30 ene. 2007

Condescension is probably the worst sin in a critic. Any idiot can find bad lines in Whitman or Crane. Finding purplish or overwritten passages in writers makes a certain kind of critic feel superior. Aha! I wouldn't have written that! He says. Yes, but did you invent an entire new style, like Whitman did? Did you ever write a single phrase half as brilliant as "adagios of islands"? Quondam dormitat Homerus.

2 comentarios:

Henry Gould dijo...

I respect a critic who calls a spade a spade. It's a service to literature. But it bothers me that Logan would depend so much on Cranes' character flaws (they were massive, I guess) to dismiss the poetry. It seems Logan feels the estimate of Crane is too high, and he wants to bring it down a peg. But in the process he overdoes it. He misses most of the things that make Crane great.

Would the world be better off if we'd had a meeker, milder, more morally-scrupulous Crane, who wrote well-mannered poems like Logan's? I don't think so.

For me one of the great things about Crane is that he actually TRIED to picture American culture & history within the design of a poetic myth. In the attempt he really soared above so much run-of-the-mill poetizing. He came awfully close to lifting "America" into this impossibly strange orphic-lyric dimension...

Jonathan dijo...

Agreed. He doesn't bother telling us why Crane is considered important in the first place. He is too busy dismissing him for his personal life and for the grandiose vision of The Bridge. Everything from Crane he quotes is done dismissively.