Convention and Revolt in Poetry by John Livingston Lowes

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John Livingston Lowes
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Convention and Revolt in Poetry

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Book review

This historic book may have numerous typos and missing text. Purchasers can usually download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. Not indexed. Not illustrated. 1919 edition. Excerpt: ... THE DICTION OF POETRY VERSUS POETIC DICTION St. Peter admirably enjoins us to be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks us a reason for the faith that is in us, with meekness and fear. And one of the greatest services which the present insurgent movement is performing is in sending us back to first principles, in a salutary endeavor after such preparedness. For it is a strong offensive that is on, and not all the lines are holding. To take stock of resources, accordingly, is more or less incumbent upon all of us. It is about some of the fundamentals of poetry that the sharpest issues have been raised, and we are bound, I think, to make an effort to reach clearness. And in doing this I propose to abide by the method of procedure we have so far followed. I am not primarily concerned with the present movement per se, but rather with the important questions which are being raised once more about poetry itself. It is these larger poetic problems, then, in the light of what is going on to-day, that constitute the subject of the remainder of this volume. 'And among them the diction of poetry is now, as it has always been, a vigorously mooted point. Let us take the bull by the horns at once. What is the difference between the diction of poetry and the diction of prose? And by prose I mean now plain, work-a-day prose, not artistic or elevated prose. And I am limiting poetry to poetry in verse. The problem of so-called prosepoetry or poetic prose will concern us later. The difference, then, between the diction of poetry and that of prose depends on a difference between the functions of words in the two mediums. The business of words in prose is primarily to state; in poetry, not only to state, but also (and sometimes primarily) to...

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