The Immortality Ode

"The Immortality Ode." Paper read before the English Institute, September 1941. First published in The English Institute Annual, 1941. New York: Columbia University Press, 1942.


Criticism, we know, must always be concerned with the poem itself. But a poem does not always exist only in itself; sometimes it has a very lively existence in its false or partial appearances. These simulacra of the actual poem must be taken into account by criticism; and sometimes, in its effort to come at the poem as it really is, criticism does well to allow the simulacra to dictate at least its opening moves.

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