altered since ' . devoid of the civilized graces and refinements. In short.) or tact such a face knew little. / I haven't altered since last I'm He stuttered again. if beauty. 'rather die than take love'. came to call on you. I simply came as I was. self-deceptions and timid meannesses of respectability. M. what he was His voice broke. . having suspected him of intent to blackmail.

And if one doesn't that the philosophic Ansell. disconcertingly inexperienced. scene as that But such a which Ansell the Cambridge phil(c. A ready way of satisfying oneself (if there were any doubt) that 'immaturity' is the right word is to take note of the attitude towards Cambridge (after which one of the three parts of die attributions novel is named). and prefects. that. even a gross one. if not author appears accordingly as the victim. a very innocent and serious young man. in the born novelist. And the always as absurd. of disabling immaturities in valuation his : of importance don't justify themselves. that is because he is so plainly offered us directly and simply by the novelist himself in perfect good faith. representative of disinterestedness and intelligence and is seen the this comment Cambridge. could have led to anything so crudely unreal. (1910). An offence. And of all that in The Longest Journey centres in Stephen one has to say with reference to the appropriate unreal. Yet it exhibits novel) . osopher. The intention remains an intention standard. and that this phase of his life should continue to be represented. . equivalendy nothing adequate in substance or quality is grasped. defying headmaster. not of where the material comes from. but of its relation to the author as it stands in the and is at Howard End any rate fairly obviously the work of an older man. against the probabilities. through hero-worshipping Rickie's eyes. for him. Rickie. of how people act and xxvii) in addresses the assembled boys at Sawston School 'This teaches man* he turned to the avenue of faces etc. the latest of the pre-war novels and the most ambitious. is. where his own experience is concerned. talk isn't necessarily very serious. more mature in the sense that it is free of die autobiographical (a matter. found happiness at Cambridge and left it behind him there.268 THE COMMON PURSUIT experience' quoted above. by an innocent idealization is natural enough. But Ridde in respect is indistinguishable from the author. it is. while offering again a fulness and immediacy of experience. 'this man who you has a brother.' reflects significantly on the ruling preoccupation that. for a writer whose touch can be so sure. the reader has to remark that Mr Forster shows himself. headmaster's wife. according to 'knowledge of the world'.

dependent as it is on an economic security it cannot provide. are embodied in the quixotic Helen. is saved and the book closes serenely on the promise of a happy future. that Mr Forster himself represents they are the people for whom and in . except that they are successful. of course. successful. does it coolly. but it wouldn't in the least account for the view of the affair the novelist expects us to take. after all. They are shown shown up.E. who. and we are meant to sympathize attitude is quite unambiguous : as a result of the marriage. obscure. he unintentionally makes his cause look even more desperate than it comment . The * we say ? though the Schlegels are Wilcoxes have built the Empire . Yet Margaret. acting uncompromisingly on her standards. The Schlegels represent the humane liberal culture. with open and approve. one might say as having hardly a redeeming characteristic. 9 obtuse. it might go a little way to explain her marrying such a man. The perversity. not so much against the unreality in exhibition . The novelist's eyes. brings nothing but disaster on herself and the objects of her concern. Its weaknesses. self-deceiving. The novelist's intention in making : Margaret marry only Mr Wilcox is not. in letting his intention satisfy itself so. the head of the clan . In Margaret die author expresses his sense of the inadequacy of the culture she stands for its lack of relation to the forces shaping the world and its practical impotence. egotistic. the elder of the Schlcgel sisters and the more mature intelligence. as is against the perversity of intention it expresses the effect of a kind oftrahison des clercs. One can that. FORSTER Mr 269 Forster hasn't shocked or distressed crudity of a kind to shock and distress the reader as him before. they represent the short-haired executive type unscrupulous. Nothing in the of Margaret's or Henry Wilcox's character makes the marriage credible or acceptable even if we were to seize for motivation on the hint of a panicky flight from spinsterhood in the already old-maidish Margaret. Helen. We itself. has its explanation and is not so bad as it looks. cowards spiritually. whom English literature (shall especially musical) exists. the fine civilization of cultivated personal intercourse. which is Margaret's active choice. The main theme of the novel concerns the contrasted Schlegels and Wilcoxes. M. marries Mr Wilcox. who in obeying flightily her generous impulses has come to disaster. are driven to protest.

and the hurrying men who know so much and connect so little. of this humane and liberal culture. and he has not seen his problem rightly his view of it is far too external and unsubde. which. the house from which the book gets its title. and fact : authority elsewhere e The general drift of the symbolism appears well enough here : The sense offlux which had haunted her all the year disappeared for a time. But the Mr remains that the Wilcoxes are not what he takes them to be. the springs ofvitality. For unreality' is the word the business of Margaret and Henry Wilcox is essenof Helen and the insurance clerk. the more it aspires to come to terms with 'civilization' in order to escape its sense of impotence.270 need : THE intelligence COMMON PURSUIT * and sensitiveness such as Howards End at its need not be so frustrated by innocence and inexperience as the unrealities of the book suggest. And the Wilcoxes themselves. Of course. though they may unexpected love of the island awoke in her. There is the symbolism that centres in 'Howards End'. Along with the concern about the practical insignificance of the Schlegels' culture goes a turning of the mind towards the question of ultimate sanctions. though they are in their way very much more convincingly done. She failed visions do not come when we come through trying. that an intellectual in the twentieth century should pick on the Wilcox type for the part is natural enough . writing halta-century earlier Forster would have picked on something different. She recaptured the sense of space which is the basis of all earthly beauty. She forgot the luggage and the motor-cars. that they 'made us endorsing Margaret's Forster's Wilcoxes to represent action possible' : with merely Mr and practice as against the culture and the inner life of the Schlegels there could hardly have been civilization. At the same time it is subtler than has yet been suggested. she attempted to realize England. is clearly a mere external finest represents : grasping at something that lies outside the author's first-hand experience. Where lie or should lie the real sources of strength. are not adequate to the refor he must be taken as presentative part the author assigns them assertion to Helen. tially as unrealized as the business Leonard Bast who. with his Jacky. needs the more obviously to find its life. strength. and. connecting on this side . from starting Howards End. But an try.

or to those who have added nothing to her power. without a more substantial grasp of it than he shows himself to have.) Yes. its general and the a vague gesturing in a general too close of the book can hardly escape being found. and became a sombre episode of trees. with contrary motion. the first intention represented by wych-elm. Branksea Island lost its immense foreshores. effectively presenting this images and actions created in words. in innocent way. : (p. The inherent weakness becomes peculiarly apparent in such : prose as this There was a long silence during which the tide returned into Poole Harbour. poeticality (which. the pig's teeth..' murmured Helen. and the north wind. lying as a jewel in a silver sea. and over the immense displacement the sun presided. England was alive. island at once. seen the whole souls. sailing as a ship with ? all the brave world's fleet of accompanying her towards eternity (p. . 'One would lose something. Avon towards Salisbury.) * Mr communication isn't all at this level of been real grasp behind his intention. It had the house and old Miss Avery Through them certainly come through the notion of 'through* persisted her mind trembled towards a conclusion which only the unwise have attempted to put into words. crying for joy through the mouths of all her gulls. The associates. And our criticism must be that. leading it to triumph ere he sank to rest. her changes of soil. hardly wise in so committing himself. 271 with the joys of the flesh. sentimental. What did it mean ? For what end are her fair complexities. somehow' in that last sentence may fairly be seized on And : the . he was. apparently to herself. The water crept over the mud-flats towards the gorse and the blackened heather. but the author's success in the novel is staked on his * conclusion* by means of symbols. had there to be Wilcox rather than Schlegel). Mr Forster would have seen Forster's poetic' but the it * nevertheless lapses into such exaltations quite easily. 202.. FORSTER . throbbing through all her estuaries.E. blew stronger against her rising seas. as it turns out. Stour against Wimborne. her sinuous coast ? Does she belong to those -who have moulded her and made her feared by other lands. 172. M. Frome was forced inward towards Dorchester. but have somehow seen her. on that with the inconceivable . Howards End and its Old Miss Avery and the Mrs Wilcox remains direction.

but are identical. 265. (p. and the variety of age and sex did not divide them. 149-151). Yet they were dissatisfied. poetry. When they agreed. or. or as though they had seen their own gestures from an immense height dwarfs talking. tolerance and free intelligence. disinterestedness. and they would have deserved to be still read and remembered. clearly the work of a significantly original talent.) Of course. The prevailing mood testifies to the power of time and history. who is clearly very dose to the author. But the Indian sky and the AngloIndian circumstances must be taken as giving a particular focus and frame to the author's familiar preoccupations (exhibiting as these naturally do a more advanced maturity). He might indeed (if we leave out all that Howards End . see pp. tone and mood are specifically related to the given theme and setting of the novel. there are none of these staggering discrepancies. They spoke die same language. The tone characterizing the treatment of personal relations is fairly represented by air. shaking hands and assuring each other that they stood on the same footing of insight. which comes fourteen years later abstention in an author who had enjoyed so decided (a remarkable a succbs d'estime). even if they had not been the early work of the author of A Passage to India. unassociated with dogma or religion or any very determinate set of traditional : forms. this : A friendliness. of dwarfs shaking hands. as and subtle. as I see them. novels on this severe note my commentary on the pre-war had perhaps better add explicitly (in case the implication may seem to have got lost) that they are all. the words were followed by a curious backwash as if the universe had displaced itself to fill up a tiny void. 'I want to go on living a bit*. and so is filth/ etc. was in the Both man even woman were at the height of their powers sensible. In closing I For the have (it earlier lyrical indulgences fairly be taken as representative) the evocation of Mrs Moore's reactions to the we may caves ('Pathos. 'I don't believe in God '. Fielding. courage they exist. the central figure in the book.272 THE COMMON PURSUIT intention that can thus innocently take vagueness of vision in these matters for a virtue proclaims its inadequacy and immaturity there. In A Passage to India (1924). and held the same opinions. honest. represents in a maturer way what the Schlegels represented what may still be called liberal culture humanity.

when I'm away from her I think them ridiculous. Mrs Moore. For she and the odd boy Ralph (*born of too old a mother') are used as means of recognizing though he is possibilities that lie outside Fielding's philosophy first Mrs Wilcox. whom Fielding She has ideas I don't share indeed. not after anything. the son of her second marriage. Fifty years ago. as a matter of fact. and again (though there is no longer as in Mr A the early crudity) its appearances are accompanied by something unsatisfactory in the novelist's art. The very poise of Mr .) that it's all too easy. (p.) Nevertheless. FORSTER 273 stood for) be said to represent what was intended by Margaret's marrying Henry Wilcox. His agnosticism is explicit. You and I and Miss Quested are. I feel different. We jog on as decently as we can . though Fielding doesn't share it. The truth is that the West doesn't bother much over belief and disbelief in these days. a vague pervasive suggestion of mystery. I should say so. though they don't name. but she becomes. or even I when you and were young. the kind of preoccupation he so easily passes by has its place in Passage to India Forster's other novels.. I feel half dead and half blind. Ralph's sister Stella. qualified in the ways Asked Is it correct that : most people are atheists in England now ? he replies like the The educated thoughtful people. I suppose because I'm fond of her.. after her death. There of taking may be something in it'. but it has the effect for a good deal more. It amounts to little more than saying. for he is level-headed and practical and of the world. and Miss Avery be said to have their equivalents in Mrs Moore and Ralph. 109. When I'm with her. too. roughly speaking.E. My wife's after something. Our objection * itself is (p. M. The that very symbolic person. may open-minded. 320. is in the first part of the book an ordinary character. a curious lack of grasp. It is true that it is she who has the experience in die cave the experience that concentrates the depressed ethos of the book and the echo 'undermines her hold on life'. There marries : is. much more fuss was made. but the effect should be to associate her with the reverse of the kind of mysteriousness that after her death is made to invest her name.

but by animals and plants. these things tend to slip by). Horatio that claims radical is this uncertainty that takes a proper impersonality. appropriate irony. it is a means to the precise definition of a very different tone. but it wouldn't be a convincing case to anyone who had observed Mr Forster's habit. but for one phrase. comes in that close of the penultimate sentence plants. on the guise of a sureness and personal distinction of touch may piece by the sensitive. . to be so little certain just how serious he is ? For surely that run-out of the sentence cannot be justified in terms of the dramatic mood that Mr Forster is offering to render ? I suppose the show of a case might be made out for it as an or appropriate dramatically in some way. sadness that meets sure in the first three sentences in fact. however. and outbursts of grief could not be expected from them over moment a slight acquaintance. It's only one's own dead who matter. and looked at his watch. slides nevertheless into place in the How be seen in tinction is Forster's prose when a real and characteristic disunmistakably there. Here is an instance : Mr The other smiled. but they were middle-aged men who had invested their emotions elsewhere. for instance. Here. can one do anything but reflect how extraordinary it is that so fine a writer should be able. and whimsically ironic general effectthere are more things in heaven and earth. significantly too. how different an effect the second sentence would have out of its context one would suppose it to be in satiric tone. which is a characteristic sympathetic. it passed. . Consider. The lapse. and suffers there. she retreats to the permanent lines which habit or chance have dictated. and perhaps by the stones/ Once one's critical notice has fastened on it (for. and perhaps by the stones t The soul is tired in a moment. If for a the sense of communion in sorrow came to them.274 THE COMMON PURSUIT Forster's art has something equivocal about it it seems to be conditioned by its not knowing what kind of poise it is. in the whole passage. natural lapse of the very personal writer whose hand is *in Mt may seem a : The touch seems : . They both regretted the death. Mr Forster. one fatigued and depressed but sympathetic. it seems * to me. How indeed is it possible for one human being to be sorry for all the him on the face of the earth. and in fear of losing the little she does understand. in such a place. . for instance. The account of the Krishna ceremony. Such a reader sees merely the easy. for the pain that is endured not only by men.

but that is it is representative. because it was unworthy of a guest. Myers (to take another Forster an advantage over.E. Even where he is not betrayed into lapses of the kind illustrated above. He was inaccurate because he desired to honour her. Moreover. Rorniy's religion was of the sterilized Public School brand. though not an enlightened man. even in the tropics. FORSTER 275 not very important instance. Incurably inaccurate. He did not like to remember Miss Quested's remark about polygamy. M. the undying in- capable of generosity worm itself. and to say to pass a radical criticism. novelist who offers some obvious points of comparison). as one tidies the ground after extracting a weeo. H. his habit doesn't favour the impersonality. Mr Forster's felicities and his charm. Mr Ronny approved of religion as long as it endorsed the National Anthem. The * doubt expresses itself in an emphasis on the personal'. and facts being entangled he had to arrange them in her vicinity. then. Something snub-nosed. but he objected when it attempted to influence his life. so he put it away from his mind. it was before space also. involve limitations. What had spoken to her in that scoured-out cavity of the granite What dwelt in the first of the caves Something very old and very \ ? small. He was inaccurate because he was sensitive. that would be necessary for convincing success at keeps us very much aware of the that the level of his highest intention. held enlightened opinions. the presentment of themes and experiences as things standing there in themselves. events and the experiences of characters are supposed to be speaking for themselves the turn of phrase and tone of voice bring the presenter and commentator into the foreground. and with it the knowledge that he had bolted into a cave to get away from her. he already thought that this was what had occurred. which never goes bad. Sir Gilbert. say. a general doubt arises regarding that personal distinction of style that distinction which might seem to give O J O Mr L. Before time. A larger assemblage of quotations (there would be no difficulty but that of space in going on indefinitely) would make the point fairly conclusively it : Mr Forster's style is personal in the sense that personality of the writer. so even where actions. .

has been associated with Bloomsbury the Bloomsbury which (to confine ourselves to one name) produced Lytton Strachey and took him for a great writer. But there seems no need to deal directly with such a proposition here. They are Bloomsbury in the valuations they accept (in spite of the showings of real critical perception). That that culture has of its very nature grave weaknesses Mr Forster's work itself constitutes an explicit recognition. It might. a general lack of vitality. and in prevailing ethos. The deficiencies of his novels must be correlated with the weakness so apparent in his critical and journalistic writings Aspects of the Novel. or robustness. more : . But it seems worth while insisting at this point on the measure in which nesses are personal ones. perhaps. When H. in the assumptions they innocently express. it seems. The comparative above suggests a return to the question sentative significance. That those standards are not implicit complete in themselves or securely based or sufficiently guaranteed by contemporary civilization there is no need to dispute the recognition has been an essential part of the creative impulse in Mr Forster. be said that it is just die weakness of liberal culture 'bourgeois'. it is. in the exploration of the radical problems. for one so perceptive and sensitive. or to discuss at any length what * shall be given to the terms liberal' and 'culture'. They are disconcerting because they exhibit a lively critical mind accepting. in their amiable way. He seems then. uncritically the very inferior social-intellectual milieu in them which it has developed. of course.276 THE COMMON reference to PURSUIT L. die Marxist would say that is manifested by Bloomsbury (which certainly had claims to some kind of representative status). Abinger Harvest the weakness that makes representative in so disconcerting a way. Myers thrown out of Mr Forster's repreone has recognized the interest and Mr value his work has as representing liberal culture in the early years of the twentieth century. Mr Forster. But that. qualifying the gifts that Mr Forster's weakhave earned him (I believe) a lasting place in English literature. Bloomsbury. And these writings of Mr Forster's are. The significance necessary point is made by insisting that the weaknesses of Mr Forster's work and of Bloomsbury are placed as such by standards in what is best in that work. extraordinarily lacking in force. there is perhaps a temptation to see the weaknesses too simply as representative. we know. of intelligence .

in effect. and it makes the achievement. for the approof the adjective is obvious. the humane. have done seems to me enough to point to will be an occasion for ensuring that it A I Mr Forster a major critical injustice. And it seems to me plain that this * tradition really is. They represent. And I cannot see how we can dispense with what they both stand for. who may no longer serenely confident or self-suffibut conscious of being not less than before the custodian of . These rather commonplace observations seemed worth making because of the current fashion of using 'liberal' largely and loosely as a term of derogation : too much is too lightly dismissed with it. something essential. is : For I have been assuming. On this is note a I should like to that. undeniably. In its touch upon racial and priateness cultural problems. its strength and its impressiveness . tacitly.E. I throw out this judgment as pretty obviously acceptable. In these representatives it is far from the complacency of freedom of th ought '. the breakdown of traditional forms and the loss of sanctions embarrassingly 'in the air' cient. decent and rational the 'civilized' habit. its treatment of personal relations. invaluable thing it is. make my parting salute. for all its weakness. made. of that tradition appear the I spirit will. but they stand. and in prevailing ethos die book is an expression. the humane tradition as it emerges from a period of 'bourgeois* security. of the liberal tradition. for the free play of critical intelligence as a sine qua non of any hope for a human future. but a truly memorable work of And that there is point in calling it a classic of the liberal suppose. the indispensable transmitter of something that humanity cannot afford to lose. all criticisms general agreement that a classic not only a most A significant literature. the spokesmen of the finer consciousness of our time. document of our age. as such. FORSTER 277 a creative writer power than he commands may be shown by equally be said to represent liberal culture appears well enough in The Root and the Flower at least. a Passage to India. To enforce this remark Passage to India and it shall not. it has. its fineness. be granted fairly readily. Mr Forster's name in these days. M. . nevertheless. we should peculiarly honour. divorced from dogma and left by social change.

Rajan. nor would the critical apparatus for confidently appraising and elucidating him as such. .* I can upon the local altars with quite its old intensity only . members so very long ago. hardly conceivable . than Mr Eliot. one gathers. comment rises from Miss Bradbrook's own quality as style. Miss Bradbrook see a footnote to p. ELIOT by a Fellow of Trinity. she surmises (exemplifying a tone and an attitude characteristic of her essay I find them. very distasteful) Mr Eliot may be relieved that the incense no longer fumes . if there had not been. while she slights one main part of the answer. S. her essay seems to me to illustrate the other. Eliot : A Study of his Writings by several hands. S. I had better say outright. 'How was it done ?' Miss Brad- brook doesn't answer her question but. it means that a revolutionary change has been brought about. Referring back to die Cambridge of the nineteen-twentics. . (I find her that a suggesting the influence of Miss Dorothy L. Miss Bradbrook. not edited HERE. . 21) suppose that The Rock corroborative. such a thing was. Edited by B. The part played by Mr Eliot's association with religious orthodoxy is to be read plainly in at least three of the Anglo-Catholic triumphantly acclaimable major poet. Eliot. strongly suggesting incense. . is a volume of essays on T. As one contributor. indicates. and contributed to by of the Cambridge English Faculty and other respectable academics. pronounced fume. and that if so difficult and disturbing a poet is so generally accepted as an established institution it is for the kind of reason that makes a great many people (including. essay. Yet Eliot would not have been there for by Dr Mr T.APPROACHES TO 1 T. in intellectuals as a 1 eight essays presented Rajan.) 'certain that a marked and Murder in the Cathedral inaugurated a revival of religious poetic drama. and that it is of such a to give us half the answer to her question. : * - . all treating him as a classic and an accepted glory of out language. Sayers rather For it is change in Mr Eliot's standing followed the appearance of For Lancelot Andrewes and Ask* Wednesday. the great living master. S.

and The Cambridge Review could find no reviewer for it in Cambridge. The Sacred Wood came out in 1920 and Homage to John Dryden in 1924 (when in most academic circles Mr Eliot's name would hardly have met with recognition). privately. too. who says : The Sacred Wood and Homage to John Dryden appeared Mr was still the subject of frightened abuse in the weeklies. How was it done Dr Rajan's ? . admirers capable of somemore critical than burning incense. disastrous and unpardon- young able. ELIOT 279 by Miss Bradbrook. still in 1930 (and later). but knew also that the offence was rank.APPROACHES TO theyears referred to T. And when. and I myself was left in no doubt as to the unforgivableness of my offence. in 1932. Yet the matter of that to be offensive book is seen. however modestly mentioned. and also in some academic circles. Mr Eliot's mere name. a book of mine came out that made a study of Mr Eliot die centre of an attempt to define the distinctive aspects of significant contemporary poetry. I could tell Miss Bradbrook. now 'common form'. with some amusement. will confine myself here to two When in 1929 an innocent editor printed an article of mine on Mr Eliot's criticism in The Cambridge Review (a reply to a contemptuous dismissal ofhim by a Cambridge 'English' don in Mr Desmond MacCarthy's Life and Letters) he very soon had cause to realize that he had committed a scandalous impropriety. I must testify. and in the academic circles that 'still' ' now receive Dr Rajan's enterprise without a flutter. capable thing of something in the nature of courage that isn't necessary to-day an aspect of that forgotten situation not done justice to by Miss Bradbrook. some piquant and true anecdotes in illustration. Still'. S. But his views percolated downwards. was as a red rag to a bull. and are now almost common form. I must add. I remember. in symposium. so much worse than imprudent was it found to be that the advanced 'English' intellectual of the day declined (or so the gloating whisper ran) to have anything to do with it. And. the embarrassed notes I received from correct friends who felt that some form of congratulation on the appearance of a book had to be gone through. havingthe strongest of grounds for confident insistence. I reminiscences of sufficiently public fact. How was it done ? Eliot When That must appear very odd to anyone who recalls the chronology of Mr Eliot's ceuvre.

the ambiguity that hangs about the nature and tendency of Mr Eliot's influence must impede the recognition of our debt. that is. I told myself. For the next few years I read it through several times a year. and not as another dtung'. largely repetitive. 'When he stabilized his own style as a poet. and the opportunity. and until these are performed. Iffor informing power departed example the essay on In Memoriam be compared with that on Massinger. among Dr Rajan's contributors. cism. of course. not only because history will go on repeating itself and. She is not. for pattern and incitement. particular illuminations. deference. There are few pieces of his criticism after For Lancelot Andrewes to which one would send the student of literature for such demonstration. orientations. though it undoubtedly in any case will. with the special life and virtue it embodies. in 1920. to insist on the necessary discriminations. have been I had not come on Mr Eliot's name before) I bought The Sacred Wood just after it came out. and so to make the essential achievement. effective as influence* Of this respect Miss Bradbrook seems to me to fail. still lay open for a first-hand attempt to appraise the critiis My disappointment seems to me very much to be desired. and what * is . but because such an orthodoxy naturally tends to discourage true respect for the genius it offers by to exalt able to substitute. But if I had to characterize the nature of the debt briefly I should say that it was a matter of having had incisively demonstrated. It would involve some firm the heavier because such an appraisal disoiminating and delimiting.280 I THE COMMON PURSUIT critical have thought this note on the development of a literaryorthodoxy worth making. or intelligence to literature looks like. interest. what the disinterested and effective application of By some accident (it must what is the nature of purity of meant by the principle (as Mr Eliot himself states it) that when you judge poetry it is as poetry you must judge it. and critical ideas of general instrumental value. I got from it. alone in that. had already been written about Mr Eliot's poetry. True respect is insepar- from the concern to see the object as in itself it really is. pencil in hand. It is a debt that I recognize for myself as immense. I read her first because so much. some from his critical writing. there is always some point in insisting on the moral as presented the nearest striking instance.

Nervous stiffness and defensive irony were inevitable in an age when 'a complete severance between his poetry and all beliefs' could be imputed to him for righteousness. The later criticism exhibits rather a haughty humility 'The poem Gethsemane (by Kipling) which I do not think I understand . recounting the authentic process of a real poet.' . if that were seems to me. that Miss Bradbrook's handling of the : . It exhibits the reverse of hesitation and diffidence . K. I don't find these qualities in the Kipling introduction referred to by Miss Bradbrook. S. its qualities are intimately related to courage. If I do. its concentrated purity of interest. Mr Eliot's best criticism is remarkable for its directness. It he is no longer so closely engaged . is seems to me also that in Mr Eliot's critical writing from For Lancelot Andrewes onwards a limitation that is (on a pondered It . 'written poetry unless I was rather understand that sentence. . Observation leads me to believe that different poets may compose in very different ways my experience (for what it is worth) leads me to believe that Mr Housman . change isn't free from disingenuousness : Mr Eliot has apologized for the 'pontifical solemnity' of some of his early writings. And is what we have here (from The Use of Poetry and the Use of Criticism) 'haughty humility' ? Mr Housxiian has given us an account of his own experience in writing poetry which is important evidence. Chesterton) that gainsays the very purpose of criticism. it will be seen that Mr Eliot has withdrawn from his subjects all. but that only shows how superficial your reading is'.' Ah. I believe that I says. . and to have done so because of a radical uncertainty about his intention and its validity. the contrary. in fact. he out of health'. in that On too characteristic specimen of the later writing the critic seems to me to have misapplied his dangerous gift of subtle statement to the development of a manner (it is surprisingly suggestive in places of G. ELIOT 281 the introduction to the volume of Kipling's verse with the essay on Dryden. .APPROACHES TO T. To find the difference between the earlier and the later criticism in the disappearance or diminution of nervousness that is to me an extremely odd achievement. the implication being. its intense and rigorous concern to convey the essential perception and the bearing of this as realized by the critic. *I expect you think it's simple. *I have seldom'. it is a guarantee if any guarantee of that nature is wanted of the quality of Mr Housman's poetry.

convention. But it doesn't commit him to attempting any comprehensive evaluation or definitive placing. where shall we find one ?) a great critic I don't for a moment doubt. It is essential in a great postulated as perhaps the prime a qualification possessed pre-eminently by D. and the others. it is in spite of lacking a qualification that. relation guage. and so on of diction to the spoken lancannot be isolated from considerations of fundamental purpose. sketching the 'idea'. Lawrence. That is. . and quality of life. if one holds any serious view of the relation between literature and life. clearly. 'The important critic is he who is absorbed in the present problems of art. one can adduce the very special interest with which he approaches and the strictly limiting end he has in view one can adduce these. and wishes to bring the forces of the past to bear on the solution of those problems'.282 appraisal) to THE COMMON PURSUIT be predicated of his earlier work asserts itself as a weakness a weakness of a kind that might seem to be major as a great critic are in question. So that. is not to be accounted anything like as important in literary criticism as T. I must add. by way of countering one's protests that he over-rates Dryden. while deploring both the over-valuation of Dryden that he has certainly helped to establish as a fashion. Eliot a sure rightness in what. Donne and Marvell). Questions of technique versification. Mr Eliot's best criticism was a related in the closest of ways to his own problems as a poet : practitioner who has rejected current conventions and modes as inadequate to his needs and so is committed to a labour of thorough-going technical innovation. Marvell. Marlowe. must appear to be the most radical and important kind ofjudgment. one would have critic. Dryden. The attention that Mr Eliot's highly selective kind of interest (the definition just quoted is his own) directs upon Donne. entails value-judgments. one can hardly say where technical questions turn into questions that one wouldn't ordinarily call technical. Jonson. disqualifying where claims to status That the author of Selected Essays is (if not. essential ethos. S. But if he is. H. As Miss Bradbrook intimates. and the attendant slighting of the incomparably greater Pope (without an appreciation of whom there can't be any but the most incomplete perception of Mr Eliot's seventeenth century the seventeenth century ofJonson. though he.

When the critic's technical preoccupations cease to exercise a close direction over his criticism. had one been put on to them.APPROACHES TO T. when we come to the later criticism. I think. is what we have in Mr Eliot's treatment ofJacobean drama. one might have found a tip or two. What he did not. To have acted seriously on Mr and taken proper cognizance of faults. Archer's failing: that is. stricted approach. in inverted form. He supplied the equipment of ideas about drama. could have brought effective aid. is valuations. who. No doubt. admires more than I do his contribution in that field. has been to endorse the traditional valuations. to make everything convention. emptying the term of its force. though he insisted on the need to distinguish conventions from faults (see 'Four Elizabethan Dramatists'). in fact (in spite of his admirable asides on Beaumont and Fletcher). do. then. here and there. and it was Mr Eliot who brought it. however. gone on What seems to highly significant that he has that very unsatisfactory essay on Middleton. or can be more grateful for it. the instance where the limitation is most clearly seen to entail unfortunate consequences. the enlightenment about convention and verse. The very marked tendency of his work. where . he gives himself a great deal more to comprehensive and radical value-judgments. that made all the difference. was to attempt any radical revaluation of the Jacobeans. I myself sec it in the essay on Tourneur. To approach it one needs to have started reading the Jacobeans when the LambSwinburne tradition was unchallenged. But only a fine and powerful critical intelligence. and no better critical equipment for dealing with poetic drama was to hand than that which has its classical exponent in Bradley. no one else has had the courage or the per(It me ception to do. in scholarly sources. stimulated by him. informed with the insight got in dealing with its own creative problems. and it is then that we have to recognize a fundamental defect. No one. thus scholars the Eliot's tip. S. So that. ELIOT 283 But the major instance of the limiting approach.) reprinting he hasn't done. have undertaken to investigate conventions have tended to repeat. would have been to face the need for drastic revision of some consecrated an unfortunate consequence of the special reBut restricted approach and special interest are not the whole of the story this is what we are made to realize Here.

He exhibits a profound. " how loathsome human beings are " in reading Tourneur we can only think how horrible to loathe human beings so much as that" The phrase used here ofTourneur he makes what may think . in his criticism. tossed off as it was. provides the capital instance of Mr Eliot's defect as a great critic.) However that may be. And have to record the conviction that the reaction represented against the world of William Clissold (shall by Mr Eliot's critical writings is. whose ascription of importance as representative disintethe inventor of Basic English should gration-phenomenon. (Mr Eliot himself. and for who come to the criticism knowing only the fiction. '. in so far as they have any. as applied to Swift. perhaps surprising. of course. in After to place the matter above the level Strange Gods. promise for the future of English fiction in Lawrence DurrelTs believe that my : Black Book. an unquestionable fact the paragraph that finds recall. with Evil but surely Eliot's estimate of it will stand as one of the curiosities of literature ? Mr And to be able to refer favourably to Henry Miller when I try to some perversity of imagination has invented this I in detail. It precisely what I should have found fitting was D. Lawrence stood for life. of the wrong . and who was so quick to perceive. (That take a keen interest in the Work always seemed to me appropriate. for the most part. The I inspiration of these works. the signs of such is malady as Swift exhibits in that terribly extreme form. or find him so sympathetic. And it is Lawrence himself who. Then there is Djuna Barnes's Nightwood: it deals. in the most marginal way. seems to me to be the desire.) 'Against the living death of modern material civilization he spoke again and again. I myself think Lawrence sounder in judgment about the Joyce of Work in Progress than Mr Eliot. and shows. as subject. an extraordinarily quick and sure sense for the difference between that which makes for life and that which makes against those it. at any rate largely. and sure in placing. and even if these dead could speak.284 THE as COMMON PURSUIT : 'We is to me an astonishing reference to Swift " we read Swift. in Laurentian idiom. what he said is unanswerable'. concedes enough of mere difference of judgment. I am sure that so distinguished a mind as it to doesn't seem to imply importance Mr Eliot's ought not to have been able to take Wyndham Lewis so seriously. centrality. EL Lawrence who diagnosed Swift's case so well. to we say ?) 'do dirt' on life.

Yet in spite by pulls of this. to miss its force. Yet to talk in that way of an 'attack on Milton' ('purely destrucan inappreciation of tive*) that Milton has survived is to expose what Miss Bradbrook admits to be Mr Eliot's most vital criticism. effecting a profound change in the operative current idea of the English tradition. Thus she writes : claims makes her incapable of doing His purely destructive work has sometimes been the result of some temperamental aversion. and to deny the essence of that poetic achievement with which the criticism is so closely bound up. 'sensibility . and . been very much out and disturbances of various kinds.APPROACHES TO T. it seems to me. deflected literary criticism as a discipline than the work of any other French that I know). G. alters is from only generation to generation in everyone but expression . and that in this achievement his critical writings have played an indispensable part. Milton has survived the attack of Mr Eliot and the Battle of the Critics which it provoked. It is not only that he has re-orientated criticism and poetic practice. and I will go on to suggest that Lawrence's reaction against the same world (see his review in Phoenix of H. however. In general. but the critical attitude towards Milton that has to be deplored. For poetry is made impersonal style that stands up empty inside. it is because there of words words and rhythms. ELIOT 285 kind. It is also that the best of these writings represent more powerfully and incisively the idea of Mr Eliot's judgment has. For Miss Bradbrook. he remains a great critic. and in spite of the radical nature of the major weakness that has been indicated. critic in a special discipline of intelligence the language (or any in To this high distinction in criticism Miss Bradbrook's intentness on advancing unsustainable justice. I put it naively no doubt.) Landor always seemed to me strange. (Yet how strange that a taste for Landor should accompany a distaste for Milton. Wells and relate it to the Fantasia of the Unconscious) has much more of Tightness in it. I could exa minor snobbism one that was peculiarly unonly plain fortunate when it led to Landor's being adduced in illustration of impersonality. where contemporary letters have been concerned. . S. Lander's impersonality is that of the stiff suit of The taste for it as is nothing not the taste for Landor.

All the other essays are on the poetry. I have concentrated on Miss Bradbrook's essay because. They build on the antecedent work of criticism. of the practitioner's preoccupation with his problem of putting words together of inventing the ways of using words. I must confess. and think they have not had due recognition. it seemed to me. an impressive figure of some of his defenders). 129-30) it is anything more : is it poeme This kind of question is. even as in the poems Triumphal March and Difficulties many and die It is of a Statesman (1932) he anticipated the spirit of Nazi Gerspirit of Munich with prophetic accuracy. by his generous acknow' Brooks cally. Mr Cleanth Brooks and Mr Philip Wheelwright. Milton is indeed still there. in the criticism. while it offers a representative the reader Mr opportunity for underlining what. something that needed to be said on the criticism. and the versification. But it still remains to inquire whether the intention noted by Mr (see pp. The best of these are by the two American contributors. not asked by the contributors to the symposium. Eliot's destructive criticism has also anticipated the more general verdict. must be the significance and the moral. does become something operative poeti- realized in the . written nearly twenty years ago which has suffered more pillaging than acknowledging). I was interested Mr Brooks's by argument against my view that The Waste Land exhibits no progression' (and touched. that I feel obliged to say that this account of them seems to me nonsense or mere incense. and has since ceased to be. together with those by Miss Gardner and Mr Mankowitz. because I admire these poems so immensely. It was the informing presence everywhere. essential interests that gave his brief asides demanded by his on Milton their (in spite potency. in general. for has (so to speak) lived through the history of Eliot's reputation. ledgments to that pioneer book.286 THE COMMON PURSUIT altered by a man of genius'. And you make no real restitution by coming with this kind of offering : But in general. who there was still. but if you can't see what is meant by saying that he was a prepotent influence in taste and poetic practice until Mr Eliot's work had its effect. the rhythms. then you are not really appreciating Mr Eliot's genius or its achievement.

To be able to say that of it you must. do much more than I tried to do in my own account of The Waste Land commit oneself in clear and challenging terms to the necessary critical judgments. it denies the poet's genius and deprives his and beliefs. And the separation in the references to Family Reunion. I can see. at every level. The dangers are illustrated by that phrase 'death-in-life' and the part it plays in Mr Brooks's exposition. while. have missed something something essential. though I can also see dangers in it. inhibiting inert acquiescence. elucidation for criticism. They are apparent even in Miss Gardner's scrupulous commentary on the Four Quartets. and circumventing. what may be called cliche a are greatest. There is a clear to frustrate the enormous labour expended by the poet tendency in undercutting mere acceptance. I think. one can't. She can say. the cue having been given. 88) 'Mr Eliot means what is meant by any Christian'.APPROACHES TO And this is the point at which in the literary-academic T. : . poetical formulations of antecedently That is. in his sense : organization. And in general it is as if Mrs Duncan Jones were saying what Dr Rajan does actually say (p. tendency. At the risk of seeming poetry. life and its profound poetry of its astonishing (and disturbing) and validity. But Mrs Duncan Jones's commentary on Ash-Wednesday seems to me to do little but justify one's apprehensions about Anglo-Catholic elucidation. Starting with acceptance. ELIOT 287 to mention the general tendency world to-day to substitute. could for the right reader perform a useful function. to abet the reader's desire to arrive without having travelled. a function. S. it turns the poetry into something like illustrations of defined attitudes acceptances. and sensitive . Mr Brooks's kind of elucidation has. however. I am convinced. By the grateful follower of the exposition such a phrase is readily taken as doing more than of having grasped the 'meaning' of the he has grasped nothing but a phrase. for instance. for unequivocal aid. that is. egotistic I will say that. from criticism is apparent Miss Gardner's essay. and indicate the nature of the essential it does. of Salutation general interest it was first called). It is when the elucidatory approach is Anglo-Catholic (or made from the point of view of doctrinal acceptance) that the dangers . a poem I intensely admire: 'The second (as poem ends on a note of absolute assurance and content*.






Dr Rajan does not, one gathers, himself write as an AngloCatholic. In fact, he intimates that he could, given room, correct Eliot authoritatively about Krishna. And one suspects that

the qualification which enables him to do so may be attended with a disadvantage for after all, the Four Quartets are extremely subtle and difficult, and demand for their critical appreciation not only good analytic powers, but as complete an inwardness with the English language as any poetry that was ever written. However that may be, in his essay we have the extreme instance of the divorce of elucidation from criticism. This divorce is not the less apparent for his offering a good deal in the guise of critical and appreciative comment. It is mostly of this kind

The confidence of the poetry is superb. It disdains analogies. It will have nothing to do with snapshot imagery. The resonant pride of those polysyllables summons all fact to a defining judgment and then, as the sibilants slow its clash and recoil, the open vowels hush it to repose. Against that liberating assurance the verse speaks again melodious and
. .


Surely this kind of commentary himself when he says



placed by

Dr Rajan

Of the tremendous rhymed lyric of section four there is nothing I can
say which

would not be redundant. People to whom it is not immediately impressive are unlikely to be convinced by a description of

its subtleties.

as tests

he does offer comments of a kind that can be checked of sensibility they are usually of this kind



'fiery rain' which falls here falls also on burning London. Here Eliot, fire-watcher and wanderer in Hades, meets his 'familiar

which will provide the backbone for one hundred and which as far as present knowledge can tell is Dante, Mallarme, and Arnaut Daniel together. The ghost promises Mr Eliot a suitably grisly future, but all that he can say, however




terrible, is

turned into sweetness by Eliot's terza rima.


This passage in terza rima is the one aboutwhich D. Little Gidding in Scrutiny, XI, 3) says

W. Harding

The verse in this passage, with its regular measure and insistent alliter-






ation, so effective for combining the macabre with the urbane and the is a way to indicate and a way to control pressure of urgent

misery and


The motive power of




that it is not just a case another. against response corroborates his account very forcibly, and it is a response that is contradicted ' violently by the description sweet'. I can only say that Dr Rajan's

quote Harding by

way of emphasizing

of one judgment
account seems to


to betray a striking defect of sensibility. And can't help associating that defect with the failure in tone and touch (characteristic, I think) represented by such phrases in the




'The ghost promises


Eliot a suitably grisly

Further, I do not think that Dr Rajan could have permitted himself the indulgence of that easy superiority about one hundred


American theses' (two of the best contributions to his symposium by Americans) if he had been really responding to the quality of what was in front of him it is the passage in which (in


futility, Harding's words) 'the humanist's ghost sees in his life and guut on account of his self-assertive prowess', and one would have thought it, for the reader exposed to it, destructive
. .

of all easy complacencies




the laceration

Of laughter
And last,


ceases to amuse.

the rending pain of re-enactment

Of all that you have done, and been the shame Of motives late revealed, and the awareness

Of things ill done and done to
Which once you took for


of virtue.


Then fools' approval stings, and honour stains. From wrong to wrong the exasperated spirit Proceeds, unless restored by that refining fire Where you must move in measure, like a dancer.
Almost always where Dr Rajan commits himself to judgments which can be challenged he seems to me to confirm the suspected defect of sensibility. His tide is The Unity of the Quartets, but I cannot see that





he adds anything to the extant accounts of the organization of that work. When, for instance, he says, 'What his scheme is I should hesitate to specify, beyond suggesting that Burnt Norton is concerned with constructing concepts' we can see that this is D. W. Harding's 'creation of concepts'. But Dr^Rajan, as he indeed intimates, does nothing to extend Harding's account, or to explain the borrowed phrase, or to justify in any way the (unof exacknowledged) borrowing. His presumptive intention doesn't sufficiently control his commentary, plaining organization as the large proportion of this which is devoted to a kind of
Sitwellian quasi-creative pseudo-analysis betrays. And too often, in the guise of analytic guidance, we have such passages as this :

The words in Little Gidding are points of intersection. They join, in the tolerance of a convening insight, the worlds which in common exus back to perience are divided and distinguished. Always they bring
is known, but it is the familiar made different by exploration, the 'intimate yet identifiable', the everyday alchemized into abiding


Does this kind of gloss add anything to anyone's understanding or appreciation of the text ? It is true that Dr Rajan goes on to say:
It is



to do justice to Little Gidding.

You have to do the

impossible, to say four things at once


cessively you end up by saying something

if you try to say different.

The moral

is that you should be very clear with yourself as to what function you are undertaking to perform. It will precisely an aim which would most likely hardly be that of doing justice result in the commentator's producing (as Miss Bradbrook puts it) a 'debilitating rehash of what his author may be supposed to

mean" '. What can reasonably be undertaken is to point out the nature of the organization, and that task, it should be recognized,
But it cannot be an analyst with a good sensisatisfactorily performed except by it demands a critic, bility. That is, capable of first-hand response


one for a

disciplined effort



and independent judgment. It must be said that Miss Anne Ridler, in her chosen mode of commentary, shows herself very much at home. She gives as her







*A Question of Speech

English poet. 'For myself,

and approaches it as herself an should say, it was Eliot who first

made me

dead poets, notably

of becoming a poet Auden (with, of course, Sir Thomas Wyatt) who first made me saw how to become one*. She discusses (among other the relation between poetry and music, and thinks

the differences
fact that

more suggestive than the similarities. The elementary a poetry has no sustained notes is big one duration in time* is


themes in the

therefore quite a different thing for her, and she cannot mingle her way that music does. To compensate for her inability to

keep several voices

at once, she has

and association:

this is the 'Invisible

her hidden dimension of memory Knight' that is her constant

Miss Ridler doesn't, however, try to give force to these observations (or any others she makes) by any detailed analysis of poems or passages. Of Mr Eliot she remarks that *As



he has kept

his preferences his

and gives

as illustration


while shedding his prejudices', one concerns Milton) the (among The Function of Criticism and early essay,
, 9






a Classic?

A classic


what, of



should hand, I couldn't disagree when I heard the less 'acid* performance described as being more like an exercise in tight-rope-walking than a feat of critical thinking. But Miss Ridler has a poise of her own

myself call

The Function of Criticism

on the other


impressive I suspect it to be very much and I think: I suggest the interest and significance an Oxford way, of her essay rightly when I recommend it for study as an Oxford see what part it has in a book planned product. I can't, however,



own way




the claim) 'in such a

way as


make the consecutive study

of the poems

Mr Mankowitz

does a close analysis of that very fine early

I read with some marked poem, Gerontion. But the contribution was Philip Wheelwright's on Eliot's Philoand stimulus pleasure

sophical Themes,

it will be noted, doesn't offer a point-byof any poem, and won't, I think, be among the point elucidation aids most resorted to. It will be gathered, then, that I shouldn't like to think of



book's being accepted


very well


be) as a standard





introduction and guide-book to Eliot. It contains some respectable things, but it seems to me calculated in sum to promote, not the

impact of Eliot's genius a disturbing force and therefore capable of ministering to life but his establishment as a safe academic

1930, in the

shadow of, but not too

close to,

the IN Poems

Mr J. Alfred Prufrock,

of Mr W. H. Auden first appeared. Mr T. S. Eliot's Waste Land had prepared the way by showing out the Georgians as

gracefully but as finally as his

Bloomsbury lady pours out


a recurrent embarrassment facing anyone who is concerned for the contemporary function of criticism the call for




and judgments comes endlessly, and certain have unavoidably to be said again and again, or there is no things point in offering to deal with the contemporary scene yet there is a limit to profitable reiteration, and is this (comes the question)
certain observations

once more an occasion

that, after so

much abstinence, must not be

ignored ? The passage quoted above opens a full-page review in the Times Literary Supplement (Oct. 23, 1948) of W. H. Auden' s

The Age of Anxiety, and the review does seem an occasion that one must take. The effect of die passage is not, as might have been supposed, an
unfortunate accident of expression. The critic himself doesn't actually say, as die acclaimers of that Poetic Renaissance in which

played the leading part did, that Auden superseded but his commentary may fairly be said to be in resonance Eliot, with that view. That is, if we are to grant that what he offers is
Eliot that serious criticism, then die fashionable relegation of marked die advancing nineteen-thirties was critically respectable : of one it was die supersession, as die reigning power in poetry,
creative genius

Mr Auden





understood better

how to satisfy

1 the needs of the time.


a matter

of fact,

we are left in doubt whether the critic con-

major poet: he speaks of his 'grey unand his 'gende and exquisite language'. language' However, it is hardly worth while to pursue the evaluative
Eliot a really


ventional taste that had continued to

how, at senior levels, conwas able to leave him behind and achieve a superior advancedness by acclaiming Modern Poetry in AudenIt



interesting to observe in the universities


He was no doubt 'selfsearching just as a thousand public-school boys going up to the is ' . seriously are told. It was pbilds aphy undigested but tafcen from the same events as those recorded in the daily newspoetry its attitude as unpedantic. . For ness in reading the signs of the weather a hundred times greater measure he threwinto his verse. Its range was as sensational. Mr Auden's honesty there that no need to question . attractions to offer. Of this poetry '. There it was. But to talk of his being correct' and 'dear-sighted' in 'diagnosis' is about as absurd ' a misuse of words that madfc s as can be imagined. rusty machinery. the names of Freud and good Rilke. offering an intellectual and psychological profundity that didn't any painful effort or discipline. and assuring modish Leftishness they could hold up their heads in guaranteed rightness for the play with Depressed Areas. PURSUIT need phrases. we are told that it was it 'politically honest and self- 'could shame a generation into political awaresearching ness. . . and his poetry stilled any uncomfortable suspicion chat there might be something better (if less comforting) to ask for. like toys. Mr Auden's poetry. They asked fin nothing better. No wonder took mo re kindly to him than to Mr Eliot. . We him make him not we was illuminated by a poet's intuition. who had no such they them dm challenge them to in wearing a a. It was not clear-sightedness him an irresistible influence. it may perhaps be said to manifest itself in the opeon*ess with which his poetry admits that it doesn't know how serious it supposes itself to be. flatteringly modern and sophisticated. and the bourgeois Dance of Death had essenti ally not the function of destroying complacency. university in those days were 'self-searching'. he made poetry out of dance lyrics.294 THE COMMON do no more implications of these astonishing than contemplate the way in which the critic gives as grounds for characteristics that treating Itr Auden as a great poet the very so decidedly not one and make something co be compared with Mr Eliot. a personal guilt' and that it 'diagnosed the causes of the struggle correctly and clear-sightedly'. The 'political awareness' and the personal guilt' into which he 'shamed a generation' were of a kxnl that it cost them very little to be shamed into. its acutepapers. le made the Mother-symbol smart.

It Auden's last book a failure ('his one dull book. he will not readily find help towards remedying the lack when he enters the larger literary world. expected their better undergraduates It is the more disconcerting in that one can't avoid the suspicion (the signs are strong) that in this criticism we have a voice from the university and not. has also quite failed to stir up either intellect or . . is over. besides doing practically nothing to help artists and writers (unless die can be interpreted as closing down of magazines during the fuel crisis .THE PROGRESS OF POESY 295 The conditions that account for the arrest of Mr Auden's remarkable talent at the stage of undergraduate 'brilliance' are not. his one judges to transcend. their war-weariness. we are disconcertingly reminded. once so promising. a junior one. but this failure and we get no hint of any perceived relation between the earlier career that the reviewer has de- scribed. 1947) that had been lying by some months among the 'documents' and signs of the times. gradually declining after D-day and soon after the victorious general election despondently fizzing out. looking through these old Horizons. an aid to incubation). The fact remains that a Socialist Government. If Mr Auden's successor doesn't become acquainted with serious and die standards of maturity at the university. It would be too to attribute this to the policy of the editors. less potent now than they * were. This change is expressed in our belief that the honeymoon between literature and action. not so long ago. of course. easy ana advancing years. Mr failure'). a left-wing and sometimes revolutionary political attitude among writers. In an editorial 'Comment' we read criticism : into In order to prepare an edition of essays from Horizon for translation German it was necessary last week to run through all ninety-odd . One is also conscious of a change of policy which would appear to be justified. We can see. numbers many of the fireworks in earlier numbers which achieved immediate popularity are now inclined to appear superficial and shoddy. heritage of Guernica and Munich. Our critic says that Mr Auden was the Oxford intellectual with a bag of poetic squibs in his pocket'. The Times Literary Supplement critic's way of seeing in Mr Auden's bright topicality the major poet's kind of authority called to mind a number of Horizon (July. without seeming to realize that he was the undergraduate intellectual permanently undergraduate and representing an immaturity that the ancient universities. boiling up to a certain aggressive optimism in the war years.

poem by Miss Sitwell. is wholeheartedly dedicated to diem. but to find time to be of immense help to others. either to the mad and lonely.' Sunday Times. we must look elsewhere. S. with an established that would have seemed incredible if foretold ten acceptance years 50 (there are now Yeats being dead Edith Sitwell and T. or to those who have with a certain angry obstinacy ment of the meticulously cultivated their garden. enthusiastically greeted.296 imagination . for during the darkest years of the war they managed not only to produce their best work and to grow enormously in stature. we have an idea of the function of an intellectual literary organ corresponding to the Times Literary Supplement writer's idea of the poet. conflict is treated with bis engaging is a great poet. contemporary If a serious attempt should be made to assert a different (and traditional) idea of die function of criticism in a world in which Horizon's idea of it reigns. 1948. and in 1 which the intransigence of the 'Next week Sir Osbert and Miss Edith Sitwell begin a lecture tour in America described as *a lecture-manager's tragedy* on account of its briefness compared with the thirst of the American public to Lear and see these two " irly English geniuses. November 7. and among much else a magnificent anti-atomic protest) and a new fragment of Sir Osbert*s auto- biography in which the Father-Son aigre-douceur de vivre. and so this number. . The consequences for criticism of Horizon s idea of its own function are manifested on a large scale in the later ' pages of the same number. Eliot) and Sir Osbert's autobiography is a glory of Dr Edith Sitwell. Among these the Sitwells shine out. at the risk of the inevitable accusations that It includes a new we support a literary clique. an essay on her later poetry by Sir Kenneth Clark which mentions her most recent work. then. The nature of the acuteness in reading the signs of the weather' lauded in both cases is obvious. Further on in the read: 'Comment' we In the light of the comparative failure of the 'progressive* movelast few years to rise above intelligent political journalism into the realms of literature. 1 English literature. is further away Here. THE COMMON PURSUIT dawn we have so the English renaissance. in these guileless reflections and avowals. whose false than ever. Many poets and writers were consoled by their encouragement as well as by their intransigent example. The Shadow of Cain (published by John Lehmann.

Among the many names receiving distinguished mention is that of the Here we Warden of Wadham Like David Cecil. having dismissed the book in its original limited issue as the darling of a coterie. deeply rooted in and nourished by the civilization of ancient Greece. editor of the literary monthly Horizon. so much about resources use them with such respect. intelligent discussion at all events. has provoked Its livelier or more among the critically-minded. have the approach.000 copies of two ordinary editions sold out on publication. R. as Connolly know . By that time 'Palinurus* had been identified as Cyril Connolly. it can now be added. It is as unusual as it is welcome to find a professional is Bowra artist. and leader of the intellectual avant-garde. The Warden of Wadham. has just applied . His criticism is essentially humanistic. and with his books as classical scholar thusiasm on subjects competent to write with authority as well as enas various as the European epic and contemporary European poetry. but no quoting can suggest the completeness and consistency with which the job is done. : above all concerned with the writer as works of art. 'whose methodical and uncompromising destruction of reputations periodically enlivens the pages of the hypercritical but bracing It magazine Scrutiny? hypercritical to suggest (though Americans and foreigners in the present writer's hearing have said it) that nothing could be worse for the prestige and influence of would of course be Mr Hayward's presentment of the of Metropolitan literary society and the associated currency-values University milieux as the distinctions and achievements of conBritish Letters abroad than temporary England.THE PROGRESS OF POESY : 297 Sitwells avails to such exemplary effect. doubtless. were to see 20. Few contemporary writers care its so much about language . published for the British Council. then it will appear as it does to the writer of another document that lies to hand Mr John Hayward. No work of the period. Leavis). of its detractors. who. merits and faults have been widely debated to the dismay. he refers in a passing mention to the 'minority group' of critics (led apparently by the 'cold intellectual'. Dr F. In Prose Literature since 1939.

Mr Hayward's survey ends on this note of uplift : The integrity of the individual writer can best be defended from all the forces currently arrayed against it. offensively highbrow: however intransigent. he promotes cosiness. such an attitude must be preserved if. like the cold kind. out of disintegration.298 THE COMMON PURSUIT and percipience to an extended appreciation of the poetry of Edith Sitwell (Edith Sitwell. a scheme of values is to arise and out of disillusionment a dynamic faith in the power of the printed word to express the finest operations of human thought and sensibility. We may rely on the Sitwells to tell us who the philistine we on Horizon and is. by an attitude of absolute intransigence towards the philistine and all his works. Can 1 rely majority array of warm British intellectuals (backed by the British Council) to foster uncompromisingly the necessary attitude of absolute intransigence ? 1 Mr Hayward's The warm intellectual is not. 1948 . Not only in the immediate post-war era but during die years of man's painful spiritual recovery which lie ahead. Lyrebird his classical scholar's ripeness Press).

216-219 Traversi). 130. 225. The.INDEX ABBOTT. 255. 284 Basic English. Eliot). 242 The (Henry James). Djuna. S. 84. 223-232 Anderson. 55. use of term.235 Beljame. 92-93. 186-188. 226. 177-179 Novel (E. 175-176 The (Sir Philip Sidney). *52~ 159. 293 of the Baltic. Bradbrook. Quentin. Eliot). 287 the Aspects of 216. 60 Abercrombie. Swift). 252. 74-75 126 Arnold. William. 136-140. 263.. 230-231 Addison. A. Mark. 192 Austen. 297 Stall). 29. Behn. 166. 38 Books and Characters (LyttonStrachey). 203. 42 All for Love (John Dryden). Joseph. 59. 246 226 American. 244 Anglo-Catholics. 5<5. A. 2517 291. 276. 192 'Aesthetic'. Shakespeare. 204. anity (Jonathan Swift). 174. Mrs Aphra. Beaumont and Fletcher.143-147. R. After Strange 235. The (W. 38 Augustans. 197 Antony and Cleopatra. Arnold. 81. 132 Approach Arcadia. Art and in Shakespeare (E. The. 45. The (Jonathan Dead. n. 55. PROFESSOR CLAUDE COLUBER. 284 Blake. 67-68. 261-262 Abinger Harvest (E. W. 238 Barnes. 115. M. 278. 293 Bodkin. 246. M. 177-179. C. to 48-49 Black Book. 155. 224- Baudelaire.63. Jeremy. 235. The (Henry James). 278-290 Bradley. 51. 191 Altar of the Campbell). 242. 51. 69. 70. Lascelles. Maud. 72 37. 245. The* (Thomas Akenside. 284 BABBIT. 87. 293-295 Auden. 98-101. 259 Bible. 276 58-65. 115-116 E. 229 Anderson. 198 Bennett. C M. Charles. Alexandre. 179 Bostonians. 240. 89 Gods (T. M. 284 'Battle Age of Anxiety. 263 156. An (D. 97-H5.. Matthew. Christi- Bloomsbury. Forster). M. British Council. IRVING. 278. The (Henry James). 185-186. 287-288 Bentham. Bridges. 231 Boswell. 297-298 . 4749. 54. Hopkins). The (Henry James). 201. 283 Argument Against Abolishing Aristotle. Forster). 38. 31* 44-45. William. 44-4<5. 90. HL Auden). 79 230 Ambassadors. i34-*35. 60 Battle of the Books. 238. The (Lawrence DurreD). 95. C. 192. Artifice Bowra. Anna Karenina (Leo Tolstoy). 87. Ash-Wednesday (T. 40 Archer. Robert. 158 S. Jane. 207 'Binsey Poplars' (G. Sherwood. James. 283 The (Henry James). 276 Awkward Age. 257.

70 Communist Manifesto. B. Robert. 29. 121-122. Dies Carew. 64. 218 Economic Consequences of the Peace. 286 Digression concerning the Use of ness in a Mad- Commonwealth (Jonathan (W. Richard. . 160 Chambers. 45. The. Geoffrey. 234 Courthope. 42 Dryden. Churton. 21. S. 171 Chaucer.. 204-210 Burney. John. 5455. 51 Bunyan. John. Lord David. 278 Cambridge Review. Keynes). 31. 185. 42. Sir Kenneth. 296 Coleridge. Dictionary of the English Language. 135 Eliot. 199. Ivy. S. 286-287 Browning. Court of. 203 Chesterton. John. 281 Christianity. Samuel Taylor. T. Charles Montagu. 9-32. 255-260. 131 Irae. 93. CALVINISTS. 249 Comus. 297 Celestial Omnibus. 36 Congreve. 48. 198 Scotus. The.300 THE COMMON <$4. (Henry 229 Daniel. 165. 156. 249. 34. 137139. 49. 206 Cambridge. 251 Communism. 1 PURSUIT Brooks. 188. Baron. 278 Cambridge English Faculty. William. 42. 60 Crabbe. 51. 38. First Corvo. Eliot). no Connolly. 38. 72. M. 125. 41. 260 Edda and Saga (Dame Bertha Phillpotts). K. The (E. 251 Dunciad. 43. 52 Criterion. 59. 67 Eliot.. 166-168. Doughty. 82. 45. 90 Clark. G. Thomas. Duns S. 83. 60 Dante 288 Alighieri. 38. 171. Thomas. 279 Campbell. 160. 288 James). in ' Certain Noble Plays ofjapan' Yeats). 80. 59. Cleanth. W. 89 Dixon. George. 113. 191. Sir Edmund.266 Cenci y The. 185 DAISY MILLER. 197 The (George Meredith). 254 Cymbeline. 194. Eliot). 38-39 Cecil. 29. The.. 71 Drummond of Hawthornden. The (J. 38. 14. 163. no. 201. 188-192.. Arnaut. A' (Jonathan Swift). 88-96. 195-197. 101 'Burnt Norton* (T. 37-38. 204 Compton-Burnctt. Lord. M. 194 III. Alex. 113 'City Shower. The Hopkins). 34. Swift). Fanny. Forster). 185 Collins. 261-263. 115 Crashaw. R. M. Lawrence. 284 Comfort. Canon Richard Watson. 263 Dixon. 42. Ronald. 40. Joseph. 52 Collins. 67. 61. William John. 55. 152-155. Cyril. Chambers. 248-254 72 Donne. Edward Egoist. 279-282 Duncan. 74 Durrell. i73-*79 290 Byron. 282 33. see Johnson's Dictionary A. 198 Cowper. S. George. The Fourth Book of the. 203 'Bugler's (G. Communion. A. 104. 104. William. 158. 71 'Difficulties of a Statesman' (T. 263 Correspondence of Gerard Manley Hopkins and Canon Richard Watson ' EARTH'S ANSWER* (William Blake). William. 297 Conrad. 50. 61-62. 190.

M. 124. 13 Fletcher. M. 57. T.86 FAERIE QUEEN E..INDEX 50. 112 Gray and Collins (Oxford University Press). M. 41. 164. Sir Herbert. 288- Finnegans Wake (James Joyce). George. 184. 301 S. 151. 190-191 English Literature and Society in the Galsworthy. 54 Golden Bowl. Thomas. Trevelyan). 53-54 Halifax. 278-281 Forster. 235. 128 'Henry Purcell' (G. 113 'Essay on Man'. 42. 248-254 Grierson. Eliot). David. 104. The ('Note on Belief. 71 Herbert. John. 'Function of Criticism. Oliver. 199-200 Enemy. Eliot in). 113 E. Sigmund. M. 53. 233 XVIlIth Century 198 English Novelists (Leslie Stephen). D. 251- 291 254. 249.64 Hawkins. 236 English Social History (G. (G. 249 Hayward. 52 58. John. 11. A. 84. Cunninghame. S. 177. D. E. Freud. 105-107. 240-247. 258 Europeans. 80. 191 Lawrence). Marquess of. 163. The. Eliot). S. 231 Graham. 251 Hazlitt. Miss H. Eric. 142 GAY. 255 Garrick. Trevelyan). 216. Thomas. 278-294. 294 . George. David. 217 Heath-Stubbs. 297-298 William. Hopkins). Eliot). John... 78. 50 by England in the Age of Wycliffe (G. Fourier. Eliot). 233-239. 132-134. The' (T. 291 Gibbon. 40 For Lancelot Andrewes (T. 40 Family Reunion (T. 205-206 Gill. 203 Harding. 73 Elizabethan Theatre. 183. 74. 224. 73. Leavis). 106 Every. 17 Gray. 13. L. 203 England under the Stuarts (G. 112 velyan). THE. David. S. S. 245 Fiction and the Reading Public (Q. 75. 293 'Gethsemane* (Rudyard Kipling). 160 'Hear tie Voice of the Bard' (William Blake). 287289 Free Man's Worship. 128. Bro. 261-277 'Four Elizabethan Dramatists' (T. 201. 42 Gullivers Travels. The (Henry James). 281 'Gerontion' (T. H. 283 290 Hardy. S. 296 Elizabethans. Eliot). 249. M. 44-4-6. 85. 233 English Review. S. 'HABIT OF PERFECTION. Charles. The (Henry James). 201-203 Epic. T. 237 'Harry Ploughman* (G. 230 Four Quartets (T. Eliot). Desmond. W. JOHN. 51. 101. M. Tre- 224-230 Goldsmith. 26 'Epistle to Arbuthnot*. 117 Gascoyne. THE' 287 Fantasia of the Unconscious (D. 249-251 Georgians. 33. 177. Hopkins).. English Folk-Songs from the Southern Appalachians (Cecil Sharp). Edward. 286-287 Garnett. The. (edited by Derek Verschoyle). 224. 198 Hamlet. M. 51. 263 Gardner. 201 M. Hopkins). Hopkins). John. 237 Grand Style. 'God's Grandeur' (G.

Professor W. 284 ' 42. 285 Lawrence. 34. 43 Kenyon Review.38. 295-298 Housman. Professor Wilson. KT ' >)> 2* 8 . Jonson. 97 $ j^^ Wyndham. 42-44.36. 240247. ill. Courthope). William.. 185. 251. Sidney. 288 Swift). 3I 'Introduction to Songs of Experience' 262-263. * Lawrence) 237 Irene V (Samuel Johnson).. fawrence. 282. The 229 (F. KEATS. 117 LeW i s> Professor C. C. 238. 53. 255-260 Kipling. 240-247. History of English Poetry. 117 Hopkins. 233 Hyperion. Henry. 125. 13 3 Johnson's Dictionary. 182. H. 280 Indian Philosophy. 106 In Memoriam.. 249 Keynes. S. l66 I<5 7 I<59 i?o. L t . 279 . 86 'Intimations tke' 34"35 28 3 }>> Landor. ? T ^ Knights. Day. .302 THE COMMON A (W. 56. 264. Children had Lady MacC.. A. Mrs Duncan. Ode on 2 33-239. . 242. Gerard Manley. 255-260. 195 Aimard). 282 Joyce. 104 Jones. 198 Hogarth. 16. Walter Savage. 192 to Instructions Servants (Jonathan Krishna. J. R. 263-264 James. 86. Professor L.H2. 284 Liberalism. 13! <fl Penseroso' ' 35 Imagism.152 H. Robert. 222 Industrial Revolution. 197. 38. 142. 204 John Bunyan: Mechanick {Preacher (William York Tindall). 287 4-0. 240 Life and Letters (Desmond Mac- Carthy). The ( G P kins ) 58. Forster). Matthiessen). 17 . Ben. C. 297 Lesson of the Master. Henry. 196 How Many beth ? (L. "7 'J^s es G ( - M - Hopkins). James. 51. 129. 28. ' 1 es > of Immortality. 29. H. HENRJtK.F. 127. 34. 297 Huxley. 272 46.. 223-232. 182. 255. 99 Homage to John Dryden (T.28. 52. 185 Lewis.2 5 i.42. 64 Leavis. Aldous. 284 Lawrence D. 129. Senior. 192 Les Trappeurs de /''Arkansas (Gustave John Bunyan: Maker of Myths (Jack Lindsay). 216-217 Introduction to these Paintings (D. 281 Knight. S. 130. 198. John Maynard. John. 105. 160-161 Humanism. William. 57 Howards End (E. 224 James. 42 Keyes. 166. 223-224 Ker. 194. Eliot). 44-?2.R. 281 97-121. 63. 176 Levet. D. 204 John of Gaunt. The. A LL 1 Lam ^RO Char . 72. P. 279 Home. 17 28.. 'Impromptu* (Thomas Gray). M. Leaden Echo and The Golden Echo. J. James. 242 Horizon. Rudyard. JOHN. The (Henry MH James) 23 1 . 38. Knights). O.* JACOBEANS. 200 I<5 160-164. 117-119 . 268-270. PURSUIT Dr Samuel. ( A Personal Record (William Blake). IBSEN. 283 James Family. Johnson. 77. Sir Roger. 38 L'Estrange. 78. 38.

*92 > 2 4i 2 9 2 59 276 Massinger. 182 Longest Journey. Eliot). John Stuart. Norman. in Chains. 197. 42. 286 Murder in the Mans Unconquerable Mind (R. 182-185. S. no Cathedral (T. G. 288 Mankowitz. 252-253. Munich. 204 Marxism. Lawrence). 198 Meredith. 195. 249 Morality Plays. 166 Mencken. B. 249. 283 Milford. Henry. 264 Marvell. The (Cecil Day A (Jonathan Swift). 275-276 Mysticism and Logic (Bertrand Russell). 40. 291 Mourning Bride. The (E. 18 252. W. Andrew. Eliot). 157. L. 279 Macaulay. 208-210 and Pulpit in Mediaeval Middleton. C. 218. 101. F. The. 60 England (G.. 74. Owst). 194 Murry. Henry. 207 'ODE TO AUTUMN'. Middleton. Rose. 46 'Ode to a Nightingale*. 63. 60 'Lycidas*.. 263. 123-126 Maidand. 280 Matthiessen. 198 Napoleon. 191. 39. O. John. 256-258 Moore. P. 99-100 Cambridge Shakespeare. 160 New England. 128 Marlowe. 93. Frederic William. Thomas. 234-235 Mornings in Mexico (D. 179 'Mont Blanc* 221 (P. DESMOND. 286. 286 Negro Measure for Measure. Humphrey. 234-235 Nicholson. 229 Maulc's Curse (Yvor Winters). 166 'Marina* (T. R.. 245 MACCARTHY. 203 New Mediaeval Latin Verse. 182 Modest Proposal. Forster). S. 63. 167 More. 252 Nietzsche. The (William Congreve). Henry Lewis. 112. 201 Miller. 284 Notebooks of Henry James. l6o. 242 Myers. 131 Men of Letters and the English Public in the XVIIIth century (Akxandre Beljame). Sir Mill. 291 114 'Locksley Mind Hall sixty years after* (Tennyson). Lewis). 28. 200 Middle Ages. S. 220 .117 London School of Economics. Chambers). 261. 201. H. Keynes). 31 Moore. 284 Milton.. E. 242. 255-260 New New New Republic. The (Henry James). George. 203. 157 Testament. Nightwood (Djuna Barnes). 260 Mallarme. E. Philip. 33. M..INDEX Literature 303 Lindsay. 121. 113 Lyrical Ballads. 153. 153 Nazism. The. 285286. Jack. 288-290 Lives of the Poets (Samuel Johnson). Eliot). Karl. 205 Statesman and Nation.77 Montaigne. 230 264 Metaphysical School. Shelley). H. 42. 207 'Little Gidding* (T. 263 Macbeth. 17. M. Professor Gilbert. 205. 39 'Ode to the West Wind'. W. 197 'London* (Samuel Johnson). 282 Marx. 203 NATURAUSM. 71 Memoirs (J. 220- 264-268 'Loss of the Royal George*. The. Christopher. 278 Murray. 78. St^phane. 16. Slavery. 4*. 38. The. 204. 282 Marriages. 160-172 in.

196 Ranters. Robert Bridges). The (Henry James). Poetical Sketches George Every). 248-249 Poets ofthe IXth Century (A. 52. ioo. 68 Promos and Cassandra (George stone). 297 Prujrock. 244 Piccarda de Donati.192. 84. Dr B. 295 Oxford Book of XVIIIth Century Verse. 116 Oxford Book of English Verse. 48 Pericles. 191.304 THE COMMON Pope PURSUIT (Leslie Old Drama and the New. 32. Alexander. Owst. 72 Preface to Notes on The Poems of Portrait of a Lady. 99. 203 Psycho-analysis. US. WhetHay- 272-273. Miles). 15. 85 'Prolusions' (John Milton). 277 Dos. B. 233 Quiller-Couch. 128. of Gerard RACINE. 293 Puritanism. 61. 57 86 Read. To' (G. 127 On Writing and Writers (Sir Walter Raleigh). Peter. The (Aristode). 62 Preface to Shakespeare (Samuel John- son). Lawrence). The. 246 Othello. 177 Phillpotts. to India. Sir Arthur. 177 Pope. 73. 188. 113 Poems 62 Manley Hopkins (edited by Robert Bridges). 219. Eugene. 211-222 Dame Bertha. A Paleface (Wyndham Lewis). 210 ward). Principles no 221 'PALACE ART. 109.. Sir Walter.263 Pound. 251 Reformation. The. 88-96. 17 Practical Criticism (I. 293 Poetics. THE' Lord Tennyson). 38. 230-231. 74. 91 'Other Kingdom* 263 (E. 255-256* 82 Polite Conversation (Jonathan Swift). Forster). The. S. 287-290 Raleigh. 241 Preface to The Poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins (ed. 207 . 121 Pilgrims Progress. 131. The. 127 Rajan. S. 194 Phoenix (D. Eliot).282 lish Men of Letters' Stephen) in 'The Engseries. 108. 205. The Love Song of J. M. 206* 207. Herbert. Portrait of a n Gerard Manley Hopkins (ed. Philosophy. 104. 278-280. A (E. A. Rationalism. Richards). 177 O'Neill. 19. 189. 169 37. 100. The. 134-135 The Project for Advancement of Religion. Walter. 192 Poetic Renaissance. 'R. Gerald. 207 Oxford. The (William Archer). Eliot). 39. Hopkins). 204 QUAKERS. 175. 249. 233 Prose Literature since Jtpjp (John Pater. 35 Prometheus the Firegiver (Robert Bridges). (Jonathan Swift). 153 Passage Passos. Prelude.. Ezra. 126 Poetry and Personal Responsibility (Bro. 136-159. The. Forster). H. Prince of Tyre. 34 Oxford Standard Texts. 233. (L A. Robert Bridges). 29 OF (Alfred of Literary Criticism. H. 34 Paradise Lost. 243-244 Palgrave. M. 115 (William Blake). 206 'Rape of the Lock.206 Quennell.113*117. 116. Cambridge. 196 Original Sin. 13. M. 113 Oxford Book ofXVIIth Century Verse. 117 Lady (T. Alfred (T. 104. 17. 97. The'. 20. Richards). Francis Turner. 1x3 Rasselas (Samuel Johnson).

195-199 Science and the Modem World (A. (E. 46. A. Sir Osbert. B. 261-264 Root and the Flower. 1 1 1. 55 Selected Essays (T. 195-203 Sitwells. 282 Hopkins). Edith. 223. 250 Sprung Rhythm. 62 'Spring and Fall' (G. 93. 47-49. 156. 22. Myers). 242 Sons and Lovers (D. 14 Sitwell Edith (C. Leslie. E. 3 8. 123. Schucking). 260 Stephenson. 117-118. 46. 234 'Short Song of Congratulation. 6% Russell. 208. 165. 67 Spenser. S. 40. Krutch). 235 Shelley. N. 29. Dr I. Eliot). Rossetti. 12. 45. Dorothy. 173-176. 158. Samson Agonistes.. S. Cottage. Hilary. 97. 142-149. Eliot). The (Edith 296 Strachey. 'Spelt from Sybil's Leaves' (G. Henry. S. 195 Santayana. The. Fr. 164. 38. The (Robert Bridges). M. 179 Shakespearean Tragedy (A. Eliot). 211. 236 Shakespeare and the Stoicism of Seneca (T. 30. 191. 92. 151 Seneca. Shadow of Cain. Spirit 'Scholar-Gypsy. 128. M. 290-291 Rise of the Greek Epic. 43. 44. 216. L. L. William. 29. see Halifax. Isaac. H. A* (Samuel Johnson).. 103. 73-74 Rock The (T. Forster). 238 Richards. The. 101. 216 Romeo and Juliet. 276 . 296-297 Smith. A. 277 Rosenberg. 199. 156 ShelburneEssaySyThe (P. 104. More). 824 305 Shakespeare. Samuel. 16.' 29. 107 Ridler. 1 12. 29. Bradley. 100. Percy Bysshe. 97115. The (Professor Gilbert Murray). Dom Stoicism. 62 M. 240. 136-140. 159 Sitwell). 200. Lawrence). 179. Edmund. 117 Sidgwick. 42. George Bernard. 128. 183. R. 23 Samuel Johnson (J. 258 Spectator. George. 186. 278 Hopkins). M. H. A. 121128. 171 Room with a View. 203. Dante Gabriel. 130 StoU. 298 Sitwell. 38.INDEX Renaissance. Professor. 112 Revelation (T. 124. 128. 108-113. EllOt). The. 278 Romantics. 40. 121-135 Savile. Yeats). Eliot). 106 288 'Sea and the Skylark. 260. 251. 205. 135. 151 Shakespeare's Final Period (Lytton Strachey). The 185. 220 Scrutiny. 259 Sidney.. Hopkins). 75. 259. Bertrand. 127. George. 296 (T. 134. see Arcadia Sitwell. 34 Sociology. 198. 147. E. 235 Revaluation (F. 123. Bowra). SACRED WOOD THE 12. The. 42. 279. 185. 231. Lytton. E. 191. 179. S. Marquess Son of Woman (Middleton Murry). Cecil 190-191 Richardson. The* (G. 220-222 (L. 143. 54 Schopenhauer. The. 71-72 Stephen. 133. 196 of Man. 159 Sharp. 129 'Ruined The* (William 298 Wordsworth). A Shaw.. C. 14 Sociology of Literary Taste The (L. 178 Steuert. 91. 155. W. 173. Whitehead). Leavis). 185 of Sayers. 280 Byzantium* 'Sailing to (W. Sir Philip. 128. M. 206. L. Professor Gregory. 130-159. S. 194 Robinson Crusoe. 296. Anne. 133 Sherman. 126 Restoration. 22 Schucking. 97. 60.

Cyril. Hopkins). G. 101.. 88-89 'Triumphal March' (T. 286 Troilus and Cressida (William Shakespeare). Eliot). Sutherland. 263. The. 71 221 . 230-231 Waste Land. 152. H. Alfred Lord. 52. 25. 54. 29. 197 Testament of Beauty. 166. 232 Swift. Eliot). 197 'Tom's Garland' (G. Wheelwright. 230 Twickenham edition of Pope. 249. 284 Swinburne. H. Derek. 44 Voltaire.. 16. S. 252 Thomas. 80. 283 Tupper. 255 TALE OF A TUB. WALDOCK. 234. 116 'Tiger. *7& Trevelyan. Yeats). 187 TiUyard. 287. Professor. The' (William Blake).70 Toryism. 184 Washington Square (Henry James). 28. H. 192. PROFESSOR 27. Verschoyle. 132. 178 Tolstoy. 8o> 156 Lewis). 211-222 Wells. .306 THE COMMON Law- PURSUIT Studies in Classical American Literature (D. 291 What Maisie Knew (Henry James). Count Leo. A. The (Henry James). Eliot). 127 Wellek. 28. F. The (Wilson Knight). 237 D. 204-208 Tinkler. 224. 59 'Vision of Mermaids. 88 Two Gentlemen of Verona.. E. 160. The. 79. J.. The' (W. W. Dr Ren6. 286. 293 Talent Tragedy. 37 Time and Western Man (Wyndham A' (G. 164 Swedenborg. THE' (Samuel Johnson). VERSES TO THE MEMORY OF AN' (Alexander Pope).. John. 20- 57. 121-135 Tragic Philosophy (George Santayana). 73-87. The. The. Lawrence). 103. 233. 33. 49. C. 73. 253 Nottingham. William Makepeace. (Robert Thackeray. S. James. 85 Tatler. 235-236 Use of Poetry and the Use of Criticism The (T. 59 Turn of the Screw. S. 174. S. 89. The (T. 197 Thomson. 11. Eliot). 42. 286. A. 169. Dylan. 99. Rex. 115. The Bridges). 34. G. M. 285 What is a Classic? (T. 98-99 Tourneur. 42 Thomas Cranmer (Charles Williams). 260 Webster. Jonathan. 93. Tempest. 44-49. 142. 173. 233 Study of Thomas Hardy (D. 241. 230. 170 M. 249 A. ii. 243 Times Literary Supplement. 281 'VANITY OF 118 HUMAN WISHES. 42. 185 'UNFORTUNATE LADY. 291 * When the lamp is shattered (Shelley). William York. 283-284 Tradition and the Individual (T. 98. 201-203 Traversi. 293296 Tindall. M. M. Eliot). 117. 233 Victorian Age. B. * Doughty). 98. Emmanuel. 131 Travels in Arabia Deserta (Charles Webster. 34. 121-135 'Tragic Theatre. 69. 179-181 Tennyson. 113 Unicorn. TJie (Isaac Rosenberg). 231 Wheel of Fire. in. Philip. Martin. S. rence). Hopkins). Sir Charles. Mrs. Algernon Charles.. 251 Thrale. 5i. 21.32 Warner. M. 133 University College. The. A. 175. Johnson's.

Wings of the Dove. M. 284 'Wreck of the Deutschland. 14. 3 1. 252.. M. EMILE. The (D. Walt. 131.M. 51. 255 Woolf. Hopkins). 296 177. G. 64 Williams. P. 229 Winter's Tale. The* Work 'Windhover. 192. 38. 174. 220 White Peacock. Yvor. 80. 249.Hopkins). 226-228. The (Henry James) 224. 6*0 Writings of E. Lawrence). 58 (G. 185. Virginia. 66.INDEX Where Angels fear Forster). M. 158. YEATS.. 261-264 Whibley. William. 198 . 14. 291 B. The (Rose Macaulay). N. 59. 55* 58. 197. 234. tread (E. Forster.. The. Charles. The (H. 38 Wordsworth. w. Wyatt. A. G. H. 97 ZOLA. Sir Thomas. 219 Whitman. Charles. 203 Wodehouse. 250 Winters. 175. 42. The. 216. 179-iSi Yellow Book. 261 . The* (G. 284 World of William Clissold. Wells). 253 in Progress (James Joyce). 35. 73. to 307 29. 97 Whitehead.

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