chapter  9
5 Pages

‘Poetry and Reality’ 1926

WithJ. Middleton Murry

Mr I. A. Richards discusses what he calls the 'revelation' theory of poetry; that is to say the theory that poetry, in its highest forms, does actually reveal somewhat of the else hidden nature of reality towards the end of his stimulating book, Principles of Literary Criticism. The joy which is so strangely the heart of the experience is not an indication that 'all's right with the world', or that 'somewhere, somehow there is justice'; it is an indication that all is right here and now with the nervous system. Mr Richards has attempted an illegitimate simplification of the problem of poetry. Two things are given in the poetic experience. There are namely as the poem, and the reader. When John Middleton Murry responds to King Lear or The Cherry Orchard, and leaves them with the sweet solemnity of a Nunc Dimittis sounding within our souls, a conviction that their eyes have seen their salvation.