Saturday, August 25, 2007

Rilke on Poetry - Letter 3: Part I

"Let me here promptly make a request: read as little as possible of aesthetic criticism - such things are either partisan views, petrified and grown senseless in their lifeless induration, or they are clever quibblings in which today one view wins and tomorrow the opposite. Works of art are of infinite loneliness and with nothing so little to be reached as with criticism."

I am attempted to be a little more critical (pun possibly intended) here of Rilke, although I am sure this is the wearied experience of many an academic. I am critical only to the extent that it is not necessary to rule out criticism as such. I would look more to George Steiner in his Real Presences whose project seems to be the banishment of the secondary. He did not outlaw criticism but only those criticisms that could not stand up with their own internal merit.
Even here I am hesitant only because following either Rilke or Steiner would mean the end of most of the blogosphere (not the worst thought of course). I have often been tempted to leave a final post telling people get off-line and sink their hands in the nearest patch of loose soil.

No comments: