One of Brooks’s big arguments in The Well Wrought Urn is that you can’t summarize (or paraphrase) a poem and retain its meaning. The poem says something. Book Source: Digital Library of India Item : Cleanth ioned. The Well Wrought Ursi ALSO BY CLEANTM BROOKS: Modern Poetry end the Trodltioas CLEANTH BROOKS The Wei! Wrought Urn STUDIES IN THE.

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It is a poem which, from a strictly logical point of view, Tennyson may be thought to have blundered into. One of the non-Miltonic echoes which seems clearly resonant to me but which Gray does not mention and of which perhajw he was not conscious is that of the “Dying Emperor Hadrian to his Soul.

It is doubtless possible to elaborate a theory of com- munication which will adequately cover these points.

University of Chicago Press,pp. The Cose of Miss Arabella Fermor 6.

Indeed, I am not sure that this stanza can altogether be defended against the charge that it represents a falling-pff from the delicate but firm precision of the earlier stanzas.

Dr, Johnson, in teasing the metaphysical poets for their fanciful conceits on the subject of tears, might well have added instances from Shakespeare. Its magic of effect defies reduction to any formula.

And the poet,i by pretending to wrougjt the town as real— so real that he can imagine the effect of its silent streets upon the stranger who chances to come into it- has th in urm most powerful way possible its essential reality for nrooks and for us.

The slightness of the similarity, recalling the greatness of the dissimilarity, disgusts us with the attempted comparison. Yet there are better reasons than that of rhetorical vain-glory that have induced poet after poet to choose ambiguity and paradox rather than plain, discursive simplicity. And its repercussions on the theme if we still want to view the poem as a communication of a theme are important.


They were thoroughly aware that woman was a biological organism, but their recognition of this fact did not prevent them from asserting, on occasion, that she was a goddess, never- theless. Its defi- ance testifies to the force which threatens Macbeth and which Macbeth cannot destroy.

The Well Wrought Urn

Garrod, sensing this ironic under- current, seems to interpret it as an element over which Keats was not able to exercise full control. As his latest champion, I. But there are the wrpught lines of the poem: If we are willing to use imaginative understanding, we can come to know the poem as an object— we can share in the experience.

But it is the sun itself bgooks projects the prosaic daylight, Just as the man projects the common day which surrounds him, and upon which he now looks without joy. It is indeed a compliment to say of one that he wears new honors with some awkwardness.

From Cleanth Brooks, The Well-Wrought Urn, ch

Belinda must defeat the men; she must avoid that debacle in which The Knave of Diamonds tries his wily Arts, And wins oh shameful Chance! Indeed, he actually takes pains to stress tlie clash between the Christian and pagan world views; or, rather, while celebrating the pagan view, he refuses to suppress references to the Christian. It represents an organic structure; and the intensity of the total effect is a reflection of the total structure.

Pope knows that the rape has in it more of compliment than of insult, though he naturally hardly expects Belinda to interpret it thus. If we pursue the matter far enough, we come to a point where the distinction lapses.


Brooks vehemently rejected this historical relativism, believing it amounts to “giving up our criteria of good and bad” and thus repudiating “our concept of poetry itself”. Macbeth is uncomfortable in them because he is continually conscious of the fact that they do not belong to him.

Like Gods they fight, nor dread a mortal Wound. I have said that Milton urrn declares his symbolism explicitly, but he comes very close to it in the preamble of each poem: But the continuum of time cannot be partitioned off; the future is implicit in the present.

In short, the notion of reality derives from comparison between images, and to apply it as between images and things that are not images is an illegitimate extension which makes nonsense of it. The Elizabethans, even those who were immersed in brkoks best tradition of Petrarchianism, did not have to wait upon the advent of modern science to find out that women perspired.

Shakespeare, we may be sure, was no such monster of calculation.

The Well Wrought Urn: In the second stanza, the clash between paganism and Christianity becomes quite ex- plicit: That intensity, if justified, must grow out of a sense of the apparent nearness and intimate presence of what is welll beyond reach: In her anger, she is obviously unconscious of the faux pas.