Winter 1956 • Vol. XVIII No. 1 Nonfiction |

On Poetry and Geometric Truth

In the following pages, I am attempting to record certain meditations occasioned by my having undertaken to consider the Wordsworth of The Prelude and the Intimations Ode in the light of recent critical theory.1 These reflections have led rather unexpectedly to a reconsideration of Wordsworth's "Platonism" and to a recognition of the contemporary significance of Kant's theory of imagination. On the latter point I have been happily anticipated by Professor Ransom. Philosophers have often recognized that poetry and logic stand in a polar opposition, and that we can learn about one indirectly by studying the other. Such contrast usually underscores the irrational or sub-logical character of poetic insight. In fact, for the studious reader of poetry the notion of nonsense and, today more specifically, that of ambiguity are, among others, well-nigh indispensable. We may admit this even while we are satisfied that good poetry is never nonsense in the usual pejorative sense of the term

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