chapter  16
17 Pages

The Analysis of a Poem

The qualifications of a good critic are three. He must be an adept at experiencing, without eccentricities, the state of mind relevant to the work of art he is judging. Secondly, he must be able to distinguish experiences from one another as regards their less superficial features. Thirdly, he must be a sound judge of values. Upon all these matters psychology, even in its present conjectural state, has a direct bearing. The critic is, throughout, judging o f experiences, of states o f mind; but too often he is needlessly ignorant of the general psychological form of the experiences with which he is concerned. He has no clear ideas as to the elements present or as to their relative importance. Thus, an outline or schema of the mental events which make up the experience of ‘looking at’ a picture or ‘reading’ a poem, can be of great assistance. At the very least an understanding of the probable structures of these experiences can remove certain misconceptions which tend to make the opinions of individuals of less service to other individuals than need be.