chapter  VI
Second Nature
ByValéry
Pages 5

Whitehead's observation that 'Nature is patient of interpretation in terms of laws' seems to have some application to the second nature and its interpreters. When the interpreters are also creators, making the nature which is required to suffer interpretation by laws already adumbrated, people have some thing like the situation of modern poetry. The whole of the seasonable truth is not to be found undistorted in the work of a single interpreter, or even in a single language; and that is a reason why Valery, considered as interpreter, has high interest for English readers. Valery was an intimate of Mallarme, the Einstein of this world; but no one who thinks of the anti-intellectualism of modern verse will be surprised that he often represents himself as an ignorant man. The process of turning usage into nonusage Valery sometimes called musicalization. He refines the old Romantic-Symbolist yearning to have poetry as like music as possible.