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Shorter Reviews279 Although she deals with naturalism and transcendentalism, she does not relate naturalism to the view that all begins in chaos, as James claimed of experience, with seeds developing vital patterns. Nor does she relate naturalism to the alternative position, called by Santayana "dialectical," that order is eternal; that is, that there must be a principle prior to becoming, as Royce argued. Hughson has ignored the usual history of American philosophy on the ground that Santayana was first a poet and then a philosopher who had been a poet, though one might object to this on the ground that Santayana had written an excellent philosophical treatise, Lotze's System of Philosophy, just prior to the 1890s. The key to understanding Santayana, she argues, is that he experienced conversion (metanoia). That is, his "Catholic" stress on the free contemplative spirit followed from his disillusionment with naturalism. According to Hughson, Santayana's philosophy springs from the necessity for cultural and for personal order; but the modes of ordering diverge sharply. In The Sense of Beauty, we read of two ways to harmony, one "to unify all the given elements, [resulting] in the beautiful; the other to reject all recalcitrant elements, [resulting] in the sublime." Although Santayana's ideal culture is inclusive, his personal life was one of exclusion. Nature has a place in it for all sorts of life. Santayana personally had a place only for thought and art, and he renounced the world. There is a puzzle in Santayana, sometimes identified by the alleged inconsistency of his naturalism and his transcendentalism. Hughson seeks a solution to this academic problem in Santayana's personal history, though Santayana himselfwould not allow that his personal experience explains his system. (Perhaps Hughson ought to ask whether naturalism on its own merits could imply some form of transcendentalism.) What is Santayana's solution to the puzzle? If one holds that nature runs purposelessly, then one is presented with a vain striving for what one knows not. Therefore, "it is the spirit that asks to be saved from that insane predicament." The vital step for Santayana is conversion. Professor Hughson, using the autobiography and the poetry, has made a most convincing contribution towards understanding Santayana's philosophy. It may be hoped that the author will give us a more rounded account of Santayana that will use his life as a key to The Life of Reason and Realms of Being. Emory UniversityPaul G. Kuntz Enemies of Poetry, by W. B. Stanford; 180 pp. London and Boston: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1980, $25.00. An apologia for "the uniqueness and autonomy of poetry" (p. 1) is the concern of W. B. Stanford, the otherwise distinguished editor of the Odyssey and exegete of the Ulysses theme. The "enemies of poetry," both old and new, are the factualists, whether historicists or scientists, and the moralists, 280Philosophy and Literature who are almost inevitably philosophers. Both classes of critics disparage or neglect the "imaginative element, that is the poetic element in literature" (p. 2). They regard poetry as a kind of Lucretian honey to make more palatable the bitter or boring truths and realities which are the poets' primary aim in narration. Fair and incisive scholar that he is, Mr. Stanford carefully points out that he does not object to the use of poetry by historians, philosophers, or scientists, but to the denial of an independent validity to poetry above and beyond its secondary uses. Following Aristotle, he insists that a primary purpose of poetry is pleasure. While recognizing the crucial importance of technĂȘ to the poetic art, he argues throughout that it is Plato's divine mania or Coleridge's "creative imagination" which provides the uniqueness and the substance of poetry. Poetic inspiration as defined by the poets themselves is "an irrational and uncontrollable experience" (p. 22). What for Homer and the other ancient poets was the voice of the Muses is today the unconscious provoked, an ecstatic standing outside of self, sometimes encouraged by stimulants so modest as "Housman's glass of beer at luncheon" or "Schiller's smelling rotten apples" (p. 22). The true enemies of the poet as creative imagist are those kinds of critics, in extreme example, who...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-329X
Print ISSN
0190-0013
Pages
pp. 279-280
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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