chapter  51
21 Pages

From Scepticism and Poetry 1937

WithD. G. James

F. R. Leavis notes in his joint review of Scepticism and Poetry and Richard's Philosophy of Rhetoric, 'largely directed against' Richard's views on mind and art. Mr Richards is concerned with the 'interior of the lives of the poets', that is to say, their mental states, bodies, and nervous systems. Mr Richard's predominant interest in feelings, emotions, attitudes, is at the expense of recognition of the activity of the imagination. Accordingly, what has happened in Mr Richard's aesthetic is that poetry has simply fallen out of it, and it has become one stimulus among many which can produce desirable results. States of inner harmony or reconciliation of impulses when enjoyed by poets, issue in the writing of poetry; and such states of inner adjustment tend to be accompanied by 'transcendental descriptions', of which Wordsworth's 'Tintern Abbey' is an example.