Posted by Eric » 6 Comments »
‘…[Y]ou can use personal experience in your work without necessarily having it pour out in profuse strains of unpremeditated art. And contrariwise, a poet who is a careful and conscious artist in the Callimachean tradition can still be exercising that art of material which has been lived and not just imagined. I repeat: if he uses his own name for the protagonist in the drama, and if his readers–innocent of our type of theory–take it as the report of his own experience, then I think the onus of proof is on those who say it can’t be.
‘That conclusion no doubt makes me an empirico-positivist. So be it, but it is no help to me: like Erridge [a character in Anthony Powell’s Dance to the Music of Time], I would not know one of those from an anarcho-syndicalist.’
–T.P. Wiseman, in ‘Erridge’s Answer: Response to James Zetzel’ (p. 64), from The Interpretation of Roman Poetry: Empiricism or Hermeneutics?, pp. 58-64. The rest of the brief essay is worth reading in tandem with Zetzel’s ‘Roman Romanticism and Other Fables’, pp. 41-57.