[ilds] Wordsworth dixit

Kennedy Gammage gammage.kennedy at gmail.com
Mon Jan 18 11:18:41 PST 2016


Thought I would share this with the List. I sent this query to Bruce and
David this morning and received a prompt (and typically erudite) response:

Q: Wasn't it Durrell who said something like a writer creates the climate
by which his or her work can be judged or appreciated by readers?

Does that sound at all familiar?

Thanks – Ken

A: Ken, yes, something like that.  Maybe you’re thinking of the epigraph to
Quinx:  “… must itself create the taste by which it is to be judged …
Wordsworth dixit.”  Well, what Wordsworth actually said in a letter to Lady
Beaumont, dated 21 May 1807, was much clearer and reads as follows:  “Never
forget what I believe was observed to you by Coleridge, that every great
and original writer, in proportion as he is great an original, must himself
create the taste by which he is relished.”

Harold Bloom, I believe, would disagree strongly with this assertion and
say it is wrong (tellingly wrong), mainly because it assumes writers of
genius are doing anything completely new.  That is to say, they really
suffer from the “anxiety of influence.”

Happy New Year! - Bruce
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