Friday, August 31, 2018

Our stock of metaphor becomes dry and technical

From What W.H. Auden Can Do For You by Alexander McCall Smith.
I do not mind this in the least—why should one mind? It is rather like having the poet by one’s side—ready to point something out, ready to put into words a feeling or impression that would otherwise be fleeting. And I think we need these familiar references. In the past, many people had them from religious liturgy or from exposure to biblical texts—or they picked them up from poetry they had been obliged to learn by rote as children. This is no longer the case, with the result that our stock of metaphor, the range of our vocabulary, contract and language becomes dry and technical—and less morally and imaginatively powerful.

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