Passion - A long time ago I was reading a book which left...

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A long time ago, I was reading a book which left me uninspired. I knew that it was a “great” book, but there was something missing. It dawned on me that this feeling was, to a large extent, my own doing. It was MY fault that I wasn’t “getting it,” and it was MY responsibility to return to the book with my own fire, my own ardour. It was MY responsibility to find the greatness that I knew was there. Since that realization (it was an epiphany of sorts), I’ve collected various reminders—pieces of poetry, prose, drama— that it’s MY job to have the work inspire me. The artists have done their jobs. Now it’s my turn. If I can’t feel something intensely, I’ve failed. The work of art hasn’t failed. I’ve failed. Below are some of the passages that I’ve collected over the years that inspire me to bring excitement to any encounter with art that I have. Some of these will make sense to you, despite the fact that they are uncontextualized. Others may not. I’ll highlight those passages that are important to me. John Keats: From His Letters (1817 and 1818) I spent Friday evening with Wells, and went next morning to see Death on the Pale Horse. It is a wonderful picture, when West's age is considered; But there is nothing to be intense upon; no woman one feels mad to kiss, no face swelling into reality -The excellence of every art is its intensity, capable of making all disagreeables evaporate, from their being in close relationship with Beauty and Truth. Examine 'King Lear', and you will find this exemplified throughout; but in this picture we have unpleasantness without any momentous depth of speculation excited, in which to bury its repulsiveness. ---------- [S]everal things dovetailed in my mind, & at once it struck me, what quality went to form a Man of Achievement especially in Literature & which Shakespeare possessed so enormously--I mean Negative Capability, that is when man is capable of being in uncertainties, Mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact & reason-- Coleridge, for instance, would let go by a fine isolated verisimilitude caught from the Penetralium of mystery, from being incapable of remaining content with half knowledge. This pursued through Volumes would perhaps take us no further than this, that with a great poet the sense of Beauty overcomes every other consideration, or rather obliterates all consideration. ---------- A poet is the most unpoetical of any thing in existence; because he has no Identity—he is continually in for—and filling some other Body—The Sun, the Moon, the Sea and Men and Women who are creatures of impulse are poetical and have about them an unchangeable attribute— the poet has none; no identity—he is certainly the most unpoetical of all God’s Creatures. . . . When I am in a room with People if I ever am free from speculating on creations of my own brain, then not myself goes home to myself: but the identity of every one in the room begins to press upon me that, I am in a very little time annihilated—not only among Men; it would be the same in a Nursery of children.
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  • Spring '11
  • Pitts
  • Brooke Hogan, fine isolated verisimilitude, intellectual excitement, blue centerlight pop, fabulous yellow roman

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