Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Poetic Diction Quotes Part 1

I have four pages of quotes typed out from Poetic Diction (helps me to remember them to do this!). I'll post them in several parts over the next few weeks because Owen Barfield's words are better than mine.

Poetic Diction quotes, 1973 edition

p.28: “Only by imagination therefore can the world be known. And what is needed is, not only that larger and larger telescopes and more and more sensitive calipers should be constructed, but that the human mind should become increasingly aware of its own creative activity.”

p.32: “… a true, participant knowledge as distinct from the haphazard pull-and-push ignorance which claims in public the name of science and admits in private that it knows nothing; which, when it turns inward to the mind of the Knower, finds there a nothingness within, to match the nothingness without. … Reflection on the poetic activity teaches us that the same imagination which created that kind of habit can both disturb it and create new ones.”

p.35: “Accordingly they have presented us with the human spirit as bewildered observer, or as agonized patient, compassionate in Hardy, humbled or repentant in Eliot, but always the observer, always the patient, helpless to alter anything but his own pin-pointed subjective emotion.”

p.36: “The possibility of man’s avoiding self-destruction depends on his realizing before it is too late that what he let loose over Hiroshima, after fiddling with its exterior for three centuries like a mechanical toy, was the forces of his own unconscious mind.”

p.58: “’In the infancy of society [wrote Shelley] every author is necessarily a poet, because language itself is a poetry. … Every original language near to its source is itself the chaos of a cyclic poem.”

p.73: “In other words, although, when he moves backwards through the history of language, he finds it becoming more and more figurative with every step, yet he has no hesitation in assuming a period – still further back – when it was not figurative at all!”

p.75: “The full meanings of words are flashing, iridescent shapes like flames – ever-flickering vestiges of the slowly evolving consciousness beneath them. To the Locke-Muller-France way of thinking, on the contrary, they appear as solid chunks with definite boundaries and limits, to which other chunks may be added as occasion arises.”

p.81: “We must, therefore, imagine a time when ‘spiritus’ or pneuma, or older words from which these had descended, meant neither breath, nor wind, nor spirit, nor yet all three of these things, but when they simply had their own old peculiar meaning, which has since, in the course of the evolution of consciousness, crystallized into the three meanings specified – and no doubt into others also, for which separate words had already been found by Greek and Roman times.”

p.82: “… their error merely lay in supposing that life actually created language after the manner in which their logic deconstructed it. They mistook elements for seeds – and called them roots.”

p.85: “… these poetic, and apparently ‘metaphorical’ values were latent in meaning from the beginning.”

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