a new study of english poetry

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Purchase of this book includes free trial access to www.million-books.com where you can read more than a million books for free. This is an OCR edition with typos. Excerpt from book: in POETRY AND PERSONALITY The question which I am now proposing to discuss is one of those generally described as controversial. Certainly it has often in the past been the subject of controversy: there have been ardent and even violent partisans of the Classical and the Romantic, the Objective and the Subjective, the Impersonal and the Personal in Art. But I believe that while this long war has been going on the casus belli has in reality disappeared: the world has so changed that neither a purely Greek nor a purely Mediaeval method could make any .claim to give it the poetry which it needs. I shall therefore treat the controversy simply as a matter of history, and put it forth only as an introduction—one of those studies which are necessary to the full understanding of the present position of poetry and its immediate outlook. The impersonal theory, the objective view of art, has the prestige of a Greek ancestry, and it had at first undisputed possession of the field. It was, of course, only a theory. In practice the Greek artist, like every other human artist, expressed in his work the intuitions of his own spirit: but this was not theaccount given of him by his contemporary critics; his sole aim, according to them, was to produce a certain effect upon his audience. What, then, was the criterion by which his work was to be estimated? Was success in art to be gauged by popularity ? The mere suggestion was painful to the Greeks, and they made, as their followers have ever since made, violent mental contortions in order to escape it. Sometimes they summoned to their aid a phantom called The Universal: sometimes they referred everything to the decision of The Cultivated Man. That is to say, they replaced the common jury they despised by an imaginary judge, whose qualificati...
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