That's a line of argument, though it could be seriously asked whether it isn't voiced out of that very (theoretical) abyss formerly proprietary only to " so many Gadarene swine." Self-reflection, at any rate, would seem to require of us that the question at least be asked. Authentically. Apart from that, there are so many loose ends here I'm tempted to say the ends not so much justify as stand squrely on the mean.

Ken A

On December 1, 2014 3:37:03 PM EST, Carrol Cox <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
"I have never, by the way, seen a cogent refutation of Thomas Rymer's
objections to Othello." (Footnote to " Hamlet and His Problems")

I don't remember what these objections were, but Eliot's proposition is
unacceptable on theoretical grounds: Evaluative propositions on literary
works are not subject to "refutation" (or, for that matter, confirmation).
And this is a theoretical and historical error that disfigures quite a few
of Eliot's critical essays. For example the following from his remarks on

***Unless something is done to stem this flood of poetastry the art of verse
will become not merely superfluous, but ridiculous. Poetry is not a formula
which a thousand flappers and hobbledehoys ought to be able to master in a
week without any training, and the mere fact that it seems to be now
practised with such universal ease is enough to prove that something has
gone amiss with our standards.... This is all wrong, and will lead us down
into the abyss like so many Gadarene swine unless we resist it.***

Pope turned this (false) fear of bad poetry into great art (Dunciad, Epistle
to Arbuthnot). But there is no evidence (historical or theoretical) of any
need to "resist" bad poetry.

The theoretical error is the same in both the note on Othello and the fret
over poetasters: In each instance, the "problem" is simply non-existent. No
one has refuted Rymer because no one is particularly interested in his
remarks. Here is a sample:

"The Character of that State is to employ strangers in their Wars;
But shall a Poet thence fancy that they will set a Negro to be their
General; or trust a Moor to defend them against the Turk? With us
a Black-amoor might rise to be a Trumpeter; but Shakespear would
not have him less than a Lieutenant-General. With us a Moor might
marry some little drab, or Small-coal Wench: Shake-spear, would
provide him the Daughter and Heir of some great Lord, or Privy-
Councellor:And all the Town should reckon it a very suitable match:
Yet the English are not bred up with that hatred and aversion to the Moors,
as are the Venetians, who suffer by a perpetual Hostility
from them. . . ."

And we need not "resist" the poetasters of the 1920s because it would be too
much bother to look up their texts! Who breaks a butterfly upon a wheel.


Sent Androidally by K-9 Mail. Please excuse my brevity.