Tag: Shakespeare

Poetry and Power: Challenges for an Aesthetics of the Left

Hazlitt’s essay on Coriolanus seems apposite to some of the themes I explored in The Reactionary Mind. Hazlitt suggests a deep and abiding affinity of poetry for power, an affinity that explains how the right is able attract a broad formation of followers from below. Hazlitt also hints at why an aesthetics of the left, at least one centered on the more pedestrian claims of the mass, is so often difficult to attain and sustain; indeed, why any aesthetics may ultimately serve as an argument for the arrogations of power: The language of poetry naturally falls in with the language of power. The imagination is an exaggerating and exclusive faculty: it takes from one thing to add to another: it accumulates circumstances together to give the greatest possible […]