Saturday, February 25, 2006 02/28/06-Aristotle and T.S. Eliot

In today's excerpt, T.S. Eliot comments on Aristotle. Eliot, one of the towering poets and literary critics of the 20th century, is discussing the nature of Aristotle's genius in his article 'The Perfect Critic'. The importance of the statement here is his assertion that great analysis is not the outcome of some repeatable process or method, but instead comes from intelligence alone:

"Aristotle is a person who has suffered from the adherence of persons who must be regarded less as his disciples than as his sectaries. One must be firmly distrustful of accepting Aristotle in a canonical spirit; this is to lose the whole living force of him. He was primarily a man of not only remarkable but universal intelligence... his short and broken treatise he provides an eternal example--not of laws, or even of method, for there is no method except to be very intelligent, but of intelligence itself swiftly operating the analysis of sensation to the point of principle and definition."

T.S. Eliot, The Sacred Wood, University, 1920, pp. 10-1


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