Notes on William Jones

January 29, 2017

“Poetry of the Eastern Nations”

  • object: prove Eastern poetry is as good/worthy as European
  • Arabic: inspired by beauty of climate/landscape, simplicity of manners, leisure, naturally attuned to passions, strong/diverse language
  • argument: add the Eastern poets to our poetical studies to give poets more inspiration and material to help them understand human nature and ability, make better poetry, better wells of inspiration
  • departure from classical understanding of poetry, shift from classical works to Eastern

“Arts Considered Imitative”

  • object: prove works do imitate nature and people, but art that is authentic in feeling is not imitative
  • sources of poetry: worship, love, grief, resentment, hate
  • music: poetry to sound, affecting to the heart, “not imitation of nature but nature herself” (88)
  • if art is made with true passion then it cannot be imitative, real poetry springs from inside the poet
  • beauty: love, tenderness, desire, pity
  • sublime: hate, anger, fear, terrible passions

Factors for poetry

  • environment: imagery, human relation to the earth, climates and moods and behaviors, poetry imitates life; Eastern poets respond to their world, not works in their world (empowerment of the self); animals, plants, forces, landscape, human as part of universe/environment (greater reality, moral change)
  • language: strong full language, subjective and private voice
  • return to the natural and regional: climate, mythology
  • focus on personal experience, not an imitation or reflection on someone else’s experience, neo-classicism is an imitation of imitation, copy of copy
  • art: “not by imitating the works of nature, but by assuming her power and causing the same effect upon the imagination” (92/97)
  • sublime: beautiful and grotesque; greater power, uncontrollable, far above human capacity, vast/deep in size
  • grotesque: fear, repulsion, disharmony, discordance, dread, terror, horror

Romantic Poetry: expression of passions, “spontaneous overflow of powerful emotion”


About abbaxjane

Devoted writer, reader, pen pal, post card collector, raven admirer, anglophile, tea drinker, music lover, and binge watcher.
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