I was quoting Blake, but couldn’t remember the exact words, so took out his book of poems and had a browse.
And the illusion of greatness was shattered. I thought he was more of an eccentric, now revered disproportionately to his talent by people who don’t get his work, than he was a great poet. And as an exercise, I will henceforth criticise some poets and writers I like as mercilessly as I can. No intelligence or fairness intended.
Too beautiful, a man should not write as beautifully as Keats. I don’t have a lot to say against Keats, because my favourite flowers are lilacs and lilies-of-the-valley, which means I can handle beauty and sweetness in excessive doses compared to most people, and Keats is really perfectly fine by my standards. I’d be quite glad to be listening to nightingales with him under the cherry tree and compose odes later. I just wish he wouldn’t be so obsessed with the Greek culture, because it makes my head spin the way he refers to them. I suppose it was his youthful Arcadia and he never grew old enough to be tired of it.
If Shelley lived in our time, he’d be a liberal hipster. Definitely vegan, definitely bearded, and with a collection of vinyls by obscure bands. He’d think himself a great revolutionary, urge people to protest against discrimination and be prolific on social media. The only reason we know him today is that he lived 200 years too soon. Presently, he’d be a very common type.
Byron is not a Romantic poet and academics should eventually realise that. The only thing that is Romantic is his life and the white open-buttoned shirts he wore. The fact academics confuse a poet’s life with his work points to the feeble-mindedness of that particular brain group. His poetry is false and his emotion is not sincere. I never believe a word he says, but I do believe Keats and Wordsworth and Shelley. This is the test of the Romantic. Be believable or perish and be banded together with the Augustan writers.
No poet can beat Wordsworth in self-centredness. Reading his Prelude is hilarious. How did people get away with this sort of vanity and self-admiration? He thought he, and he alone, was the true great poet and there was absolutely no other way to be a poet but in the way he was. I Wandered Lonely As a Cloud is a very mediocre poem to be primarily known for too.
He too thought he was the true great poet. There was only his way of writing poetry and inferior ways of writing poetry. He and Wordsworth are two sides of the exact same coin.
A dull moralist who ought have used her unusual life to inspire her work rather than let it revert to moralistic preaching and showing-off of her learning. Deeply insecure person.
His jokes are absolutely not funny. And Kenneth Bragnach’s 4-hour version of Hamlet is every student’s worst punishment. I wish he had written less of kings. It’s very unimaginative of him.
Telling a story to preach your own ideas is cheap. Art should exists for art’s sake, not for spreading one’s ideology. And Jean-Christophe strong? He? He’s an absolute neurotic. Writing like this at the turn of the century is also very dated. One should have written like the modernists to be hip.
And to finish it off with a particularly infantile poem by William Blake, which happens to be one of my favourites:
A flower was offered to me,
Such a flower as May never bore;
But I said ‘I’ve a pretty rose tree,’
And I passed the sweet flower o’er.
Then I went to my pretty rose tree,
To tend her by day and by night;
But my rose turned away with jealousy,
And her thorns were my only delight.