Thursday, March 27, 2014

Literary judgments …

… Anecdotal Evidence: `A Stern and Gloomy One Certainly'. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

What Seward says of Dr. Johnson — that "the faults of his disposition have disgraced much of his fine writings" — could be said of Yvor Winters as well. Both Winters and Johnson sometimes sound like the Pope speaking ex cathedra. I think better of Thomas Gray than Johnson did, and better of Herbert than Winters did. Still, I think both Winters and Johnson are to be applauded for appreciating deeply work by writers whose sensibilities they did not fundamentally share. That is why their criticism rises above the limitations of their own sensibilities.

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