Monday, 25 January 2010


I must get round to re-reading Clive James's Audenesque verse letters, the ones he published in the 1970s. I read them in the the 70s when I was callow and youthful (though also pale yellow and couth-less) and was very impressed. What I'd like to determine now is whether they are impressive because they really are verse-letters worthy of Auden; or whether they are impressive only to teenagers, and only on the grounds 'look, it all rhymes and shit'. Of course, this latter unacknowledged criterion of aesthetic judgment -- not that a work of art is well done, but that it is done at all -- is much more prevalent in culture than is usually admitted.

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