Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Enough of Men Reporting Their Sorrows

Edward FitzGerald, letter to W.B. Donne (February 27, 1845):
We have surely had enough of men reporting their sorrows: especially when one is aware all the time that the poet wilfully protracts what he complains of, magnifies it in the Imagination, puts it into all the shapes of Fancy; and yet we are to condole with him, and be taught to ruminate our losses and sorrows in the same way. I felt that if Tennyson had got on a horse and ridden twenty miles, instead of moaning over his pipe, he would have been cured of his sorrows in half the time. As it is, it is about three years before the Poetic Soul walks itself out of darkness and Despair into Common Sense. Plato would not have allowed such querulousness to be published in his Republic, to be sure: and when we think of the Miss Barretts, Brownes, Jewsburys, etc., who will set to work to feel friends' losses in melodious tears, in imitation of A.T.'s—one must allow Plato was no such prig as some say he was.
Related posts: On Keeping a Stiff Upper Lip; Grosse Seelen Dulden Still; Hiding Troubles; Nietzsche on Emotional Incontinence; Buckled Lips; The Contagion of Misery; Emotional Incontinence; Euripidea; Hostile Laughter; Hostile Laughter in Euripides' Medea; Icy Laughter; Notes to Myself; On Concealing One's Misfortunes; Quotations about Complaints.

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