Monday, 31 March 2008

Poets and priests

In Symbolic Exchange and Death Baudrillard notes that 'historically we know that sacerdotal power is based on a monopoly over death and exclusive control over relations with the dead ... Power is established on Death's borders' [130]. Assume a shift now in the way we apprehend death (the prospect of our own, and the fact of others') from theology to art and culture. The symbolic exchange becomes no longer life and death, but rather secular and religious. Or as we might put it, a poet is not the same as a priest. A priest is almost never a poet. (Manley Hopkins wrote poetry, of course; but his religious superiors made him give it up. We can understand why).

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