Quite often, when leading a college class studying a great poem, I begin by reading it aloud. When I finish reading it, instead of beginning comment and discussion, I read it again, perhaps even a third time. Among other effects, this concentrates the student’s mind on the object, which is the subject. Commentary is ontologically subordinate to the poem, to its “quiddity,” as the philosophers say. I have somewhat the same impulse as regards Russell Kirk’s Prospects for Conservatives.
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