The Easy Allusiveness of Literacy

Dubuffet Butterfly

From Pale Fire:

Lines 671-672: The Untamed Seahorse

See Browning’s My Last Duchess.
See it and condemn the fashionable device of entitling a collection of essays or a volume of poetry—or a long poem, alas—with a phrase lifted from a more or less celebrated poetical work of the past. Such titles possess a specious glamor acceptable maybe in the names of vintage wines and plump courtesans but only degrading in regard to the talent that substitutes the easy allusiveness of literacy for original fancy and shifts onto a bust’s shoulders the responsibility for ornateness since anybody can flip through a Midsummer- Night’s Dream or Romeo and Juliet, or, perhaps, the Sonnets and take his pick.

Previously: Terence Koh and Morrissey: Have I Failed?

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: