Tuesday, June 07, 2022

Very thoughtful …

… The Pope of Russell Square | Commonweal Magazine. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

The idea of poetic impersonality is closely related to Eliot’s self-declared classicism. The classic in Eliot’s view is not in the first place the work of an individual genius. It is rather a piece of literary art that is resonant of a specific civilization—one whose language gives voice to a particular culture and history at the peak of its maturity. The unique genius that produces it is not that of an individual author but the spirit of a particular age and a particular people. Virgil’s greatness springs from his place in the history of the Roman Empire, as well as in the evolution of the Latin language. The classical work brings a national language to a point of perfection, and its ability to do so, ironically, is what makes its appeal so universal.


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