This is a book not only about poetry but also about the sources of poetry. Poetry is written in language and therefore it is a book about the sources of language. Language is a social product, the instrument whereby men communicate and persuade each other; thus the study of poetry's sources cannot be separated from the study of society. It is a common assumption of literary criticism that the sources of literature are irrelevant or unimportant, and that literature can be completely criticised in terms of literature. It was supposed that matter could be completely described in terms of itself, and since man is made of matter, these terms would describe him also.
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Christopher St John Sprigg , more commonly known by his pseudonym 'Christopher Caudwell', was a British Marxist poet and thinker. In early life, he made his way to Marxism and set about rethinking everything in light of it, from poetry to philosophy to physics, and became a staunch member of the 'Communist Party of Great Britain'. Many vintage texts such as this are becoming increasingly rare and expensive, and it is with this in mind that we are republishing this volume now, in an affordable, modern, high-quality edition.
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Illusion and Reality: A Study of the Sources of Poetry
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Illusion and Reality : A Study of the Sources of Poetry
Illusion and Reality
We have reached the birth of religions. This collective phantasy of poetry which passes into the individual life of each because it is secreted in the web of society, again emerges as that web is differentiated out by division of labour in the form of an elaborate outgrowth, a world of religion separate from the material world of terrestrial life. Poetry is the nascent self-consciousness of man, not as an individual but as sharer with others of a whole world of common emotion. This emotion, because it is common, has for each individual an objective, and therefore pseudo-external existence. Other men confirm by their actions the objectivity of a material world; similarly they seem to confirm a like reality for the phantastic world whose sanctions they recognise. They are projected onto the outside world in animism, orondism and mana at his primitive stage of culture, not because he is one with his environment, but because he has consciously separated himself from it in order to seek his desires in it by hunting or crop gathering. What in fact is this emotional complex of tribal poetry?