Rejecting Shelley, did the Moderns suppress not only beautiful poetry, but love itself?

The poet W.H. Auden (1906-1973) once summed up best the divide brought about by “modern” thought:

To the man-in-the-street, who, I’m sorry to say,
Is a keen observer of life,
The word “Intellectual” suggests straight away
A man who’s untrue to his wife.

The topic—of sexual love or sexual morality or the morality of love—is a large one, and contains much that is shadowy and unseen, even as it appeals to the (yuk, yuk, wink, wink) obvious in our imaginations.

Competing religious and secular authorities throughout history have made us wonder: how forbidden should sex be?  Should it be forbidden by an outside agency or forbidden in one’s heart?  How dangerous is love?  Who decides what it is and how it should be fostered, or controlled?  How widespread should love’s influence be?  What forms should it take?   Let’s state right away a simple rule of thumb: too much “freedom” or promiscuity is bad, and too much suppression and shame is bad, and let’s pretend, for the purposes of our present discussion, that this covers the purely social aspect of our subject.

But the topic as it relates to poetry, and creativity, and ultimate happiness, surely benefits from a more rapturous and thorough examination.

Plato’s Phaedrus presents two kinds of love—one is brute and selfish; the other is a divine madness which inspires and creates.  Phaedrus shares with Socrates an essay: the non-lover is more trustworthy than the lover, it argues, because the lover, irrational, jealous, and possessive, ultimately harms the beloved. Socrates agrees, condenses and purifies the rhetoric of the essay into its simply expressed “wisdom,” but then Socrates suddenly regrets he has offended the Love deity, and expands his discourse into a paean on the second kind of mad love which is divine and creative.

The divine aspect of love is what Shelley is talking about in his Defense of Poetry:

The great secret of morals is love; or a going out of our nature, and an identification of ourselves with the beautiful which exists in thought, action, or person, not our own. A man, to be greatly good, must imagine intensely and comprehensively; he must put himself in the place of another and of many others; the pains and pleasure of his species must become his own. The great instrument of moral good is the imagination; and poetry administers to the effect by acting upon the cause. Poetry enlarges the circumference of the imagination by replenishing it with thoughts of ever new delight, which have the power of attracting and assimilating to their own nature all other thoughts, and which form new intervals and interstices whose void forever craves fresh food. Poetry strengthens the faculty which is the organ of the moral nature of man, in the same manner as exercise strengthens a limb. A poet therefore would do ill to embody his own conceptions of right and wrong, which are usually those of his place and time, in his poetical creations, which participate in neither. By this assumption of the inferior office of interpreting the effect, in which perhaps after all he might acquit himself but imperfectly, he would resign a glory in a participation in the cause.

The strange assault on Shelley by the Modernists is perhaps best exemplified by T.S. Eliot’s 1932 Norton Lecture at Harvard; Eliot happily escaped England and his wife to tour and visit the United States in a triumphant homecoming.  The ire and visceral hatred for both Shelley’s “ideas” and his “poetry” expressed by Eliot at Harvard was profound: Old Possum admitted that he literally could not stomach the “adolescent,” Shelley.  Eliot’s attack took the same form as another sexless-American-author-turned-Brit’s attack: on Poe—by Henry James.

But was Eliot right?   We might say Eliot had maturity and Christianity on his side, and this passage by Shelley, (from “Epipsychidion”) which Eliot cites, is problematic. Here is Shelley:

I never was attached to that great sect,
Whose doctrine is, that each one should select
Out of the crowd a mistress or a friend,
And all the rest, though fair and wise, commend
To cold oblivion, though it is in the code
Of modern morals, and the beaten road
Which those poor slaves with weary footsteps tread,
Who travel to their home among the dead
By the broad highway of the world, and so
With one chained friend, perhaps a jealous foe,
The dreariest and the longest journey go.  (Epipsychidion, lines 149-159)

It is important to remember two things: Shelley did not want this view widely desseminated.  He asked his publisher in London to withdraw “Epipsychidion.”   Shelley’s imagination was uncompromising, and the “code of morals” isn’t always the best for everyone, all the time—in terms of change, or acceptance.  Shelley, though a popular author, did believe a ‘class readership’ existed, and who wouldn’t?  Poe, another highly popular author, believed the same thing.  There are things the uneducated will not, and should not understand.  (Of course wanting the uneducated to become educated is a worthy goal; but that’s a different topic.)

But the second thing is more important. Look at the next lines of the poem, and how Shelley expands his argument:

True Love in this differs from gold and clay,
That to divide is not to take away.
Love is like understanding, that grows bright,
Gazing on many truths; ’tis like thy light,
Imagination! which from earth and sky,
And from the depths of human fantasy,
As from a thousand prisms and mirrors, fills
The Universe with glorious beams, and kills
Error, the worm, with many a sun-like arrow
Of its reverberated lightning. Narrow
The heart that loves, the brain that contemplates,
The life that wears, the spirit that creates
One object, and one form, and builds thereby
A sepulchre for its eternity.
Mind from its object differs most in this:
Evil from good; misery from happiness;
The baser from the nobler; the impure
And frail, from what is clear and must endure.
If you divide suffering and dross, you may
Diminish till it is consumed away;
If you divide pleasure and love and thought,
Each part exceeds the whole; and we know not
How much, while any yet remains unshared,
Of pleasure may be gained, of sorrow spared:
This truth is that deep well, whence sages draw
The unenvied light of hope; the eternal law
By which those live, to whom this world of life
Is as a garden ravaged, and whose strife
Tills for the promise of a later birth
The wilderness of this Elysian earth.

Shelley is advocating love as expansive and freeing, rather than narrowing and imprisoning.  It is interesting that Benjamin Franklin expresses the same idea in a letter:

“Madame Brillon,

What a difference, my dear friend, between you and me! You find innumerable faults with me, whereas I see only one fault in you (but perhaps that is the fault of my glasses). I mean this kind of avarice which leads you to seek monopoly on all my affection, and not allow me any for the agreeable ladies of your country.

Do you imagine that it is impossible for my affection (or my tenderness) to be divided without being diminished? You deceive yourself, and you forget the playful manner with which you stopped me. You renounce and totally exclude all that might be of the flesh in our affection, allowing me only some kisses, civil and honest, such as you might grant your little cousins. What am I receiving that is so special as to prevent me from giving the same to others, without taking from what belongs to you?

The sweet sounds brought forth from the pianoforte by your clever hand can be enjoyed by twenty people simultaneously without diminishing at all the pleasure you so obligingly mean for me, and I could, with as little reason, demand from your affection that no other ears but mine be allowed to be charmed by those sweet sounds.


Benjamin [Franklin] 1779

When we theorize on love, it makes sense to begin with relationships between actual people—between lovers, as difficult as the evidence sometimes is to collect.  We hardly know our own hearts—how can we know the hearts of others?  And then we also realize:—how can actual people, such as Benjamin Franklin or Shelley be compared to the average, crippled, superstitious, mortal?   We can leave this aside as inconsequential, if we wish; we could worship the accomplishments of a Franklin, or not; but we should still examine the scientific evidence on the question at hand: is it true that love can divide itself and still increase?  Is this, in fact, how love operates?  And is love—that obsesses and pines over one object, or one person—love?  Which love should we, as a society, prefer?   The “genius” (Shelley, Franklin) examines love mathematically, stripped bare of all morality, and discovers a scientific truth based on the evidence of their own feelings.

Shelley finds the truth of love, a pre-moral, mathematical, truth, and brings it to the world, only to find love’s mathematical truth is morally repellent on a certain level—at least to someone like T.S. Eliot.  Shelley’s truth is vulnerable, since it is not actualized by jealous and superstitious humankind yet; Eliot’s charge of “adolescence” rings true for those who agree with Eliot: Shelley is guilty of immature over-idealizing.  But is Shelley guilty of this?  Here we are at a great philosophical and spiritual crossroads.

The modern temper is mostly on Eliot’s side.  But we take our stand with Shelley. Here is Shelley, again, and Eliot had access to this; as we see Shelley fill out his ideas on the subject of free love, we have to ask, are these ideas “repellent” and “adolescent?”  Perhaps there is some excessive and hyperbolic Rousseau-ism at work here, but Shelley is thinking the problem through:

Prostitution is the legitimate offspring of marriage and its accompanying errors. Women, for no other crime than having followed the dictates of a natural appetite, are driven with fury from the comforts and sympathies of society. It is less venial than murder; and the punishment which is inflicted on her who destroys her child to escape reproach is lighter than the life of agony and disease to which the prostitute is irrecoverably doomed. Has a woman obeyed the impulse of unerring nature—society declares war on her, pitiless and eternal war: she must be the tame slave, she make no reprisals; theirs is the right of persecution, hers the duty of endurance. She lives a life of infamy: the loud and bitter laugh of scorn scares her from all return. She dies of long and lingering disease: yet she is in fault, she is the criminal, she the froward and untameable child—and society, forsooth, the pure and virtuous matron, who casts her as an abortion from her undefiled bosom! Society avenges herself on criminals of her own creation; she is employed in anathematising the vice of today which yesterday she was the most zealous to teach. Thus is formed one tenth of the population of London: meanwhile the evil is twofold. Young men, excluded by the fanatical idea of chastity from the society of modest and accomplished women, associate with these vicious and miserable beings, destroying thereby all those exquisite and delicate sensibilities whose existence cold-hearted worldlings have denied; anniilating all genuine passion, and debasing that to a selfish feeling which is the excess of generosity and devotedness. Their body and mind alike crumble into a hideous wreck of humanity; idiocy and disease become perpetuated in their miserable offspring, and distant generations suffer for the bigoted morality of their forefathers. Chastity is a monkish and evangelical superstition, a greater foe to natural temperance than unintellectual sensuality; it strikes at the root of all domestic happiness, and consigns more than half of the human race to misery, that some few may monopolise according to law. A system could not well have been devised more studiously hostile to human happiness than marriage.

I conceive that, from the abolition of marriage, the fit and natural arrangement of sexual connection would result. I by no means assert that the intercourse would be promiscuous: on the contrary; it appears, from the relation of parent to child, that this union is generally of long duration, and marked above all others with generosity and self-devotion. But this is a subject premature to discuss. That which will result from the abolition of marriage, will be natural and right; because choice and change will be exempted from restraint.

One can disagree with this (from Shelley’s Queen Mab).  Thomas Eliot’s puritanical hanging of Shelley, however, and the modernist hatred of Shelley in general which it engendered, seems to belong to that ubiquitous tribe of thinkers who narrowly blame; they seek diminishment, purity, sterility, punishment, retrograde, and return; if someone is beautiful, they assume them shallow; if someone is hopeful, they assume them ignorant; if someone is joyful, they assume them stupid; if somone is enterprising, they assume them selfish; two can never gain in their eyes; two can never be happy—one has to suffer if another is happy, if one is happy, the other has to suffer; all gain implies a loss somewhere else and they are satisfied with all systems that reflect this; they would rather be wicked in their realism than beautiful ideally; their world-view makes envy and jealousy normal; they seek to counter all pleasure with pain, since it is a doctrine that begins in their mind and talks its way into their heart—or, some worldly affliction breeds it in their heart and it then melts their mind; they are certain the amount of joy must always equal the amount of sorrow. Life is not an adventure, but a rule to be obeyed; fear, avoidance, and accusation drive them, not love, hope, and endurance.

This is not to say all are not afflicted by the real, or that sorrow and pain do not have a real existence; Shelley’s poetry contains all sorts of reference to sorrow and pain—the loving and hopeful do not have to be naive—but love and hope are making active war against sorrow and sameness in Shelley; Shelley is the optimist, Eliot, the pessimist; Shelley’s poetry, thought, taste, and philosophy as a whole is triumphant, and to call it “adolescent” is adolescent.

Now we have to come to terms with our own era: Eliot reviled Shelley at Harvard in 1932; in 1933, Eliot made his anti-Jewish speech at the University of Virginia; as the decade went on, Eliot’s bosom-buddy Pound began broadcasting from fascist Italy; their New Critic associates continued to hit Shelley (and another genius, Poe, was a target, too)—it was a poetry establishment pile-on, as the Creative Writing business and “the new” became cynical allies in the hands of Pound’s and Eliot’s lackeys.

As WW II raged, Eliot must have thought, “my criticism has come true: the 19th century really is naive, and poets like Shelley are adolescent—compared to the grown-up horrors of the 20th century! Take that, you wimpy romantic poet bitches!”  And yes, perhaps “adolescent” Shelley could not have imagined Pound and Eliot’s 20th century.  And we have to leave off Shelley, and we can’t go back.

But when we look simply at Shelley’s skill as a poet, and the beautiful ideas behind the poetry, I’ll go back.

Edgar Poe is a chaste author, and rarely touches on sex, but Poe was more like the generous Shelley in his views on the morality of love than has previously been understood.  Look at Poe’s tale, Eleanora, which offers a beautiful alternative to Stephen King and the nerd-revenge sensibility—which has grown in the last 50 years into a giant, gory, many-layered industry of horribly bad taste.

In the three excerpts from the story below, Poe first sets up the sexual union; then Eleanora dies and the narrator makes a promise, and, finally, the narrator finds someone new.

The puritantical, Stephen King, revenge-theme never appears.

In Poe’s tale, Shelleyan love triumphs.

Hand in hand about this valley, for fifteen years, roamed I with Eleonora before Love entered within our hearts. It was one evening at the close of the third lustrum of her life, and of the fourth of my own, that we sat, locked in each other’s embrace, beneath the serpent-like trees, and looked down within the waters of the River of Silence at our images therein. We spoke no words during the rest of that sweet day; and our words even upon the morrow were tremulous and few.


She had seen that the finger of Death was upon her bosom — that, like the ephemeron, she had been made perfect in loveliness only to die; but the terrors of the grave to her, lay solely in a consideration which she revealed to me, one evening at twilight, by the banks of the River of Silence. She grieved to think that, having entombed her in the Valley of the Many-Colored Grass, I would quit forever its happy recesses, transferring the love which now was so passionately her own to some maiden of the outer and every-day world. And, then and there, I threw myself hurriedly at the feet of Eleonora, and offered up a vow, to herself and to Heaven, that I would never bind myself in marriage to any daughter of Earth — that I would in no manner prove recreant to her dear memory, or to the memory of the devout affection with which she had blessed me. And I called the Mighty Ruler of the Universe to witness the pious solemnity of my vow. And the curse which I invoked of Him and of her, a saint in Helusion, should I prove traitorous to that promise, involved a penalty the exceeding great horror of which will not permit me to make record of it here. And the bright eyes of Eleonora grew brighter at my words; and she sighed as if a deadly burthen had been taken from her breast; and she trembled and very bitterly wept; but she made acceptance of the vow, (for what was she but a child?) and it made easy to her the bed of her death. And she said to me, not many days afterwards, tranquilly dying, that, because of what I had done for the comfort of her spirit she would watch over me in that spirit when departed, and, if so it were permitted her return to me visibly in the watches of the night; but, if this thing were, indeed, beyond the power of the souls in Paradise, that she would, at least, give me frequent indications of her presence; sighing upon me in the evening winds, or filling the air which I breathed with perfume from the censers of the angels. And, with these words upon her lips, she yielded up her innocent life, putting an end to the first epoch of my own.


Yet the promises of Eleonora were not forgotten; for I heard the sounds of the swinging of the censers of the angels; and streams of a holy perfume floated ever and ever about the valley; and at lone hours, when my heart beat heavily, the winds that bathed my brow came unto me laden with soft sighs; and indistinct murmurs filled often the night air; and once — oh, but once only! I was awakened from a slumber, like the slumber of death, by the pressing of spiritual lips upon my own.

But the void within my heart refused, even thus, to be filled. I longed for the love which had before filled it to overflowing. At length the valley pained me through its memories of Eleonora, and I left it forever for the vanities and the turbulent triumphs of the world.

I found myself within a strange city, where all things might have served to blot from recollection the sweet dreams I had dreamed so long in the Valley of the Many-Colored Grass. The pomps and pageantries of a stately court, and the mad clangor of arms, and the radiant loveliness of woman, bewildered and intoxicated my brain. But as yet my soul had proved true to its vows, and the indications of the presence of Eleonora were still given me in the silent hours of the night. Suddenly, these manifestations they ceased; and the world grew dark before mine eyes; and I stood aghast at the burning thoughts which possessed — at the terrible temptations which beset me; for there came from some far, far distant and unknown land, into the gay court of the king I served, a maiden to whose beauty my whole recreant heart yielded at once — at whose footstool I bowed down without a struggle, in the most ardent, in the most abject worship of love. What indeed was my passion for the young girl of the valley in comparison with the fervor, and the delirium, and the spirit-lifting ecstasy of adoration with which I poured out my whole soul in tears at the feet of the ethereal Ermengarde? — Oh, bright was the seraph Ermengarde! and in that knowledge I had room for none other. — Oh, divine was the angel Ermengarde! and as I looked down into the depths of her memorial eyes, I thought only of them — and of her.

I wedded; — nor dreaded the curse I had invoked; and its bitterness was not visited upon me. And once — but once again in the silence of the night, there came through my lattice the soft sighs which had forsaken me; and they modelled themselves into familiar and sweet voice, saying:

“Sleep in peace! — for the Spirit of Love reigneth and ruleth, and, in taking to thy passionate heart her who is Ermengarde, thou art absolved, for reasons which shall be made known to thee in Heaven, of thy vows unto Eleonora.”


  1. David said,

    March 4, 2012 at 6:57 pm

    Fascinating post, Tom. Well done. Of course, I must disagree with Shelley’s case against marriage in his notes to Queen Mab, but not because I find him shallow or adolescent. Quite the opposite. The problem is that Shelley bases his rejection of Christian morals upon a caricature. As G.K. Chesterton — a man devoted to one wife and filled to the brim with tender love for his fellow man — once observed, Christianity hasn’t been tried and found wanting: it has been found difficult and left untried. Shelley never gave Christianity a try.

    Christian love is not the cramped, hypocritical thing that Shelley imagined it to be. Christian love is open to the Shelleyian ideal of diffusive love and indeed surpasses it, although it limits the sexual expression of love to a man and wife bound by the life-giving sacrament of matrimony. Christian love — which includes but is not reduced to sex — exceeds the Shelleyian ideal by virtue of its orientation to Divine Love Incarnate, Jesus Christ:

    The joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of the men of this age, especially those who are poor or in any way afflicted, these are the joys and hopes, the griefs and anxieties of the followers of Christ. Indeed, nothing genuinely human fails to raise an echo in their hearts. For theirs is a community composed of men. United in Christ, they are led by the Holy Spirit in their journey to the Kingdom of their Father and they have welcomed the news of salvation which is meant for every man. That is why this community realizes that it is truly linked with mankind and its history by the deepest of bonds. (Second Vatican Council, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World)

    That Shelley might have found his way — were it not for his tragic, early death — to a true and unbiased understanding of Christianity is suggested by this passage from the Defense of Poetry:

    The poetry in the doctrines of Jesus Christ, and the mythology and institutions of the Celtic conquerors of the Roman Empire, outlived the darkness and the convulsions connected with their growth and victory, and blended themselves in a new fabric of manners and opinion. It is an error to impute the ignorance of the dark ages to the Christian doctrines or the predominance of the Celtic nations.

    Shelley was a work in progress. Despite his atheism, he was, I think, progressing in the right direction. There is certainly much more to his doctrine of “free love” than is seen by libertines and puritans — or was even seen by Shelley himself.

    By the way, I read “Eleanora” the other night. A lovely story!


  2. David said,

    March 4, 2012 at 8:11 pm

    She lives a life of infamy: the loud and bitter laugh of scorn scares her from all return. She dies of long and lingering disease: yet she is in fault, she is the criminal, she the froward and untameable child—and society, forsooth, the pure and virtuous matron, who casts her as an abortion from her undefiled bosom! Society avenges herself on criminals of her own creation …

    Echoes of Frankenstein here?

    • thomasbrady said,

      March 5, 2012 at 5:27 pm


      Yes. Romanticism did have its “Adorno moments”—the hyperbolic blaming of “society” for all ills. Shelley’s radicalism, however, never becomes hyperbolic for me, because he always keeps the object in view; as a poet, he knew not to rant abstractly, and blame ‘society’ in every case for every ill.

      • Paul said,

        March 5, 2012 at 8:10 pm

        Yes, he moves form calling the prostitutes products of society to “vicious miserable beings” who would destroy the delicate sensibilities of the fine young men who visited them. And this can only be stopped by the abolition of marriage. Hmn.

        Here is Adorno:

        Et dona ferentes.—-Philistine German freedom-mongers have always prided themselves particularly on the poem about the God and the bayadere, with its closing fanfare to that effect that immortals bear aloft wanton children in arms of fire. The approved broad-mindedness is not to be trusted. It fully adopts the bourgeois judgement on venal love; the effect of God-the-Fatherly understanding and forgiveness is attained only by vilifying the charming object of redemption with horrified fascination as a profligate. The act of grace is tied to reservations that make it illusory. In order to deserve redemption—-as if a deserved redemption were one at all—-the girl herself is allowed to partake of ‘the couch’s pleasing celebrations’ ‘not for pleasure or for gain’. Well, for what else? Does not the pure love foisted on her crudely disrupt the magic with which Goethe’s dance rhythms entwine her figure, a magic, to be sure, not subsequently effaced even by the talk of deep perdition. But it is imperative that she be made into one of those good souls who have forgotten themselves but once. To be admitted to the preserves of humanity, the harlot, for whom humanity vaunts its tolerance, must first stop being one. The gods look in pleasure on penitent sinners. The whole expedition to the place where the last houses are is a kind of metaphysical slumming party, a show put on by patriarchal meanness to puff itself up twice over, first by widening beyond all measure the gap between masculine spirit and feminine nature, and then by decking out the total power that enables it to revoke this self-made difference as supreme goodness. The bourgeois needs the bayadere, not merely for pleasure, which he grudges her, but to feel himself a god. The nearer he gets to the edge of his domain and the more he forgets his dignity, the more blatant becomes the ritual of power. The night has its joy, but the whore is burned notwithstanding. The rest is the Idea.

        • thomasbrady said,

          March 5, 2012 at 11:01 pm

          There you go…Adorno is obsessed with the hypocrisy of the “bourgeois.” That’s the only thing he can see.

          Likewise, you cannot fathom why Shelley could have nothing but sympathy for the harlot, but at the same time call the harlot “vicious and miserable.” That’s not allowed!

          Adorno cannot fathom such distinctions, either: one must love the harlot as a harlot: end of story. How superior and noble is Adorno!! No hypocrisy in him!

          Shelley offers the honest, nuanced truth. Adorno objects with nothing but stupidity and ire.

          • Paul said,

            March 6, 2012 at 1:50 pm

            Yes, I am familiar with ambiguity, Thomas, and I’m sure Adorno was as well!

            I do see your point, but Shelley’s ‘sympathy’ and understanding of the prostitutes seems rather more mired in pity and fear rather than Adorno’s to me. Both are honest, and neither to me seems ‘stupid’!

            • Paul said,

              March 6, 2012 at 2:08 pm

              Extra rather there…

              Adorno is not a poet. Shelley is putting himself into a role – and it is of the well-bred young man, not of the prostitute. Adorno’s position is something an uneducated whore would understand better, in different terms. In the end, to me, he is more sympathetic and nuanced – minus the visceral language that would indicate that. That’s where the ambiguity lies.

          • Cameron said,

            January 10, 2020 at 8:52 pm

            This is silly. Eliot is “sexless” yeah right. Lazy writing. Also, though Shelley is a good poet, he is a second rate Romantic, Eliot is a first-rate Modernest.

            • thomasbrady said,

              January 10, 2020 at 10:47 pm


              I don’t think Eliot had sex. Can you prove me wrong? That’s not fair, I know. But look, if one is making a comparison between Shelley and Eliot, for God’s sake, it seems to me for the sake of argument, one can call Eliot “sexless.” D.H. Lawrence would have approved, I believe. You know that Eliot allowed Bertrand Russell to sleep with his wife, so they could get a deal on rent from him? Anyway, I completely agree that Eliot is “a first-rate Modernist.” But I might say it’s lazy to say that “Shelley is a second rate Romantic.” What does that even mean? Shelley is one of the greatest writers who ever lived.

        • thomasbrady said,

          March 6, 2012 at 4:56 pm


          Note how Adorno makes “bourgeois judgement” and “bourgeois needs” the vital issue.

          “The approved broad-mindedness is not to be trusted. It fully adopts the bourgeois judgement on venal love; the effect of God-the-Fatherly understanding and forgiveness is attained only by vilifying the charming object of redemption with horrified fascination as a profligate. The act of grace is tied to reservations that make it illusory.” –Adorno

          Adorno is putting the cart before the horse: bourgeois forgiveness only occurs because of bourgeois villification. But how can the forgiveness exist without the wrong? One cannot forgive, according to Adorno— bourgeois (or any kind of) forgiveness will always be wrong in Adorno’s eyes.

          “To be admitted to the preserves of humanity, the harlot, for whom humanity vaunts its tolerance, must first stop being one.” –Adorno

          Well, of course! .

          “The bourgeois needs the bayadere, not merely for pleasure, which he grudges her, but to feel himself a god.” —Adorno

          This is mere insinuation and hyperbole. Adorno is fixated on hating the bourgeois.


  3. Paul said,

    March 4, 2012 at 10:54 pm

    Constance. – Everywhere bourgeois society insists on the exertion of the will; only love is supposed to be involuntary, the pure immediacy of the feelings. In the longing for this, which means the dispensation from labor, the bourgeois idea of love transcends bourgeois society. However by unmediatedly putting up what is true as what is universally untrue, it inverts the former into the latter. It is not merely that pure feelings, as far as they are still possible in the economically determined system, socially turn thereby into the alibi for the domination of interest and testifies to a humanity, which does not exist. But rather the involuntariness of love itself, even where it is not arranged quite practically in advance, contributes to that whole, as soon as it establishes itself as a principle. If love is supposed to portray in society a better one, then it is capable of doing so not as a peaceful enclave, but only in conscious resistance. That however requires just that moment of caprice, which the bourgeois, to who love can never be natural enough, forbids it. Love means the capacity to not allow immediacy to wither from the ubiquitous pressure of mediation, of the economy, and in such fidelity it is mediated in itself, as tenacious counter-pressure. Those who love are only those who have the energy to hold fast to love. If social advantage, sublimated, still preforms the sexual drive-impulse, causes, through a thousand shadings of what is confirmed by the social order, now this person and now that one to appear spontaneously attractive, then the attraction which has once taken root contradicts this, by persisting where the gravity of society, above all in the intrigue which is regularly taken into society’s service, does not wish it to be. The test of the feelings is whether they endure beyond the feeling through duration, even if it were only obsession. The kind which, under the appearance [Schein] of unreflective spontaneity and proud of its presumed uprightness, rely completely and utterly on what it considers to be the voice of the heart, and runs away, as soon as it no longer thinks it perceives those voices, is in such sovereign independence precisely the tool of society. Passively, without knowing it, it registers the numbers, which roll out of the roulette wheel of their interests. By betraying the beloved, it betrays itself. The command of fidelity, which society legislates, is the means of unfreedom, but only through fidelity does freedom realize its insubordination against the command of society.

    • thomasbrady said,

      March 5, 2012 at 5:17 pm


      Adorno. Ugh. His hatred for “bourgeois society” was so all-consuming as to be cartoonish. I wouldn’t believe a single thing he says.

  4. Paul said,

    March 5, 2012 at 8:00 pm

    Well then, you are a complete moron.

  5. Paul said,

    March 5, 2012 at 8:13 pm

    A single thing? Surely you are joking? I will assume you jest.

  6. Paul said,

    March 5, 2012 at 8:33 pm

    Oh, and you say you despise the mfa system, and its awarding its students for their pedantic ass-kissing, and yet the only person you seem to be happy to talk to around here is the submissive and eager-to-please David. Well, I will leave you two alone!

  7. Paul said,

    March 5, 2012 at 8:36 pm

    David has been programmed!

  8. thomasbrady said,

    March 5, 2012 at 10:51 pm


    You quoted a long passage of Adorno: admiringly, I assume.

    Would you like to explain to us what he’s talking about?

    Just take this last sentence:

    The command of fidelity, which society legislates, is the means of unfreedom, but only through fidelity does freedom realize its insubordination against the command of society.

    What does “society” refer to? The church? The state? Culture? And “is the means of unfreedom” is very awkward. “The command of fidelity is the means of unfreedom.” But now comes the kicker: “only through fidelity does freedom realize its insubordination against the command of society.” Note the gross abstractions: Freedom realizes its (freedom’s) insubordination against the command of society (“command of society?”) through fidelity. For Adorno, it all revolves around “insubordination,” which is how freedom (in the abstract) realizes itself. Yet…yet…”the command of fidelity is the means of unfreedom.” So Adorno seems really hung up on “the command” of “fidelity” as opposed to “fidelity. The whole passage boils down to “insubordination” against a “command” which turns out to be an impossible “Insubordination” because “fidelity” (or does he mean “the command of fidelity”) is “the means of unfreedom.”

    How can one take this rhetoric seriously without becoming terribly depressed, or going insane?

    My critique is based on understanding, Paul. And you really shouldn’t get so upset. It’s only my opinion.

    “Dave has been programmed!” = insane.

    See what I mean, Paul?

    You’ve been reading too much Adorno!

    Try some Shelley.


  9. Paul said,

    March 6, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    It seems very simple to me. He is saying that love and patience is more of an insubordination against society than consuming persons with a fickleness for novelty which reifies it.

    It’s true I need to read more Shelley though!

  10. Paul said,

    March 6, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    And this a paradox, because this “fidelty” is what society appears to legislate (“means of unfreedom”) – tho it does so only in name and by law.

  11. Paul said,

    March 6, 2012 at 2:57 pm

    And to this “society” (to whom love can never be “natural” enough) it is indeed “unnatural”.

    What is “society”? Good question! All of the things you’ve mentioned, and more! But it is true that at moments it is just everything we hate…

  12. Paul said,

    March 6, 2012 at 3:20 pm

    Oh, and I think Shelley’s view on free love parallels Adorno’s in more ways than you are acknowledging. Personally, I am in agreement with his ideals – but I think Adorno points out how the practice of free love – when it does not spring from genuine passion, but from boredom and cynicism -can become as depressing and “insane” as society itself.

  13. Paul said,

    March 6, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    Do forgive for so me for so many posts, and any fuzziness in my thinking here. I’ve not yet had my morning coffee, and I am merely a layperson.

  14. Paul said,

    March 6, 2012 at 4:42 pm

    Thanks for your thoughts on the matter, David.

  15. thomasbrady said,

    March 6, 2012 at 4:42 pm


    Thanks for staying with me. I know I can be abrasive, but my words are not just for shock; I can’t help it—I have an involuntary aversion to Adorno.

    My chief issue with him is his obsession with rejecting “society.” Why can’t we just leave “society” aside, and concentrate on free love and its implications for human beings? “Society” will always exist where there is more than one person involved. Why should “insubordination” to the “commands of society” be paramount—when “society” is the default setting of more than one human?

    If, as you say, “love and patience is more of an insubordination against society…” then:— “insubordination against society” becomes primary, and “love and patience” secondary, which is absurd!

    Shelley, who could also be called a Leftist, speaks quite plainly about the “selfish interests of the few;” Adorno, however, faults the many—he identifies “bourgeois society” as evil; Adorno is one of the “few” who would be reviled by Shelley. Adorno betrays himself as one of the “few” who seek to manipulate others, precisely because he finds fault with “bourgeois society,” the pleasure-seeking, unthinking middle classes—whom Shelley would never condemn, since pleasure-seeking, or the “pursuit of happiness” should be the measure of a good society. Adorno’s underlying philosophy is twisted and corrupt. On this simple point, I trust Shelley and do not trust Adorno.


    • Paul said,

      March 6, 2012 at 4:51 pm

      Strange, when I first read this it was seemingly David’s icon. Well, we disagree. Perhaps I will get back to this later. Your language in the last paragraph is indeed abrasive.

      • thomasbrady said,

        March 6, 2012 at 4:58 pm

        Paul, you are not losing your mind—I am not David. LOL

        I was not ‘logged in’ when I first posted my reply—that’s now corrected.


        • Paul said,

          March 6, 2012 at 5:00 pm

          Oh, sorry. Well, I will get back to this later.


  16. Paul said,

    March 6, 2012 at 4:57 pm

    Anyway, if you are signing your name to this, there is no need for further dialogue.

    • thomasbrady said,

      March 6, 2012 at 5:04 pm

      I have no idea what you are objecting to. I have been crystal clear on the matter and it is more than obvious Adorno is doing precisely what I am accusing him of doing. But have it your way.

      • Paul said,

        March 6, 2012 at 5:07 pm

        No, I’ll return to the above. This is when I was confused by the anonymous postings.

  17. Mark said,

    March 6, 2012 at 5:04 pm


    I won’t touch the debate about Adorno (as I know you haven’t read him) but this post is a very sad affair.

    If you actually read the works you commented on your posts would be far more interesting. If you used your own critical reading skills rather than simply accepting the deeply flawed wisdom so prevalent in literary circles your posts wouldn’t be such a laugh.

    You write like an MFA grad, Tom… a lazy one, at that.

    Shelley would be so disappointed to read such tedious bleatings from such a willing little sheep like yourself.

    • thomasbrady said,

      March 6, 2012 at 5:34 pm

      Thanks for your astute analysis, Mark! Your opinions re: Shelley & Adorno are very interesting!

      • Mark said,

        March 6, 2012 at 5:52 pm


        I’ve seen you defer criticisms in this manner before. It’s a little funny but mostly just pathetic.

        Believe me, your narrow, little mind couldn’t handle my “opinions re: Shelly & Adorno.” I’m not talking about them, I’m talking about you.

        Maybe one day, when you learn how to use your critical faculties, I’ll teach you about poetry and philosophy but for now let’s just try and teach you how to form a cogent argument. I still have hope for you, Tom: remember when I taught you what “burden of proof” meant? You’ll always be a lapdog, reliant on other people’s ideas, but at least that showed me that you can be trained!

        Hugs and Kisses,

  18. Mark said,

    March 6, 2012 at 6:01 pm

    I think the funniest line is this one:

    “The ire and visceral hatred for both Shelley’s “ideas” and his ”poetry” expressed by Eliot at Harvard was profound: Old Possum admitted that he literally could not stomach the “adolescent,” Shelley.”

    Your idea of “visceral hatred” is a single word quoted out of context??? Methinks you haven’t actually read the Norton Lectures, Tommy! Where’s the “ire” that’s so (lol) “profound”??? Stop being such a drama queen! Any of the poets of antiquity would smack you around for resorting to such laughable histrionics and such misleading rhetoric.


    • thomasbrady said,

      March 6, 2012 at 6:27 pm


      Here’s Eliot on Shelley

      “The ideas of Shelley seem to me always to be ideas of adolescence
      […] for most of us, Shelley has marked an intense
      period before maturity, but for how many does Shelley remain
      the companion of age? […] I find his ideas repellent; and the
      difficulty of separating Shelley from his ideas and beliefs is
      still greater than with Wordsworth. And the biographical interest
      which Shelley has always excited makes it difficult to read
      the poetry without remembering the man: and the man was
      humourless, pedantic, self-centred, and sometimes almost a
      black guard.”


      • Mark said,

        March 6, 2012 at 6:43 pm

        Oh, I know, Tom. I’ve actually read the whole tedious thing!

        The point is that none of it sounds like “visceral hatred” to me… even with you having carefully excised all the parts where Eliot praises Shelley’s poetry (LOL) it’s pretty mild. It barely even counts as “ire”! If I cared even slightly more I could go in and copy-paste all the parts where Eliot praises Shelley and give the exact opposite picture. You (and David) don’t seem to realize it but this is where your laughable bias against complex thought breaks down.

        Your quote from Eliot sounds like a very conservative writer responding to the poetics of a very radical writer in a fairly moderate fashion. Nothing more, nothing less. Seriously, Gravesy, stop being such a drama queen. Where the hell is the “profound” “hatred” I’ve been hearing about???

        This is why I’m always a bit bugged by the prevailing wisdom that “the Modernists hated the Romantics” – it’s just a bunch of trumped-up bullshit to make an exciting narrative out of what is essentially just a continuation of an existing paradigm (Yeats, Crane, Olson and Pound would all agree to this… obviously none of them are Modernists seeing as “Modernists hate Romantics”).

        Obviously certain writers and critics in the Modernist camp are to blame but it’s always disappointing when the sheep swallow it wholesale without asking any questions. You are a sheep, Tom. You ought to think for yourself sometimes.

        • thomasbrady said,

          March 6, 2012 at 8:42 pm


          “none of it sounds like ‘visceral hatred’ to me…”

          You are very naive when it comes to how literary reputations are established and traded. OK, Eliot’s eyes were not red and he was not grinding his teeth when he spoke. Perhaps Eliot was incapable of real emotion. But you miss the point. You seem to have trouble reading simple meaning and understanding the signal Eliot was sending. You seem not to have understood how Pound, Eliot and the New Critics systematically shredded the ideals of Romantic poetry. Have you read Robert Penn Warren and John Crowe Ransom on Shelley? Didn’t we have this discussion before? We went over it point by point, and you were beaten and embarrassed? Are you really back for more abuse?


          • Mark said,

            March 7, 2012 at 1:22 am


            More conspiracy theories that you can’t back up, Tom?

            Everybody put on your tin-foil hats… This could get ugly!

            • thomasbrady said,

              March 7, 2012 at 2:30 am


              These men were associated with each other and lauded each other and attacked great poetry of the recent past, which, put beside theirs, made them look like frauds. Warren, Brooks, Ransom, Tate, were all from the same Fugitive magazine. Warren and Brooks published the most influential poetry textbook, “Understanding Poetry,” in the second half of the 20th century—it specifially praises Pound and Wiliams and makes fun of Poe. Robert Lowell and Randall Jarrell were roommates as students of Ransom. Ransom attacked Byron as old-fashioned—Ransom and Wallace Stevens praised one another in literary journals. Ford Madox Ford, the first guy to meet Pound off the boat in England and show him around, later came to the United States to stay with Tate and teach Creative Writing, helping Tate and Ransom, and fellow Rhodes Scholar Paul Engle to open up that whole operation. Robert Lowell was one of the first ‘celebrity’ authors to teach at Iowa. Warren gave a lecture making fun of Shelley. Eliot—we already know him. His friend Auden came to the U.S. to teach creative writing and helped make the careers of Ashbery and O’Hara. Williams not only knew Pound, but ran in the same Arensberg/Kreymborg clique which included Wallace Stevens and Louis Ginsberg, Allen’s dad. Then there was the Dial magazine clique in the 20s, which gave big annual awards to Eliot, Pound, Williams, Cummings, and Moore. Moore gives us Bishop. Then we have Yvor Winters (Poe hater) who opened up the west coast of creative writing at Stanford. Winters was associated with the Fugitives, who were “Southern Agrarian” right-wing crazies, by the way, before settling in as “New Critics.” We know Pound and Eliot’s right-wing pedigrees. The Beats were children who learned from their parents; Ginsberg’s father Louis and mother Naomi spent a summer at a Marxist nudist camp. Louis Ginsberg’s poetry is forgotten because Louis did not fit the modernist model: his poetry rhymed and he was a socialist.
              We can’t forget the Harvard connection: William James teaching Gertrude Stein and influencing classmates Eliot and Stevens. William James was Emerson’s godson, and this takes us right back to the Emerson v. Poe quarrel in the mid-19th century, which has much to do with the entire debate. F.O. Matthiessen was professor at Harvard when Ashbery and Creeley were there; Matthiessen wrote “American Renaissance” which placed Emerson and Whitman at the center of American Letters and dumped Poe; Matthiessen’s lover was former director of the Arts Student League of New York, the modern art connection, which was so important to modernist poetry.

              Not a conspiracy, Mark. Just one big happy family.


  19. Des said,

    March 6, 2012 at 7:49 pm

    Mark, please can you copy and paste a paragraph or two from the lecture, in which Eliot praises Shelley.

    I almost leapt in to Tom’s defence, until after writing a paragraph or two, found that your argument was stronger than I first thought. The one word, I take it, that you say Tom has taken out of context, is ‘repellent’?


    • thomasbrady said,

      March 6, 2012 at 8:45 pm

      As you can see, “repellent” is Eliot’s exact term for Shelley’s “ideas.”

      I would like someone, anyone, to defend Eliot’s charge, without making a fool of himself.

      Which ideas of Shelley’s are “repellent” and why?

  20. Des said,

    March 6, 2012 at 7:51 pm

    Sorry Mark, I missed out the question mark at the end of the first sentence, that made me appear a tad presumptious.

  21. Des said,

    March 6, 2012 at 10:48 pm

    This is what I initially wrote before deciding not to post it and ask Mark to copy and paste the praise he refers to:

    “To be fair, as a neutral observer of this back and forth between Mark and Tom, in which Mark arrogates himself a role of the most intellectually gifted participant (by far) – whilst producing no evidence to us, the readers that this is accurate, other than his own claim it is so – I cannot recall having read the Norton lecture in question. This makes me an ideal jury whom can objectively try Mark and Tom’s cases.

    And though, much like Mark, I am no fan of Tom’s obssessive tendencies to bore the audience with an ultra-formalist agenda, Tom has produced enough textual evidence from Eliot that goes some way to proving his claim that Eliiot harboured the “ire” that’s so profound”, that Mark claimed was absent from the lecture.

    Mark wrote that Tom had taken ‘…a single word quoted out of context’, yet what Eliot is saying above….”

    I then realized that ‘repellent’ was the word Mark was referring to when he wrote Tom was focussing on one word and taking it out of context. A close reading of what Eliot wrote above, does seem to suggest that Mark has a point, because although Eliot does say that Shelley the man was ‘humourless, pedantic, self-centred, and sometimes almost a
    black guard,’ this does not mean he is saying Shelley’s poetry is rubbish.

    There are plenty of poets who have written and do write brilliant verse, but who as people are humourless, pedantic, self-centred and blackguards. So, though at first I thought the text from Eliot on Shelley you produce above, was evidence in favor of your case, Tom, after diving in and writing a bit, I was pulled up short by myself and, at this point in time, until I read the lecture, have to leave an open verdict.

    Saying that, Mark is definitely the one more emotional and provocatively offensive in his responses to you. Your readers here may disagree with you on many things, but the one, and very important, point in your favor, is that you are unfailingly polite and never, as far as I can recall, personally offensive in the way Mark is being, and in which I often am. This alone speaks volumes about your personal integrity, however maddening others find your views. When we behave like the current crop of GOP presedential candidates when talking about poetry, this is a failure on our part.

    It’s as if Mark is Santorum, Romney of Gingrich, and you are Iran. They just wanna pre-emptively bomb fuck outta ye without any real evidence apart from their own blustering.

    As I have always maintained, during your tenure on Harriet, you were the master debater; so much so they closed the site to comments and proved in the process that all their talk about wanting to foster spirited critical debate, deabte there’s a powerful and silent consensus among the self-proclaimed know-alls, to engage in any amount of dissembling to silence harmless nerds like you (and me).

    • Paul said,

      March 6, 2012 at 11:48 pm

      Oh gag.

    • thomasbrady said,

      March 7, 2012 at 1:58 am

      Thanks, Des.

      Master debater, indeed. 😉

      I don’t know if Paul knows how Blog Harriet once allowed comments, which made the blog quite lively (now it just cuts-and-pastes news stories). Even the ever-affable Don Share (one of the editors) lost patience with me over a purely literary matter. Shortly after my friends and I were banned, Harriet banned all comments.

      It’s not about me, however. Where do you find this kind of important literary history, except on Scarriet? Modernism is recent enough to still have tremendous influence, but the real facts of Modernism are almost unknown, slathered over in fake cheerleading. Issues like Eliot v. Shelley are being forgotten and ignored.

      Why does Eliot get away with calling Shelley’s ideas “repellent?”

      And Eliot also attacked Shelley’s poetry, too.


  22. Paul said,

    March 7, 2012 at 3:26 am

    No, I was not a regular reader of Blog Harriet; I vaguely remember reading a few things there when they had guest bloggers.

    I have, however, read some of the history of your exodus from Harriet in the Scarriet archives. And I recognise both Des and Mawk from previous posts I’ve read there. Hello all.

    I hope you will pardon me, my gag pun could not be suppressed. Desmond was laying it on a bit thick though, wasn’t he?

    That’s not to suggest that you aren’t indeed a fascinating personage,Tomas.


  23. Des said,

    March 7, 2012 at 5:08 am

    One consequence of Tom’s sudden ejection from Harriet by the cowardly bloggers who decided under a cloak of anonimity to close down the civil and vigorous debate they claimed in public to be promoting, wanted to witness and which Tom’s involvement there was a living testament to; is that his focus was thrown off balance.

    Instead of being able to pursue his Eliotic obsession in an environment where his critical gifts were being put to productive and enlightening use, and in which they could develop, he had to set up shop here, away from the cut and thrust of a dynamic forum with numerous voices on which to stay sharp, fresh and interesting; and affected by the unfairness and hypocrisy of what happened, Tom’s eloquent, razor sharp conversation gradually lost its edge and dulled the more it concentrated on this Eliot/Poe fixation.

    He is someone who thrives in debate, but also I think a period of reflection, time out, a bout of silence, will help enormously. I say this as a friend who followed a similar trajectory when I was eventually forced off the Guardian poetry blog in England inception, after a long, protracted eighteen month battle with the moderators.

    I’d been sporting there since its inception, and the first few years were very beneficial, as it was were I digested the lessons of writing that take a million words of composition to learn; the ten thousand hours exercise and practice an apprentice conversationalist and critic need put in to acquire the skills of a working craft. Since I began writing at the age of 34 in 2001, I’d never had a fallow period, and had gone from saying nothing most of my life to becoming an internet windbag over the course of eight short years.

    Most of the self-appointed primary online voices of the various British poetry cohorts whose writing was contiguous with my own, were already sick of my monomaniacal voice by the time it was speaking at the height of its time on the Guardian poetry blog. My own obsession is the Gaelic filidh tradition of poetry, that existed and evolved over 1200 years, from its 5C bardic inception at the time Old Irish writing evolved out from a runic ogham druids invented, to its tumultous decline during the course of the 18C.

    The majority of owners and moderators of the poetry blogs I’d become a member of, at various times during my journey through them, had taken umbrage and offense at what I had to write and ejected me from their forums, usually citing reasons linked to being ‘disrespectful’ and a ‘negative influence’ in the ‘community’ concerned with fostering open and free critical debate on poetic matters.

    By the time most of these, admittedly few, poets had taken against me, I’d ended up on the Guardian poetry blog, which had a far larger readership than their own, self-created venues, that, along with the rest of the online poetry places, fell pretty much silent over the last two years. After a series of events too longwinded and of little interest to anyone but myself to detail here, I found myself after two years happy learning and productive chat, being targeted on the Guardian poetry blog by the moderators and during that campaign I’d cast myself in the role of a victim being hounded by cowardly anonymous philistines who gradually wore my spirit down and were responsible for the numerous offensive outbursts I created. However, after being forced out and feeling hard done to, a period of enforced silence followed, during which I slowly came to realise that I had been deluding myself at the finish.

    Instead of keeping to what’s important, writing readable text in a contended frame of mind, I had allowed myself to fall into a pointless scrap over what was supremely unimportant. It took me a long time to accept the new reality, but the truth was, I needed to have been shut up so I could have that fallow period and take stock. Allow the lessons of the last ten years to sink in and recalibrate my understanding of and focus on, poetry.

    • Paul said,

      March 7, 2012 at 4:09 pm

      Desmond, you must be the greatest troll on earth! Unfortunately, there are actual human beings who are behind the screen who have had to deal with your barrage of hatred, insanity, and inhumanity. But…the druids. Ah, yes.

      • Paul said,

        March 7, 2012 at 4:29 pm

        You’re not even human, are you Desmond? Just yesterday you mocked my nervous breakdown. You are the kind of person who would murder their own child. You are repulsive, and you are actively making the world a worse place with your propaganda and lies.

  24. thomasbrady said,

    March 7, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    Adele’s “Someone LIke You” is a masterpiece. Love that song.

    I think what happens is that poetry is much more important than people realize, but important in a way that po-biz doesn’t understand, precisely because po-biz believes its role is only poetry. The categories are what kill us—we get hemmed in by them. “Poetry” or “Business” or “Politics” or “Love.”

    Poe was so much more than a poet, in the narrow sense, but his poetry (in the narrow sense) is rejected by contemporary poets in practice. This rejection is based on the fact that contemporary poetry is far broader and more flexible than Poe’s (narrow) poetry. However, Poe as a whole (including all his other writings) is unable to be appreciated by po-biz, which only cares about “poetry.” The po-biz approach finally harms poetry.

    Plato, the old philosopher, demonstrates the correct approach: poetry accompanies philosophy, science, government, love, and you cannot understand poetry without understanding what creates poetry and what needs poetry and what delimits poetry.

    The categories are what inhibit us.

    Add this to the fact that those who want to reform the world tend to annoy others.

    The default approach becomes a po-biz that is satisfied to take a shallow, cheerleading view of contemporary poetry, a polite and mindless conversation which never reaches any conclusions about anything.

    This is what Scarriet is trying to shake up.


  25. Des said,

    March 7, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    If you want an interesting take on everything you are talking about in the above postm, read this 54 page freebie from a book by John Minahane, The Christian druids: on the filid or philosopher-poets of Ireland, that I stumbled on the other day.

    It really set me alight because he is the first person I’ve read who has real and exciting ideas about the reality of what’s in the Auraicept na n-Éces, the head-bangingly impenetrable and dense filidh textbook used in the bard schools.

    I ordered it immediately and cannot wait to read the rest of it, because Minahane has taken on the academic establishment and is out performing them, whilst casting a light on the backwaters of Old Irish academic politics.

    He brings to life the political and cultural environment of the times in which some of the most amazing poems ever to be written, lived. The vast majority of poems composed over 1200 years of the filidh tradition, lie unread and untranslated in manuscript, and he has translated a few here, giving them close reading and creates an exciting read. Imagine you just found a man with the exact same idea as you have on Poe and Eliot, who presented exactly what you want to but cannot because it’s beyond your learning and experience. That’s how I felt on discovering him.

  26. Des said,

    March 7, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    Scroll down to chapter two and you will get my drift, one of the finest filidh poets of the entire tradition, Godfrey O’Daly, writing poems that were as much political documents addressed to the most powerful lord and patrons in 14C Ireland, as poetry.

    • thomasbrady said,

      March 7, 2012 at 3:12 pm


      I did take a look at Chapter Two.

      Yes, this is great stuff.

      This treasure you have discovered of a nation’s literature is priceless and I thank you for sharing it.

      What needs to be done now is to find a way to put this into popular form. Scholars will surely continue digging, but the question is, how can this be presented so it will have general appeal?

      This is such a large project that it cannot be assimilated easily. You can’t expect others to ‘take to this,’ simply because it’s so overwhelming.

      Everyone knows about Harry Potter. Nobody knows about this Irish poetic history. Why? Presentation.

      So you can’t beat yourself up and feel ‘misunderstood’ because no one appreciates this great Irish druid poetry history.

      The chief obstacle, of course, is the language; the translations are fine but dull. The English translations are no help. You can’t appreciate the marvelous puns in another language. The stories, as stories, are they really the greatest ever told? Do they match up with Boccacio and Chaucer and Grimm and Shakespeare, etc? Do they match up with Plato’s dialogues?

      You have to look at this honestly, and ask what is the very best this represents? And you, or someone, has to present it in such a way that it can be loved immediately without a lot of ‘scholarship’ getting in the way.


  27. Paul said,

    March 7, 2012 at 2:52 pm

    “Add this to the fact that those who want to reform the world tend to annoy others.”

    What is this referring to? Your work here educating people on the triumph of modernism, or with Foetry?

    • thomasbrady said,

      March 7, 2012 at 3:01 pm


      Just in general…most people look at the world and shrug: it is the way it is. The reformers (Modernism is wrong!) will always be a pain to these people. And Foetry reform is annoying to many, too, yes.


      • Paul said,

        March 7, 2012 at 3:25 pm

        But that exactly what is going on with your dismissal of Adorno, he is not looking at the world and shrugging, and you are describing him as “twisted and corrupt”. Aren’t all the people engaging in polite conversation and praising one another’s mediocre poetry just middle class pleasure-seekers? Why should we bother condemning them?

        • Paul said,

          March 7, 2012 at 3:37 pm

          Just forget it. Talk with david about druid poetry.

          • Paul said,

            March 7, 2012 at 3:42 pm

            J/K. But that’s how it seems to work, innit? Druids.

        • thomasbrady said,

          March 7, 2012 at 3:47 pm


          Excellent quesiton.

          Aren’t I being just like Adorno when I attack what I consider the simple “bourgeois” po-biz people who just want to “like” contemporary poetry?

          And shouldn’t I appreciate Adorno because at least he is interested in “reform,” at least he is questioning society as he feels it exists.

          I guess I would answer like this: I don’t see po-biz as “bourgeois” and seeking pleasure. I think an appreciation of Modernism is not a seeking of pleasure, but is instead a hair-shirt phenomenon. I think po-biz is miserable and envious and crazy, like Adorno, for why do they like William Carlos Williams instead of Shelley? And they do. They don’t appreciate both. They only appreciate—and try to compose like—the former.

          Both Shelley and Adorno are reformers—but I favor the former. Not all reformists are my cup of tea.


          • Paul said,

            March 7, 2012 at 3:56 pm

            I’ll leave you to the druids and trolls.

  28. Paul said,

    March 7, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    Just seemed like an odd sentence there. I suppose everyone is taking on the role of reform and education when they are discussing things -arguing over over what they believe is the superior ethics or form.

    When one finds others’ positions uncomfortable or untenable, or that person has eccentric beliefs, or an unconventional life within their chosen milieu, I suppose it is quite easy to dismiss them as being humourless reformists.

    • thomasbrady said,

      March 7, 2012 at 3:36 pm


      Another issue is that not only is Scarriet attacking Modernism, the sacred cow, but, in addition, we are accusing Modernism of being reactionary, when Modernism’s admirers think of it as ‘revolutionary’ and ‘groudbreaking.’ So to these people, we are not going to make any sense at all. I understand that.

      Modernists deal in such a tiny window of time, which exaggerates self-importance.

      I was just re-reading the Symposium—Plato intentionally deals in great swaths of time. The Symposium is SUCH an important document. “Up until now, Love has never been praised,” says Socrates. How can this be? one thinks. Of course this is not quite true; Hesiod and other poets had mentioned love, but as the dialogue continues and all the dinner guests speak of love, you see the inherent problem of praising love, though Phaedrus, who starts, does do an excellent job. Anyway, Socrates says there is a panegyric on the uses of salt but not yet a true paean to love. As you go way back in history, the order is flipped! The Moderns (with their poems on salt) predate the Romantics (with their poems on love). I speak of love, here, not as merely a ‘subject’ of poetry, but something which unites philosophy, beauty and poetry and makes poetry what it is. The reader who can’t think beyond ‘subjects’ for poetry cannot appreciate this. Of course there are moderns who do the opposite: who import all sorts of uses into poetry which have nothing to do with poetry at all, the Language Poets, the super-scholars etc. So you’ve got confusion coming and going.

      History is important because everything requires a context: nothing is good or bad by itself. Poetry is good or bad depending on what it is used for. Most people can’t accept this. They can’t think from ‘what something is’ to ‘what is it used for?’ What is it really for? Why is it good? In the largest sense.


      • Paul said,

        March 7, 2012 at 4:01 pm

        “History is important because everything requires a context: nothing is good or bad by itself. Poetry is good or bad depending on what it is used for. Most people can’t accept this. They can’t think from ‘what something is’ to ‘what is it used for?’ What is it really for? Why is it good? In the largest sense.”

        Salt is good, and useful. Love isn’t.

        Adorno is writing about love. Shelley is writing about sympathy. You framed the distinction yourself above.

        • Paul said,

          March 7, 2012 at 4:04 pm

          Your language when talking about Adorno is insulting. It’s difficult to have a conversation with these rude insinuations. I tried.

  29. Paul said,

    March 7, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    I’m killing myself tonight. I hate this world.

    • thomasbrady said,

      March 7, 2012 at 4:50 pm

      This is because you take Adorno too seriously.

      Adorno is brilliant. He writes fluently in that mode of sociological abstraction that is wildly and engagingly correct and will attract the sympathy of all intelligent, estranged persons—but it finally boils down to “a little learning is a dangerous thing” because it never quite does justice to its subject—due to its abstraction. “Bouregois society” is the unrequited love object of Adorno’s fairy tale. This is dangerous writing, because it does engage emotionally on a certain level—from Adorno’s fairy tale relationship to that treacherous little darling, “bourgeois society” (which estranged persons pin their hopes and grudges and fears)—even though it finally has no emotional truth, since it finally resides in abstractions. Adorno, himself, to many estranged readers, actually becomes, I imagine, the unrequited love in a secret, frightening act of transference.

      Don’t give into this, Paul! You probably shouldn’t read Shelley, either, who is also a titantic mind wandering over the tragedy of life. Not until you get your bearings.

      I suggest a long walk. Fresh air, excercise, sleep, a better diet. Laughter. Cut your hair. Buy some new clothes. Tell someone in your family that you love them.


      • Paul said,

        March 7, 2012 at 5:25 pm

        i don’t have a family.

        • Paul said,

          March 7, 2012 at 5:37 pm

          FRIGHTENIG??? you know what is frightening??? the complete inhumanity of people like ariana reines…the holocasust..CLASS…not people falling in love, not adorno…you can make love frightneing though–i suppose,, cant you….here i am and you’re STILL spouting nasty classist fucked up shit..

          • Paul said,

            March 7, 2012 at 5:39 pm


  30. Paul said,

    March 7, 2012 at 4:44 pm

    I suppose you two share this disease of cruelty. Since you can’t find enough victims in real life, or that would blow your cover – you have been mad trolling the internet looking for people to hurt.

    Driven out of every venue. Here you are – together at last. Two insane trolls talking about druid poetry.

    Tom, David – the only reason you praise ‘the pleasure-seeking UPPER middle class’ is merely because those are idiots who buy your garbage and lies. Otherwise, you are both cynical misanthropes who no longer have the capacity for love.

    YOU, PSYCHO – Ariana Reines. You have taken the last friend or lover from me. PROUD OF YOURSELF? who is the miserable envious creep. IT IS ARIANA REINES. who is insane?? IT IS ARIANA REINES??? who is jackie wang fen sun chen and etc ??? who is marie calloway?? IT IS THE COMPLEYTELY INSANE ARTIANA REInes!!!! who has been trolling my life and sending me harrasising emails – who has hacked my email>>> ARIANA REINES…the sexist classist RACIST ariana reines…that’s who… who ARE the modernists who are the snobs??? who are the miserable jeaoulous freaks???? the peope here at this puke blog joshua clover and arianan rein es– fake freedom fighters…foets supreme. people incapable of love. pretending to be in love here…making a mockery of love itself.

    • thomasbrady said,

      March 7, 2012 at 4:53 pm

      Paul, calm yourself.

      Speak clearly.

      What are you talking about?

      It’s going to be alright.

      I’m here. I’ll listen.

  31. Paul said,

    March 7, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    I am not CALM. I have an eye infection. why can’t you just be a fucking human being?? you’ve turned me into some kind of moster – and I’M NOT WHERE THE INHUMNITY LIES…it’s not me!!!!! the maount of hypocrisy is UNBELIEVABLE

  32. Paul said,

    March 7, 2012 at 5:44 pm

    it’s not going to be alright, ever.

    • Paul said,

      March 7, 2012 at 6:57 pm

      DEZZZZZMOND is actively working – night and day – to suppress revolution. it’s not a joke. consider it. dezzzmond pretends to embody pardox but deZZZZmond is merely schizophrenia. you – on the other hand – embody paradoxes – maybe you are the last ‘big uns’ before the slippage into total FASCISM. desmond is a fascist, Tom. there is a surge of it in this country, TOM, spanning all classes…i was trying to reform its “annoying” i was trying to help you – you have dismissed me as STUPID and have not LISTENED. I DONT HAVE A VOICE – yes i wanted to “use” you – it is for the good, towards the good and not for myself, a career, or anyhting like that….and you are a complete idiot for not understanding that…well, i will leave you to the fascists and the other middle class snobs playing parlour games, both in poetry and politics…goodbye.

  33. Paul said,

    March 7, 2012 at 7:02 pm

    you are now ts eliot, congratulations.

  34. thomasbrady said,

    March 7, 2012 at 8:06 pm


    I have never dismissed you or called you stupid. I have told you very clearly why I disagree with Adorno. You are free to disagree with me in turn. I’m sorry you have an eye infection.

    Instead of writing a dozen ranting comments, why don’t you write one clear comment, in which you analyze the issue with Adorno’s help?

    Maybe you’re having a bad day. That’s OK.

    You can always start over again. A fresh comment tomorrow. Maybe I’m being hyperbolic by warning you away from Adorno. All that hatred for “bourgeois society,” though, I just don’t like it. You obviously like the guy a lot. Where did you first discover him? Study him? I’m curious, because his name comes up in discussions a great deal.


    • Paul said,

      March 8, 2012 at 4:05 am

      I’m quite sorry, Tom. I’m not even sure what set me off now.

      You brought up a number of things I’d rather think about than some of the nonsense I was ranting about. I’ll try to look again tomorrow.


  35. Mark said,

    March 10, 2012 at 6:03 am

    So… much has been said here and I’m going to try to respond to some, if not all, of it. I’m going to avoid speaking to Paul who genuinely seems to be having some sort of strange, internet-documented psychotic episode and just respond to Des and Tom.


    First, what you say about Tom being “unfailingly polite and never, as far as I can recall, personally offensive” is demonstrably untrue. When I first arrived at Scarriet I was called a “cretin” and worse by Tom over nothing more than a disagreement over Tom’s usage of the word “fact”. I had put forth no invective to warrant such a comment.

    Your charge that I am being “personally offensive” is, I think, a bit overblown. If I understand you correctly (which, because of your rhetorical style, I often don’t) you are taking umbrage with my calling Tom “lazy” and ‘sheep-like’.

    Tom has admitted that he comments on works without having read them.

    This is, of course, the epitome of laziness. More than laziness, however, I would ask: if he hasn’t read them then where does he find the ground to begin writing? He does so by being wholly reliant on the ideas and opinions of others and what we could call ‘popular wisdom’ (which is almost always wrong and usually constructed to give a framework to first-year English students – it’s not something to be held up as true in a serious debate).

    Tom takes the opinions of others as facts and does so without question or without feeling any impetus to find out the truth for himself. Tom being a lazy sheep is less a ‘personal attack’ than a ‘inarguable truth’.

    One further point – and I’m not exactly sure to approach this, honestly – Tom does make personal attacks on poets in virtually every post on Scarriet. Is it ok to make a personal attack on Pound because Pound is dead? Is it ok to make a personal attack on Ron Silliman because Silliman is a public figure? Tom is a kind of a public figure too (and I’m sure he loves to hear me say that!) – does that give me right to attack him in the way he attacks others? Are you only shaken by his attacks when they’re directed at people who might actually read them or is a personal attack a personal attack?

    I’m sort of ambivalent about this, to be honest, and I’m not really sure how to answer all these questions because I’m guilty of many of the same things as Tom and yourself. I’m just saying it seems like a strange line-in-the-sand for you to draw…

    Second, w/r/t the Norton Lectures, I’ve recently moved to Seoul, South Korea and will not be able to track down a copy with any ease. Sadly the version up on Google Books cuts off almost all of the chapter on Shelley.

    That said, I do remember, that Eliot calls Shelly a “first-rate poet” and praises his inventive use of image. Further, I never said the “ire” was “absent” as you charge – I would call it snobbishness, but whatever – merely that “profound hatred” is a jaw-dropping overstatement.

    Seriously, Des: does anything Tom quoted – and he quoted the most damning parts, obviously, because that’s what a soap-opera drama-queen like Tom does – sound like “profound hatred”? Even the most damning parts are fairly milquetoast.

    Here is my point: the Norton Lectures are held up as the biggest cannon in the “Modernists hate Romantics” arsenal. Hearing this, I, unlike Tom, actually read them to find out for myself why this was. I’m no great fan of Eliot but I tried to read the work with an open mind. I was shocked by how mild – and even, at times laudatory – it was. Eliot is especially enthusiastic about Wordsworth (my least favourite Romantic, oddly) and – in the couple pages Google Books DOES have – calls Romantic poetry “the revolution effected by Wordsworth” saying it was “very far-reaching indeed”

    I say again: Tom’s “quote from Eliot sounds like a very conservative writer responding to the poetics of a very radical writer in a fairly moderate fashion. Nothing more, nothing less. Seriously, Gravesy, stop being such a drama queen. Where the hell is the “profound” “hatred” I’ve been hearing about???”

    You hit the nail on the head, Des, when you say: “There are plenty of poets who have written and do write brilliant verse, but who as people are humourless, pedantic, self-centred and blackguards. So, though at first I thought the text from Eliot on Shelley you produce above, was evidence in favor of your case, Tom, after diving in and writing a bit, I was pulled up short by myself and, at this point in time, until I read the lecture, have to leave an open verdict.”

    Eliot had recently converted to Anglicanism and was just being a reactionary dick – something for which every poet since Williams has chided him. I find the Medieval Catholicism of Dante a little off-putting and as a philosophy I find it a little repellant but Dante is my favourite poet and the writer whose work I have returned to the most for rereadings over the last few years. Tom’s insistance on simplicity and soap-opera dramatics would try to squash what I am saying about Dante here but the truth is always multifarious – Tom’s writing seeks to deny this.

    Tom’s charge of a “systematic attack” is ludicrous. The Romantic’s attack on Keats was far more systematic than the Modernists attack on Shelley.

    You say Tom “is someone who thrives in debate” but Tom will not even answer for his positions. He is a coward and an ideologue who runs from those who would challenge his deeply-held but wholly unexamined beliefs.

    You say you are “no fan of Tom’s obssessive tendencies”, Des. I wish Tom had ‘obsessive tendencies’ because then maybe he would obsessed with reading and would actually read some of the works he writes about. My problem is with Tom’s lazy simplifications and unremarkable, unoriginal thought.


    Which of Adorno’s works have you read?

    • Paul said,

      March 10, 2012 at 6:22 am

      Practice class warfare and fuck the fucking losers.

    • julian said,

      March 11, 2012 at 7:00 am

      More people should have made personal attacks against Pound when he was living.

  36. Paul said,

    March 10, 2012 at 6:26 am

    Hey joshua clover and ariana reines. you’re both psychotic evil insane creeps. both of you.

    it cool you had your creepy gross affair and it’s documented in your stupid book, ariana. you’re both disgusting liars.

  37. Paul said,

    March 10, 2012 at 6:27 am

    i’m writing this eveywhere. so if you want to ban me from Anarchist news Dot Com, as you already did. it means nothing to me.

    you’re both ugly hateful people.

  38. Paul said,

    March 10, 2012 at 6:30 am


  39. Paul said,

    March 10, 2012 at 6:39 am

    you’re both LOST in fantasy. it’s really sad.

    joshua. i knew there was something wrong with you when i met you. Nobody was there! Nobody’s home!!! when i saw the text which you banned me for, then I knew you approved of this person violating me…you’re sick. really sick.

    Ariana, you’re going down.

    get help Joshua. it’s gross and sad…

  40. Paul said,

    March 10, 2012 at 6:54 am

    and “Mark’s” blathering on at this moment about the norton anthology and such, no matter how great it sounds, and how panicked and stupid i sound…is complete mental illness….

    i really wish i’d never met you, joshua.

  41. Des said,

    March 10, 2012 at 6:19 pm

    ‘Mark’, I don’t follow this blog on a daily basis, just drop in occassionally and read what’s happening. And what’s been happening, to the best of my knowledge, is that one person has been writing under lots of different names, including ‘Mark’ ‘Paul’ noochinator and all the other sock puppets employed by this one person rehearsing lots of different voices.

    I could be wrong about you ‘Mark’, but from now on I am just going to assume that anyone who doesn’t reveal a genuine identity, is the same person writing as ‘Mark’, ‘Paul’, noochinator and the rest in the cast of whoever it is. Oh, I wonder who that could ne then?

    Mark, what is your real name and can you authenticate it, please? I can.

    Notice how Paul’s nutty act was dropped as soon as I writing as Paul started investigating the phonyh routine. He went from a person on the edge of suicide to a boringly normal one praising the bloghost, and now another single name faux wierdo turns up, ‘julian’, ranting the same shit ‘Paul was beforfe he turned stultifyingly straight.

    There’s only David and a few others who are not the same person pretending to be all these crazees, and they are soon repulsed when the conversation takes a silly turn when..oh, I wonder who it could be, turns up ranting rubbish.

    The problem with the net is people are too chiuckenshit to speak as themselves. If they have anything to say that is mildly controversial they hide behind anonymity and begin tortuously recodnite argumenbts that boil down to little forty-five year old whoever not wanting to act their age, but as a child.

    March Madness was the series that fucked this blog to oblivion in the first place when Tom exhibited the exact same tendencies of petty authoritarian powergrabbing he slammed the bores at Harriet for. I asked him numerous times what the traffic numbers where and he refused to tell me them, acting as if he didn’t understand the question. A question: Please Tom, what are the amount of daily readers of this blog?

    So, ‘Mark’ I apologize if you are not.. oh, I wonder who it canb be.. but until you verify who you are, I will assume you are the creator behind ‘Paul ‘justin’ and all the other sockpuppets.

    • julian said,

      March 11, 2012 at 12:20 am

      yeah des aka ariana , i’m not “authentically mentally ill” and an “authentically” dishonest and ugly-hearted human being – like you are! it’s all about “authenticity,” bro!! LOL.

      • julian said,

        March 11, 2012 at 12:56 am

        and WTF is THIS? a joke? I wish it were…

        well, i have my own ugly-hearted feelings here OBVIOUSLY. no one is innocent. not me! i *have* been honestly worried about Tomas. you’re making him sick, des.

        Well…carry on with your march madness, and your april madness, and so forth.

        june madness is of happier and healthier variety, despite it’s foul-mouthedness and occasional fits. even despite its sabotage.

        • Des said,

          March 11, 2012 at 2:13 am

          ‘julian’, you link to a website owned by a William Grillis, not ‘julian’, and the fact you don’t link to any writing on that site and claim it as your own, only re-inforces my belief that you are a sockpuppet of ‘you know who you are’.

          You’ve been rumbled, and you are making my friend Stephanie ill with your writings. She is a very sensitive reader of what goes on here ‘julian’, and is distraught at the horrid things you were saying about the two poets you trolled under the cloak of anonymity.

          • julian said,

            March 11, 2012 at 2:28 am

            william gillis is ariana reines. be ill about it and what is written there and elsewhere!!! i know i am!!!

            • julian said,

              March 11, 2012 at 2:47 am

              Hey “folks,” no doubt there are ‘lessons to be learned’ from our friends Pound and Schmitt – but let’s not mince around what they really are; let’s not all make a concerted effort to hide it. Let’s understand what we’re reading here. Get it?

              • julian said,

                March 11, 2012 at 4:27 am

                And oh hey TOM, you are a SELLOUT. This is the ol spirit of foetry in action. Ol Mallie here. This is it! I’m outing the frauds and one of them is now you. Love me or hate, or wish me in ‘the past’. I’m very much living, and justice and beauty of an exceptional kind that cannot even be known by the people commenting here will be had.

                The story of Scarriet is the story of fighting for unlimited “free speech”. LOL. Fighting to be in an already corrupt forum…Well well well, look who’s on your side now. Someone who fought with moderators at the Guardian for a year. LOL. Because people actually can’t fucking stand this person UNLESS they know of their tiny tiny reputation…”I’m” not the one who’s left the human race, Tomas. The fascist ‘transhumanists’ very much have, and yet we still have to deal with their spectres.

                Yes, it’s true, I am undaunted and unimpressed by ‘micro-fame’. It’s a joke to me. It’s about human beings – poets – correct, sir!!! And in that case I am searching for those poets whose ethics and aesthetics I can get behind, even if they are not perfect. There are so many poets!!! Millions! So why not love the ones with ethics I can stomach. It’s not only about the writing, or the silly micro-fame of AWP allstars. I honestly don’t care. This is so hard for people to understand. They seem to assume I’ve left ‘the human race’. How sad.

                Well, I know where you stand now.

                • julian said,

                  March 11, 2012 at 4:52 am

                  Ol Mallie has a double-nature! True. Oh So Sorry Tom that Mallie the ‘tasteless thug’ has been unleashed here. So low class, man. What a nobody…Just remember – I am also infinitely more aristocrat than any of you! LOL. Everyone in the middle is superquestionable, really. Adorno is right. In so many ways.

                • thomasbrady said,

                  March 11, 2012 at 1:33 pm


                  You, the noble fighter in the Foetry cause, have read the new incarnation of foetry (scarriet) and deemed me a right-wing sell-out and traitor.

                  I’m not sure how much of ‘paul’ and ‘julian’s’ posts you are responsible for, but tell me, how are you, personally?

                  I assure you, I am not a sell-out or a right-winger. I am expanding the foetry-range and the foetry-eye to see more of history; its a hefty project; I’m undaunted only because I have a good grounding in a healthy balance of what I might call “Socratic inquiry.”

                  Socratic inquiry is a sweet kind of simultaneous knowing/not knowing which guides one with enthusiastic, self-correcting harmony. I can’t explain it any better than this.

                  The Creative Writing Model, of which Jorie Graham is a mere pawn, was put into place by modernist aesthetes such as John Crowe Ransom, Allen Tate, and Robert Penn Warren—it is a fascinating study, for the project combines the practical and the philosophical in such insidious ways; the crass business function combining with the ‘holy’ fine arts.

                  You may join me, or not. But I am not a sell-out; I assure you. I use politics; politics does not use me.


                  • Mallie Urn said,

                    March 11, 2012 at 9:10 pm

                    Sir, I am a very skeptical person, but I always thought Monday Love was fierce and wonderful, and that’s truly all I know of ye.

                    I suppose I am willing to give you the ‘benefit of the doubt’, tho I can’t always say Paul will. As we all know, he is a cunt-for-brains tosser who misreads Adorno, and probably his own ass.

    • julian said,

      March 11, 2012 at 7:19 am

      “Notice how Paul’s nutty act was dropped as soon as I writing as Paul started investigating the phonyh routine. He went from a person on the edge of suicide to a boringly normal one praising the bloghost, and now another single name faux wierdo turns up, ‘julian’, ranting the same shit ‘Paul was beforfe he turned stultifyingly straight.”

      This is what a sociopath sounds like after they broke into your email account and began speaking as you. Old hat – they’ve done it many times now….Oh, how wonderful and calm the dead are!

      • julian said,

        March 11, 2012 at 7:22 am

        Look under “It is not necessary to love you” for more examples of what sociopaths sound like in action.

  42. Des said,

    March 10, 2012 at 6:32 pm

    Not that there’s anything wrong with someone speaking in all these voices. It is inherently creative to be doing all this ‘you know who you are’ and I applaud you for it. It’s just that I believed for a short while the other day that ‘Mark’ and ‘Paul’ were real people and not sockpuppets and it wounded my ego, so forgive the strident ill-thought out response, ‘Mark’, but life’s too short to be playing these games. If you want to talk about poetry in any real sense, I am only going to do it on this blog with people who are ‘real’ and not sockpuppets, so until you can prove your id, I apologize, but I must assume you are ‘you know who you are’.

    • noochinator said,

      March 10, 2012 at 10:44 pm

      I too suspect one person
      Acting as a menage—
      It all has the whiff
      Of sabotage.

      Please don’t suspect
      I’m one of this group—
      I’m always a nooch variant,
      And seek not to dupe.

      (Yes, sometimes my moniker
      Is a name with ‘support’,
      When boosting a poet
      In the public court.)

      • julian said,

        March 11, 2012 at 4:03 am

        yeah, good luck deshowitz.

        • julian said,

          March 11, 2012 at 4:04 am

          the juiceman didn’t do it!!!

  43. David said,

    March 10, 2012 at 7:06 pm

    I was enjoying the discussion about Shelley until things took a turn for the weird, and not in a good way. I don’t have the time for it.

    • julian said,

      March 11, 2012 at 6:25 am

      Your passive-agressive dishonest underhanded corruption and fraud is repulsive. Your phony religiousness, your phony “authenticity” your right-wing agenda…You are disgusting. The truth will out, soon enough my friend. People are already wising up to your act.

      • julian said,

        March 11, 2012 at 6:28 am

        Oh, and the things I find most personally offensive: your over-the-top misogyny and racism.

        • julian said,

          March 11, 2012 at 6:31 am

          Tom may be an idiot – but not everyone is!

          • julian said,

            March 11, 2012 at 6:36 am

            Oh, and “Tom’s friends” who may some of the few people who actually know what you’re all about – also dolts and bootlickers…but but but CRONYISM!

      • David said,

        March 11, 2012 at 7:07 pm

        Jesus loves you, Julian.

        • Ariana said,

          March 11, 2012 at 7:15 pm

          That’s exactly what my old hypocrite aunt used to tell me when I did something ‘bad’.

          • David said,

            March 11, 2012 at 7:29 pm

            Your old hypocrite aunt was right. Jesus still loves you, Julian / Ariana. It must be nice, though, not being a hypocrite. If only we could all be more like you.

            • Jeff said,

              March 11, 2012 at 7:41 pm

              Blah blah blah, old lady. Put it in a Fence book, or GTFO.

              • David said,

                March 11, 2012 at 7:51 pm

                Yes, you are quite right, Jeff. Your insults to me are richly deserved. I mean that quite sincerely. So I will try to exit the discussion in the only way that I can, without grace, without beauty, without any real humility. I only harm myself and others by remaining here.

                • Jeff said,

                  March 11, 2012 at 7:53 pm

                  You’re just being manipulative. The Little David who Cried Wolf. But whatevs.

                  • David said,

                    March 11, 2012 at 7:54 pm

                    Of course I’m being manipulative. Yes, whatever.

                  • David said,

                    March 11, 2012 at 7:57 pm

                    I have only one question for you, Jeff, and to the others. Why do you revile me on the basis of a few blog comments? I’m no one and nothing to you. Why the hate?

                    • David said,

                      March 11, 2012 at 8:15 pm

                      Never mind. Please just carry on. Tom, take care. I’ll still follow in case you post more articles about Shelley and the Romantics.


                    • thewordlshippestviolin said,

                      March 11, 2012 at 8:33 pm

                      Hi! I am the world’s hippest violin! And I am playing a tune just for you!

                      (Cue Thomas rushing in) : Don’t Go! Please, don’t leave us, David! We want to hear more of your thoughts on Lord Byron in Greece!

                      (Cue Julain with a sword) : I may be an asshole, but I have a heart. Never once have you shown authentic desire to give up the ghost. All you have displayed are constant threats, jealousy over Thomas’ attention, and underhanded humiliating comments! You really should learn more about free love, David. You belong to a corrupt, fraudulent, and yes, hypocritical CHURCH.

                      (Cue Paul, with Adorno’s skull) : You know you’re not leaving.

                      Violins playing hiply.


                • thomasbrady said,

                  March 11, 2012 at 10:12 pm


                  Jeff was making that remark to Ariana, since she is published by Fence, not you.

                  Apologies for the thread-confusions.

                  Yes, I will be talking more interesting stuff.

                  These storms always pass. Don’t worry.


  44. thomasbrady said,

    March 11, 2012 at 3:09 am

    Mark is real, and disputes
    My idea the Moderns cut the Romantic poets’ roots.
    Paul made a case for Adorno
    And lost it when Brady laid Adorno low
    And now Paul is estranged from the human race
    And Julian has taken Paul’s place.
    Scarriet believes in free speech
    But insanity and filth might be out of reach.
    Des is on a steady flight.
    Nooch will lead you aright.
    David is losing patience with the mad.
    And this makes me rather sad.
    But Beauty will triumph at last
    And Paul become a thing of the past.

    • julian said,

      March 11, 2012 at 3:14 am

      Beauty has not triumphed here. And it never will.

  45. julian said,

    March 11, 2012 at 3:17 am

    What has triumphed here is lies. Lies, lies, lies, and more lies. A labirynth of lies.

  46. julian said,

    March 11, 2012 at 3:24 am


    • julian said,

      March 11, 2012 at 3:38 am

      It’s so hilarious that you point your finger at me as mad. Just like you did when you gaslighted me with your creepy bureaucratic letters…Fucking hopeless.

    • julian said,

      March 11, 2012 at 3:54 am

      Oh, and CRONYISM. Chalk another up.

      • julian said,

        March 11, 2012 at 3:56 am

        And “people” her are so insane and jealous, that when I try to be polite, I am “boring”. That sociopath will smear me no matter WHAT I do or say, and apparently you will too Joshua. And I think that’s because of your own shame. Later!

  47. Mark said,

    March 11, 2012 at 3:24 am


    I’m not sure why you’d think I’m a “sockpuppet”. Why would I spend 20-30 minutes writing a (somewhat) thought-out response only to push it off the recent comments pages so that no one can see it? I was actually thinking of reposting my comment to see if anyone would respond. Tom can see our IP addresses and can authenticate that I’m the only one here posting from South Korea.

    Also I don’t know who Ariana Reines is (though I do absolutely hate Clover’s poorly-masked, quietest hogwash)

    Now, I realize that meta-discussions about blogging can turn tedious quickly(and discussions about blogging practices perhaps doubly so) but I did ask some direct questions in that post that – while maybe not incredibly pressing – might be worth answering.

    Maybe it could be the first time in the history of Scarriet that I’ve asked a question and had it answered 😛


    Which of Adorno’s books have you read?

    • julian said,

      March 11, 2012 at 4:01 am

      woo! look at me! i want to highjack the adorno conversation!

      • Mark said,

        March 11, 2012 at 5:24 am

        Why would I want to have a conversation about Adorno with someone who has never read Adorno?

        • julian said,

          March 11, 2012 at 5:49 am

          LOL. Are you a real person? That would be a first around these parts? 🙂

    • Des said,

      March 11, 2012 at 6:44 am

      ‘Mark’, unless you show us (the readers) proof you are not the same creator of ‘nooch’, ‘julian’ and the rest of the sock puppets, it is so obviously ‘you know who you are’, that I am laughing at you.

  48. Des said,

    March 11, 2012 at 6:48 am

    For example, what’s your surname, what are you doing in Korea, prove you are not the hand writing a sock puppet. And don’t waffle and avoid the answer, if you are genuine, let us know. You won’t, I suspect, because you are not real, just the same gob speaking ‘nooch’ and ‘julian’.

  49. Des said,

    March 11, 2012 at 6:50 am

    And ‘Paul’, let’s not forget him.

    • julian said,

      March 11, 2012 at 7:29 am

      Go smile into the mirror, Joker.

    • Marta said,

      March 11, 2012 at 11:20 am

      You know who will never forget? Me. I WILL NEVER FORGET.

  50. thomasbrady said,

    March 11, 2012 at 12:32 pm


    You really can’t distinguish between Mark, Nooch, and Paul/Julian?

    They are so absolutely different in motive, rhetoric, tone, approach, etc. that I must say I doubt your sincerity on this issue, and I consider you something of a friend.

    Nooch “supports,” Mark sincerely wishes to question my literary authority—he has been after me on the moderns/romantics for quite some time, and now he’s pestering me about ‘how many books by Adorno have you read?’ which is clearly his m.o. Paul is some morbid Walter Benjamin/Theodor Adorno-besotted grad student who hates the beauty of Scarriet and is trying to sabotage Scarriet’s loveliness by indulging in a pessimistic, fragmentary ‘art in the age of mechanical reproduction’ campaign. Art has lost its “unique aura,” according to Benjamin, because “modern, capitalist society” reproduces everything willy-nilly, boo hoo, doesn’t life suck now because of capitalism. Yawn.

    Some of you need to get off the crack of people like Adorno and Benjamin.

    Mark, I don’t have to read ‘every book’ by these guys when their pathetic thesis is apparent in every single sentence they quote or write.
    Here’s an example: Benjamin, (d. 1940) who translated Baudelaire—another thinker infected with Modern pessimism—quotes Valery at the top of his most famous work, “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” and here’s what Valery (1871-1945) says in that quote:

    “Our fine arts were developed, their types and uses were established, in times very different from the present, by men whose power of action upon things was insignificant in comparison with ours. But the amazing growth of our techniques, the adaptability and precision they have attained, the ideas and habits they are creating, make it a certainty that profound changes are impending in the ancient craft of the Beautiful. In all the arts there is a physical component which can no longer be considered or treated as it used to be, which cannot remain unaffected by our modern knowledge and power.” —Paul Valery, quoted by Walter Benjamin in preface to Benjamin’s “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Production”

    Now Mark might obligate me to read every piece of writing by Valery and Benjamin (and re-read every piece of writing by myself!) before I am allowed such remarks, but I’m going to go ahead and point out Valery’s typical Modern arrogance which exaggerates the importance of the present and the new and the modern. These changes are illusory, because a poem by Shelley has more aesthetic value than any number of profoundly complicated films—because films still have to show real life and films can be horribly stupid and boring in millions of ways, and so progress towards ‘modern knowledge and power’ is not as certain as Valery thinks it is.


  51. Des said,

    March 11, 2012 at 3:18 pm

    They all sound the same to me, and none of them are real, only the invention of ‘you know who you are’, Tom.

    • thomasbrady said,

      March 11, 2012 at 4:28 pm

      Oh for cryin’ out loud, Des.

      Are you jealous because this blog is getting a lot of attention?

      That’s a petty emotion, my friend, not worthy of a poet.

      is that why you’re pretending to think all these voices are one person?

      You can do better. Don’t give in to the dark side, like poor CW…

      • Ocean said,

        March 11, 2012 at 6:38 pm

        Desmond’s entire life and career has been fueled by petty jealousy.

        • Ariana said,

          March 11, 2012 at 7:06 pm

          Sorry, Tomas, no one has ever criticized me and humiliated me in public before. It’s confusing and scary. Ironic, eh?

          I have gotten nothing but glowing write-ups and praise. In fact, my entire life everyone has told me I was the best, the most smartest, and everything I did was perfect.

  52. David said,

    March 11, 2012 at 7:46 pm

    Of course, Julian is right about my “passive-agressive dishonest underhanded corruption and fraud” and my “phony religiousness”. I am disgusting. Ariana is right to suggest that I’m a hypocrite. I am. Byron said that Shelley was the most unselfish person that he knew. That might very well be true. What is certainly true is that Shelley was more noble than I will ever be. I am a selfish pig.

    Julian and Ariana, whatever ugly thing that you might want to say about me, I’ve already thought about myself. You can save yourself the trouble.

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