Monday, March 23, 2015

W.H.Auden, The Poet and the City. Attitudes towards poetry......

Today's set questions explore the way the strange beliefs about poetry and poets, which you have studied dating back to Sidney, underwrite various statements.

Read the following quote taken from W.H.Auden's "The Poet and the City" then write your essay on one of the following questions: 

"If a poet meets an illiterate peasant, they may not be able to say much to each other ..."

A) Discuss the underlying arrogance in this statement. What does it reveal about Auden's conception of the poet and his attitude towards  the 'Illiterate peasant'. You may use the word stupid in your essay. 

B) Why cannot an illiterate peasant be a poet? Consider your answer carefully before you start writing.  

C) As a cultural critic, consider the broader implications of the fact that someone could write this and be considered intelligent,  perceptive and worthy of attention.

1 comment:

David X. Novak said...

Can I try for B & C?

B. The question is asked in the negative when obviously the illiterate peasant _can_ be a poet. It has probably happened way more alot than Auden would admit to.

C. Even extremely intelligent, perceptive, and worth-listening-to persons get it wrong sometimes or say the stupidest things. I hate to think if any of our blogs get scoured with a fine-toothed comb... some quotable inanity will surely arise.

A. is harder. Perhaps he means the poet in question might be an arrogant sonofabitch who wouldn't consider bending an ear to the illiterate peasant. (It's obvious William Shakespeare didn't work that way.)