Burns is most at home in his native language. His poems deal with Scottish dress, Scottish manner, and Scottish religion. This Scottish world is not a beautiful one, and it is an advantage if a poet deals with a beautiful world. But Burns shines whenever he triumphs over his sordid, repulsive and dull world with his poetry. Perhaps we find the true burns only in his bacchanalian poetry, though occasionally his bacchanalian attitude was affected. For example in his Holy fair, the lines 'leeze me on drink!
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Just as the laxity in religious matters during the restoration period was a direct outcome of the strict discipline of the puritans, in the same way in order to control the dangerous sway of imagination found in the poetry of the metaphysicals, to counteract 'the. The restrictions that were imposed on the poets were uniformity, regularity, precision, and balance. These restrictions curbed the growth of poetry, and encouraged the growth of prose. Hence we can regard Dryden as the glorious full founder, and Pope as the splendid high priest, of the age of prose and reason, our indispensable 18th century. Their poetry was that of the builders of an age of prose and reason. Arnold says that Pope and Dryden are not poet classics, but the 'prose classics' of the 18th century. As for poetry, he considers Gray to be the only classic of the 18th century. Gray constantly studied and enjoyed Greek poetry and thus inherited their poetic point of view and their application of poetry to life. But he is the 'scantiest, frailest absorbent classic' since his output was small. The Study of poetry: on Burns Although Burns lived close to the 19th century his poetry breathes the spirit of 18th Century life.
But Arnold says that the excellence of teresa Chaucer's poetry is due to his sheer poetic talent. This liberty in the use of language was enjoyed by many poets, but we do not find the same kind of fluidity in others. Only in Shakespeare and keats do we find the same kind of fluidity, though they wrote without the same liberty in the use of language. Arnold praises Chaucer's excellent style and manner, but says that Chaucer cannot be called a classic since, unlike homer, virgil and Shakespeare, his poetry does not have the high poetic seriousness which Aristotle regards as a mark of its superiority over the other arts. The Study of poetry: on the age of Dryden and Pope The age of Dryden is regarded as superior to that of the others for 'sweetness of poetry'. Arnold asks whether Dryden and Pope, poets of great merit, are truly the poetical classics of the 18th century. He says Dryden's post-script to the readers in his translation of The aeneid reveals the fact that in prose writing he is even better than Milton and Chapman.
But Chaucer, who was nourished by the romance poetry of the French, and influenced by the Italian royal rhyme stanza, still holds enduring fascination. There is an excellence of style and subject in his poetry, which is the quality the French poetry lacks. Dryden ions says of Chaucer's Prologue 'here is God's plenty!' and that 'he is a perpetual fountain of good sense'. There is largeness, benignity, freedom and spontaneity in Chaucer's writings. 'he is the well of English undefiled'. He has divine fluidity of movement, divine liquidness of diction. He has created an epoch and founded a tradition. Some say that the fluidity of Chaucer's verse is due to licence in the use of the language, a liberty which Burns enjoyed much later.
'Short passages even single lines he said, 'will serve our turn quite sufficiently'. Some of Arnold's touchstone passages are: Helen's words about her wounded brother, zeus addressing the horses of Peleus, suppliant Achilles' words to Priam, and from Dante; Ugolino's brave words, and beatrice's loving words to virgil. From non-Classical writers he selects from Henry iv part ii (iii, i henry's expostulation with sleep - 'wilt thou upon the high and giddy mast. From Hamlet (v, ii) 'Absent thee from felicity awhile. From Milton's Paradise lost book 1, 'care sat on his faded cheek. and 'What is else not to be overcome. ' the Study of poetry: on Chaucer The French Romance poetry of the 13th century langue d'oc and langue d'oil was extremely popular in Europe and Italy, but soon lost its popularity and now it is important only in terms of historical study.
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As examples of erroneous judgements he says that the 17th century court tragedies of the French were spoken of with exaggerated praise, until Pellisson reproached them for want of the true poetic stamp, and another critic, Charles d' Hricault, said that 17th century French poetry. Arnold says the critics seem to substitute 'a halo for physiognomy and a statue in the place where there was once a man. They give us a human personage no larger than God seated amidst his perfect work, like jupiter on Olympus.'. He also condemns the French critic Vitet, who had eloquent words of praise for the epic poem. Chanson de roland by turoldus, (which was sung by a jester, taillefer, in William the conqueror's young army saying essay that it was superior to homer's. Arnold's view is that this poem can never be compared to homer's work, and that we only have to compare the description of dying Roland to helen's words about her wounded brothers Pollux and Castor and its inferiority will be clearly revealed.
The Study of poetry: a shift in position - the touchstone method. Arnold's criticism of Vitet above illustrates his 'touchstone method his theory that in order to judge a poet's work properly, a critic should compare it to passages taken from works of great masters of poetry, and that these passages should be applied as touchstones. Even a single line or selected"tion will serve the purpose. From this we see that he has shifted his position from that expressed in the preface to his. In, the Study of poetry he no longer uses the acid test of action and architectonics. He became an advocate of 'touchstones'.
He says that when evaluating a work the aim is 'to see the object as in itself it really is'. Psychological, historical and sociological background are irrelevant, and to dwell on such aspects is mere dilettantism. This stance was very influential with later critics. Arnold also believed that in his quest for the best a critic should not confine himself to the literature of his own country, but should draw substantially on foreign literature and ideas, because the propagation of ideas should be an objective endeavour. The Study of poetry. In, the Study of poetry, (1888) which opens his, essays in Criticism: Second series, in support of his plea for nobility in poetry, arnold recalls sainte-beuve's reply to napoleon, when latter said that charlatanism is found in everything.
Sainte-beuve replied that charlatanism might be found everywhere else, but not in the field of poetry, because in poetry the distinction between sound and unsound, or only half-sound, truth and untruth, or only half-truth, between the excellent and the inferior, is of paramount importance. For Arnold there is no place for charlatanism in poetry. To him poetry is the criticism of life, governed by the laws of poetic truth and poetic beauty. It is in the criticism of life that the spirit of our race will find its stay and consolation. The extent to which the spirit of mankind finds its stay and consolation is proportional to the power of a poem's criticism of life, and the power of the criticism of life is in direct proportion to the extent to which the poem is genuine. In, the Study of poetry he also cautions the critic that in forming a genuine and disinterested estimate of the poet under consideration he should not be influenced by historical or personal judgements, historical judgements being fallacious because we regard ancient poets with excessive veneration. If a poet is a 'dubious classic, let us sift him; if he is a false classic, let us explode him. But if he is a real classic, if his work belongs to the class of the very best.
Decameron, because he rightly subordinated expression to action. Hence boccaccio's poem is a poetic success where keats's is a failure. Arnold also wants the modern writer to take models from the past because they depict human actions which touch on 'the great primary human affections: to those elementary hotel feelings which subsist permanently in the race, and which are independent of time'. Characters such as Agamemnon, dido, aeneas, Orestes, merope, alcmeon, and Clytemnestra, like leave a permanent impression on our minds. Compare 'the Iliad' or 'The aeneid' with 'The Childe harold' or 'The Excursion' and you see the difference. A modern writer might complain that ancient subjects pose problems with regard to ancient culture, customs, manners, dress and so on which are not familiar to contemporary readers. But Arnold is of the view that a writer should not concern himself with the externals, but with the 'inward man'. The inward man is the same irrespective of clime or time. The function of Criticism, it is in his, the function of Criticism at the Present Time (1864) that Arnold says that criticism should be a 'dissemination of ideas, a disinterested endeavour to learn and propagate the best that is known and thought in the world'.
2) His excessive use of imagery. 3) Circumlocution, even where the press of action demands directness. 4) His lack of simplicity (according to hallam and guizot). As an example of the danger of imitating Shakespeare he gives keats's imitation of Shakespeare in his. Isabella or the pot of Basil. Keats uses felicitous phrases and single happy turns of phrase, yet the action is handled vaguely and so the poem does not have unity. By values way of contrast, he says the Italian writer Boccaccio handled the same theme successfully in his.
demanded simplicity and directness, and hence his style could not be taken as a model by young writers. Elsewhere he says that Shakespeare's 'expression tends to become a little sensuous and simple, too much intellectualised'. Shakespeare's excellences are 1)The architectonic quality of his style; the harmony between action and expression. 2) His reliance on the ancients for his themes. 3) Accurate construction of action. 4) His strong conception of action and accurate portrayal of his subject matter. 5) His intense feeling for the subjects he dramatises. His attractive accessories (or tricks of style) which a young writer should handle carefully are 1) His fondness for quibble, fancy, conceit.
Classical literature, in his view, possess pathos, moral profundity and noble simplicity, while modern themes, arising from an age of spiritual weakness, are suitable for only comic and lighter kinds of poetry, and don't possess the loftiness to support epic or heroic poetry. Arnold turns his back on the prevailing Romantic view of poetry and seeks to revive the Classical values of objectivity, urbanity, and architectonics. He denounces the romantics for ignoring the Classical writers for the sake of novelty, and for their allusive (Arnold uses the word 'suggestive writing which defies easy comprehension. Preface to poems of 1853, in the preface to his. Poems (1853) Arnold asserts the importance of architectonics; that power of execution, which creates, forms, and constitutes in poetry - the necessity of achieving unity by subordinating the parts to the whole, and the expression of ideas to the depiction of human action, and condemns. Scattered images and happy turns of phrase, in his view, can only provide partial effects, and not contribute to unity. He also, continuing his anti-romantic theme, urges, modern poets to shun allusiveness and not fall short into the temptation of subjectivity. He says that even the imitation of Shakespeare is risky for a young writer, who should imitate only his excellences, and avoid his attractive accessories, tricks of style, such as quibble, conceit, circumlocution and allusiveness, which will lead him astray. Arnold commends Shakespeare's use of great plots from the past.
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According to Arnold, homer is the best model of a like simple grand style, while milton is the best model of severe grand style. Dante, however, is an example of both. Even Chaucer, in Arnold's view, in spite of his virtues such as benignity, largeness, and spontaneity, lacks seriousness. Burns too lacks sufficient seriousness, because he was hypocritical in that while he adopted a moral stance in some of his poems, in his private life he flouted morality. Return to Classical values, arnold believed that a modern writer should be aware that contemporary literature is built on the foundations of the past, and should contribute to the future by continuing a firm tradition. quot;ng goethe and niebuhr in support of his view, he asserts that his age suffers from spiritual weakness because it thrives on self-interest and scientific materialism, and therefore cannot provide noble characters such as those found in Classical literature. He urged modern poets to look to the ancients and their great characters and themes for guidance and inspiration.