Three Philosophical Poets

Three Philosophical Poets
Lucretius, Dante, and Goethe

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Three Philosophical Poets by George Santayana

Published:

1910

Pages:

117

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1,401

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Three Philosophical Poets
Lucretius, Dante, and Goethe

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Based on a series of lectures given given in 1910.

Book Excerpt

hile life as a whole, history, character, and destiny are objects unfit for imagination to dwell on, and repellent to poetic art? I cannot think so. If it be a fact, as it often is, that we find little things pleasing and great things arid and formless, and if we are better poets in a line than in an epic, that is simply due to lack of faculty on our part, lack of imagination and memory, and above all to lack of discipline.

This might be shown, I think, by psychological analysis, if we cared to rely on something so abstract and so debatable. For in what does the short-winded poet himself excel the common unimaginative person who talks or who stares? Is it that he thinks even less? Rather, I suppose, in that he feels more; in that his moment of intuition, though fleeting, has a vision, a scope, a symbolic something about it that renders it deep and expressive. Intensity, even momentary intensity, if it can be expressed at all, comports fullness and suggestion compressed into that intense moment. Yes, ev

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