chapter  32
12 Pages

The Imagination

In describing the poet we laid stress upon the availability o f his experience, upon the width o f the field o f stimulation which he can accept, and the completeness o f the response which he can make. Compared with him the ordinary man suppresses nine-tenths o f his impulses, because he is incapable o f manag­ ing them without confusion. He goes about in blinkers because what he would otherwise see would upset him. But the poet through his superior power o f ordering experience is freed from this necessity. Impulses which commonly interfere with one another and are conflicting, independent, and mutually distractive, in him combine into a stable poise. He selects, o f course, but the range o f suppression which is necessary for him is diminished, and for this very reason such suppressions as he makes are more rigorously carried out. Hence the curious local callousness o f the artist which so often strikes the observer.