Literary Criticism Quotations

Things Declined After Chaucer

Of the courtly works produced in England during the 15th century, H.S. Bennet has this to say (p.125 of OHEL, vol.II, p.1):

“It was the hey-day of the poetaster, who, with little feeling for verse and no intellectual powers of any consequence, beat out his numbers with growing incompetence.”

Literary Criticism Quotations

The Innate Acceptability of Fiction

Two quotes, in odd collusion.

G.K Chesterton, The Singular Speculation of the House Agent

“Truth must of necessity be stranger than fiction,” said Basil placidly. “For fiction is the creation of the human mind, and therefore is congenial to it.”

John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, IV:10.11

[Of the “shew of wisdom in will-worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body] being framed by men, the human mind recognizes in them that which is its own, and embraces it when recognized more willingly than anything, however good, which is less suitable to its vanity.

Literary Criticism Practical Notes Quotations

Trumpets and Rubberoid

C.S. Lewis “A Preface to Paradise Lost”

If Mr. Eliot disdains the eagles and trumpets of epic poetry because the fashion of this world passes away, I honour him. But if he goes on to draw the conclusion that all poetry should have the penitential qualities of his own best work, I believe he is mistaken. As long as we live in merry middle earth it is necessary to have middle things. If the round table is abolished, for every one who rises to the level of Galahad, a hundred will drop plumb down to that of Mordred. Mr. Eliot may succeed in persuading the reading youth of England to have done with robes of purple and pavements of marble. But he will not therefore find them walking in sackcloth on floors of mud –he will only find them in smart, ugly suits walking on rubberoid. It has all been tried before. The older Puritans took away the maypoles and the mince-pies: but they did not bring in the millennium, they only brought in the Restoration. Galahad must not make common cause with Mordred, for it is always Mordred who gains, and he who loses by such alliance.