The Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University

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Author QuotedIvor Armstrong Richards
Title QuotedColeridge on Imagination
Date (Year/Month/Day)1941/10/12
ImprintNew York : [s.n.]. 1935
QuotationWhatever may be wrong with I. A. Richards' notions of Coleridge on Imagination, Lucas is far more wrong about Richards. He evidently doesn't understand the first thing about Richards' theory. When Richards takes a metaphor and breaks it down into all the "connections and cross-connections" of meanings it contains, finding scores of relevant things there that make the metaphor powerful and vital and terrifically significant-Lucas is merely scandalized at this excess of subtlety. He has a sort of Baconian distrust of any theory which says a metaphor can contain so much! In the first place, Richards' method is best when it is applied to the most complex and most highly imaginative poetry-works wonderfully on Shakespeare's sonnets and on metaphysical poetry. Lucas, by preferring Hardy to Blake, and by certain other statements of preference in his book (he definitely can't see as much in the metaphysicals either, as in men like Housman) shows at once that he does not really appreciate poetry of this intensity. Consequently, how can he understand a theory which attempts to show how much is packed into the metaphors of this intense and complex verse.
Quotation SourceRun to the mountain: The Story of a Vocation. The journals of Thomas Merton, Volume 1, 1939-1941.; Edited by Patrick Hart, O.C.S.O. / San Francisco : Harper Collins. 1995, p. 437-38
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