Showing posts tagged rudyoldeschulte
(Reblogged from rudyoldeschulte)
A place for “soul making”
The contemporary Romantic poet John Keats (1795–1821) never launched any attack on religion, but he is a darling of the history of doubt—and one of the best poets there ever was. In a letter to his brother, Keats wrote that the poet is no one because the poet takes on the point of view and experience of everyone and everything. That capacity for ambiguity, he asserted, is necessary for all greatness: “At once it struck me what quality went to form a Man of Achievement, especially in Literature, and which Shakespeare possessed so enormously—I mean Negative Capability, that is, when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason.” A few lines later he told his brother, Shelley’s poem is out, and there are words about its being objected to as much as ‘Queen Mab’ was. “Poor Shelley… !!” Keats had a hard life, saw several beloved family members die—and then he himself began spitting blood and knew what it meant. He came to believe that the world was a place for “soul making”; this brutal world is the only way for each of us to become a unique identity. Many Romantic poets, and many modern artists of all types, would explicitly take the transcendence and meaning of art as a substitute for religion. Keats’s Negative Capability and “soul making” world are among the sublime ideas of that tradition.
— from Doubt: A History by Jennifer Michael Hecht
(Photo: jennifermichaelhecht.com)
(Thanks to rudyoldeschulte for his timely tip on this fascinating book and for his other thoughtful comments. His blog Et in Arcadia Ego is, no doubt, a place for soul making.)

A place for “soul making”

The contemporary Romantic poet John Keats (1795–1821) never launched any attack on religion, but he is a darling of the history of doubt—and one of the best poets there ever was. In a letter to his brother, Keats wrote that the poet is no one because the poet takes on the point of view and experience of everyone and everything. That capacity for ambiguity, he asserted, is necessary for all greatness: “At once it struck me what quality went to form a Man of Achievement, especially in Literature, and which Shakespeare possessed so enormously—I mean Negative Capability, that is, when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason.” A few lines later he told his brother, Shelley’s poem is out, and there are words about its being objected to as much as ‘Queen Mab’ was. “Poor Shelley… !!” Keats had a hard life, saw several beloved family members die—and then he himself began spitting blood and knew what it meant. He came to believe that the world was a place for “soul making”; this brutal world is the only way for each of us to become a unique identity. Many Romantic poets, and many modern artists of all types, would explicitly take the transcendence and meaning of art as a substitute for religion. Keats’s Negative Capability and “soul making” world are among the sublime ideas of that tradition.

— from Doubt: A History by Jennifer Michael Hecht

(Photo: jennifermichaelhecht.com)

(Thanks to rudyoldeschulte for his timely tip on this fascinating book and for his other thoughtful comments. His blog Et in Arcadia Ego is, no doubt, a place for soul making.)