Thursday, August 19, 2010

RIP Frank Kermode (1919-2010)

'The amazing history of modern academic literary criticism seems to show that we are now in the state of finding almost anything more agreeable, or at any rate less difficult, than poetry; gossip about the private lives of poets is best of all, but in the absence of gossip [. . .] then even philosophy comes more easily than poetry [. . .] The matter is of concern not only to the people who actually do the damage, and who presumably at some point supposed that they loved and admired the poetry. We are all losers, for the wrong sort of attention is what in the short or longer run diminishes a poet for everybody; and a single poet is not all we risk losing.'

Frank Kermode, Wallace Stevens (Faber 1960, 1989), pp. xvii-xviii

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