Do you like, and by like I really mean like, not approve of on principle:

1) Long lists of proper names such as Old Testament genealogies or the catalogue of ships in the Iliad?

2) Riddles and all other ways of not calling a spade a spade?

3) Complicated verse forms of great technical difficulty, such as Englyns, Drott-Kvaetts, Sestinas, even if their content is trivial?

4) Conscious theatrical exaggeration, pieces of baroque flattery like Dryden’s welcome to the Duchess of Ormond?

If a critic could truthfully answer “yes” to all four, then I should trust his judgment implicitly on all literary matters.

(in his inaugural lecture as Professor of Poetry at Oxford)

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