Though it’s not the unconscious in the Freudian sense, the is the creative spirit.
It is, as [Ralph Waldo] Emerson called it, “the God within”. And for many, many years I was writing a vast commentary on Freud called .
I’m interested in the books that have influenced me and will go on influencing me – as I work and teach and write – until I die.
Those books include , which still has an ongoing influence on me, particularly in my study of Yeats, Hart Crane and other great poets. I like to say, ‘There is no God but God and his name is William Shakespeare.’” was a concept, as Dodds makes beautifully clear, having to do with the creative forces in the individual, which are deeper and more pervasive than what you might want to call the mere conscious.
The later work overturns an earlier work in order to get free of it.
The new poem, new story, new drama or new novel is a creative misreading of the work that engendered it. This is, I think, the finest work of literary scholarship in my time, by the great German philologist Ernst Robert Curtius.I maintain canonical standards for the study and appreciation of literature.I practice philology and knowledge of the history of language.I regard myself as a common reader, and I address myself to common readers throughout the world.My books that have made the most impact, and were meant to, are .I prefer Curtius on Dante to the discussion of Dante by any other critic, because he sees that Dante is creating a myth, or even a gnosis, of his own.Ultimately, Aristotle, Augustine and Aquinas are nowhere near as important as Dante.I’ve been practicing literary criticism for more than 60 years.In 1976, I resigned from the once splendid Yale English department, which I had joined in 1955, to protest the decline in aesthetic and cognitive standards in the profession.But I suppose it all depends how you define “spiritual”.For me, the two great figures of Sir John Falstaff and Hamlet – the great sceptic and nihilist in Shakespeare – offer me spiritual entities of the most intense kind. I like to say, “There is no god but god and his name is William Shakespeare.” Do you individuate from your precursors in your own work? I regard ER Dodds, whom I knew personally, as a strong precursor.