Thursday, July 28, 2016

"I cannot divest my appetite"

I cannot divest my appetite of literature, yet I find myself eventually trying it all by Nature - first premises, many call it, but really the crowning results of all, laws, tallies and proofs.

Has it never occurr'd to any one
how the last deciding tests ap-
plicable to a book are entirely
outside of technical and gram-
matical ones, and that any truly
first-class production has little
or nothing to do with the rules
and calibres of ordinary critics?

I have fancied the ocean and the
daylight, the mountain and the
forest, putting their spirit in
a judgment on our books. I have
fancied some disembodied human
soul giving its verdict.

Walt Whitman
Specimen Days
  Final Confessions -
  Literary Tests

i    Doug Mills
iv  Jim Wilson
The New York Times
July 28, 2016

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