PN Review Print and Online Poetry Magazine
Most Read... Rebecca WattsThe Cult of the Noble Amateur
(PN Review 239)
Mark FordLetters And So It Goes
Letters from Young Mr Grace
(aka John Ashbery)

(PN Review 239)
Henry Kingon Toby Martinez de las Rivas
(PN Review 244)
Eavan BolandA Lyric Voice at Bay
(PN Review 121)
Vahni CapildeoOn Judging Prizes, & Reading More than Six Really Good Books
(PN Review 237)
M. Wynn ThomasThe Other Side of the Hedge
(PN Review 239)
Next Issue Fire and Tears: a meditation, VAHNI CAPILDEO Grodzinksi’s Kosher Bakery and other poems, MICHAEL BRETT Vienna, MARIUS KOCIEJOWSKI In conversation with John Ash, JEFFREY KAHRS Play it all the way through, first – but slowly, KIRTSY GUNN
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
PNR 250 Poetry Archive Banner
Monthly Carcanet Books
PN Review Blog

This report is taken from PN Review 51, Volume 13 Number 1, September - October 1986.

Comment C.H. Sisson
'Like all these things talked about in the world nowadays,' said Goethe, who had just sat down to a meal, 'it's nothing but a nasty mess, and perhaps none of you knows, where it comes from. I will explain it to you.' Of course nobody did know or at any rate, as is usual at these many meal-times and other social occasions recorded by Eckermann, no one put up his hand. So Goethe explained - on this particular occasion, on 20 June 1827, the doctrine of Grace and Good Works. Another time it would be a point of geology, or the ways trees grow. Eckermann must have been a hand-book for the Victorian father who wanted to be sure that he left no stone unturned in the education of his children, as they marched out with him on a country walk, or sat at table without being so distracted by food that they could not take in some higher matter with it. 'The first thing is to learn to master oneself - incidentally the first of many excerpts taken from Eckermann by Matthew Arnold, who, however, laid them beside comparable dicta from Epictetus and Confucius. But there are more personal touches in the Gespräche. 'You on your heath ...' as Goethe said with kindly contempt to Eckermann, to account for some enjoyable narrowness in the latter's view of the world. 'Dear child' - on another occasion, 11 October 1828, as he took that man of inexhaustible patience to one side to ...

Searching, please wait... animated waiting image