The crime of sentimentalism . . .

Yvor Winters, cont’d.

Not for attribution

More from Yvor Winters . . .

This association-of-ideas idea — promoted by 18th-century philosophers Hobbes and Locke and fingered by Winters — seems to absolve the thinker of a need for coherence and unity, leaving him with nothing but emphasis — lots or less of it depending on the weather. In other words, your ideas are great, kid, even if they don’t hold water. They’re yours, aren’t they? And who am I to say you’re wrong? Etc.

Romantic poets — one of whom coined or made memorable the phrase “blithe spirit” — followed Elizabethan poet Sir Philip Sidney and looked in their hearts and wrote. (And there’s something to be said for that.) Winters, however, favored “a logical, plain-spoken poetic,” as reviewer-commentator David Yezzi put it in the June 1997 New Criterion. This meant he vastly preferred the far less known and honored Barnabe Googe to Sidney, both…

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