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)
Tim Parksin conversation with Natalia Ginzburg
(PN Review 49)
Next Issue Peter Scupham remembers Anthony Thwaite in 'Chimes at Midnight' Sinead Morrissey spends A Week in Gdańsk Rebecca Watts talks with Julia Copus about Charlotte Mew Boris Dralyuk and Irina Mashinski evoke Arseny Tarkovsky and his translator Peter Oram Frederic Raphael sends a letter to William Somerset Maugham
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
PNR 250 Poetry Archive Banner
Monthly Carcanet Books
PN Review New Issue

This report is taken from PN Review 233, Volume 43 Number 3, January - February 2017.

Rough Notes for One or Two Undelivered Lectures on T. S. Eliot’s Dante (4) Frank Kuppner
41. A grim position to be forced into, indeed! At the heart of this, I suppose, there lies some sort of aut Caesar aut nihil principle at work. It’s all or nothing – either 100% or stark zero – and to the extent that we cannot think ourselves into the conceptual or emotional systems that the poet himself was inhabiting and writing out of, we shall necessarily be (as it were) unwittingly filling in the blanks with inappropriate or inequivalent matter drawn from [no doubt inferior] mental systems of our own.

42. Of course, one also has the option – very commonly resorted to, I should think – of simply leaving the blanks blank and going elsewhere for one’s spiritual, recreational or intellectual sustenance. There are, after all, degrees of affinity, as of so much else, and, although no-one is getting everything right all the time, even a brief investigation, done in good faith, of surface aspects lying more or less immediately to hand will usually be enough to furnish us with some clues to help us as we try to estimate in advance whether this particular project is likely to be worth proceeding with, or is shaping up to be something of a waste of effort. Not infallibly so, no doubt – but then: who (apart from the obvious exception) is ever infallible about anything? Is this particular example of ever more ancient articulation worth persevering with? And what then about this resonant piece of high-class rhetorical prestidigitation?

43. At which ...

Searching, please wait... animated waiting image