Friday, January 31, 2003

My friend Jeff, let's call him Ineluctable Maps' Foreign Correspondent reporting from the magnificent Aegean island of Paros, sent me an email with the subject line, "poetics."


Captain Benwick was so intimately acquainted with all the tenderest songs of Scott, and all the impassioned descriptions of hopeless agony of Byron; he repeated, with such tremulous feeling, the various lines which imaged a broken heart, or a mind destroyed by wretchedness, and looked so entirely as if he meant to be understood, that she ventured to hope he did not always read only poetry; and to say, that she thought it was the misfortune of poetry, to be seldom safely enjoyed by those who enjoyed it completely; and that the strong feelings which alone could estimate it truly, were the very feelings which ought to taste it but sparingly.

--Jane Austen, Persuasion

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