Some years ago I asked a German-English professor what the definition of poetry was. He answered and I continue to add to / or modify the definition. Hold that thoughtOver the weekend, I happened to watch a DVD, Brontë Country, a documentary on Yorkshire County in northern England, and the Brontë authors.
The narrator mentioned the poetry of the Brontës. I was curious to see if I could find my definition of poetry in my journals. During that process I came across this, from a different author (not my words):
The first critic to affirm the originality of Wuthering Heights was a triumph of art was Sydney Dobell in a remarkable review of the 1850 edition in Palladium.
He saw that a prose work can be structured like a poem:
‘The thinking-out of some of these pages ... is the masterpiece of a poet’ that, like a poem, it can embody its central meanings in imagery.
He claimed that successful art is that which best serves the demands of the imagination, imagination working in obedience to no external principles, but to ‘the nature within her.’Dobell resolves the problem which had baffled nearly all the earlier reviewers by coining the phrase ‘instinctive art,’ which he applies not only to Emily Brontë, but to all writers whose art serves to release their deepest ‘powers of insight,’ ‘intuition of character,’ and ‘infallible inspiration.’