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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The imaginative development of Edwin Muir Anderson, Rosemary Margaret 1970

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THE IMAGINATIVE DEVELOPMENT OF ED¥IN MUIR by ROSEMARY MARGARET ANDERSON B.A. (Hons.), U n i v e r s i t y o f Tasmania, i 9 6 0 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY i n the Department of E n g l i s h . We accept t h i s t h e s i s as conforming to the r e q u i r e d s t a n d a r d THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA A p r i l , 1970 In p r e s e n t i n g t h i s t h e s i s in p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t o f the r e q u i r e m e n t s f o r an advanced degree at the U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h C o l u m b i a , I a g r e e t h a t the L i b r a r y s h a l l make i t f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e f o r r e f e r e n c e and s t u d y . I f u r t h e r agree tha p e r m i s s i o n f o r e x t e n s i v e c o p y i n g o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r s c h o l a r l y p u r p o s e s may be g r a n t e d by the Head o f my Department o r by h i s r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s . It i s u n d e r s t o o d t h a t c o p y i n g o r p u b l i c a t i o n o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r f i n a n c i a l g a i n s h a l l not be a l l o w e d w i t h o u t my w r i t t e n p e r m i s s i o n . Department o f E n g l i s h The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h C o l u m b i a V a n c o u v e r 8, Canada Date A p r i l 30, 1 9 7 0 . ABSTRACT The poems and n o v e l s of Edwin Muir are c l o s e l y l i n k e d by t h e i r themes and images, and the i n s i g h t s reached i n the mature poems r e s o l v e the problems i m p l i c i t i n the e a r l i e r , l e s s s u c c e s s f u l work. D e s p i t e i t s thematic u n i t y , however, M u i r 1 s p o e t r y i s not the e x p r e s s i o n o f a c o n s c i o u s , s y s t e m a t i c view of the world, but a s u s t a i n e d attempt to c r e a t e a sense of the depths i n h e r e n t i n human e x p e r i e n c e . H i s poems a s p i r e not towards a statement of t r u t h , but towards a sense of t o t a l p resence, i n which b e i n g i s i n f u s e d w i t h c o n s c i o u s n e s s . The e x p e r i e n c e of presence i s reached through the i m a g i n a t i v e e x p e r i e n c e of absence, when the b a r r i e r s between the mind and the w o r l d seem insurmountable. The t h e s i s examines the growth and r e s o l u t i o n of. t h i s d u a l i s t i c v i s i o n of l i f e , w i t h i t s r o o t s i n M u i r 1 s e a r l y e x p e r i e n c e . His years of p o v e r t y i n Glasgow f o r c e d him to see man's mi s e r y and d e g r a d a t i o n , y e t i n h i s dreams he e x p e r i e n c e d s t a t e s of l i m i t l e s s u n i o n and freedom, which seemed to show that the human b e i n g i s not bound by time and c i r c u m s t a n c e . Muir's c r e a t i v e phase began i n Germany, when h i s r e a d i n g of German poets and n o v e l i s t s h e l p e d him to s e t h i s e x p e r i e n c e of s u f f e r i n g and d e p r i v a t i o n w i t h i n an i m a g i n a t i v e v i s i o n of l i f e . CONTENTS INTRODUCTION 1. CHAPTER I. MUIR'S EARLY LITERARY DEVELOPMENT, 1918 - 1926 9. Muir's E a r l y Prose, from We Moderns to L a t i t u d e s Muir's E a r l y P o e t r y : F i r s t Poems and Chorus of the Newly Dead CHAPTER I I . MUIR'S GROWTH TOWARDS INTEGRATION, 1927 - 1937 1 1 2 . The Three Novels The P o e t r y of A l i e n a t i o n CHAPTER I I I . THE PARTICIPATING IMAGINATION: MUIR'S MATURE POEMS 236. The Narrow P l a c e The L a t e r Volumes The Longer Poems CHAPTER IV. KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERIENCE: THE DRAMATIC POEMS 338. CONCLUSION 39^-BIBLIOGRAPHY ^ 0 7 . 1. INTRODUCTION The achievements of Edwin Muir as poet, c r i t i c , and t r a n s l a t o r have been w i d e l y r e c o g n i z e d . T h i s study of h i s work c o n s i d e r s Muir o n l y as an i m a g i n a t i v e w r i t e r , i t s approach i s p r i m a r i l y thematic, and i t aims to show h i s development t o -wards the v i s i o n of l i f e embodied i n h i s mature poems. Muir began to w r i t e p o e t r y i n h i s m i d - t h i r t i e s p a r t l y as a t h e r a -p e u t i c measure, to h e a l the p s y c h o l o g i c a l d i s s o c i a t i o n which deadened h i s p e r c e p t i o n s of the world. As a c h i l d on h i s f a t h e r ' s farm i n Orkney, he had e x i s t e d i n a t i m e l e s s world where the p a t t e r n s of human l i f e r a n as they had r u n f o r cen-t u r i e s , h a l l o wed by custom, and i n d i s s o l u b l y l i n k e d to the cy-c l e s of n a t u r e . Suddenly, when the f a m i l y moved to i n d u s t r i a l Glasgow, Muir found h i m s e l f plunged i n t o chaos. Men i n the modern c i t y were no l o n g e r bound t o g e t h e r i n l o y a l t y and l o v e , but p i t t e d a g a i n s t one another i n desperate c o m p e t i t i o n . Human l i f e seemed to have no meaning or o r d e r . D u r i n g h i s most un-happy y e a r s , Muir t r i e d to escape from h i m s e l f and h i s sense of meaninglessness. I n h i s p o e t r y , however, he c o n f r o n t e d h i s f e a r s , and s t e a d i l y won l i b e r a t i o n from them. Through h i s i m a g i n a t i o n he g r a d u a l l y r e c o v e r e d the sense of an encompassing o r d e r which he had once known i n Orkney. By c r e a t i n g images of wholeness i n human s o c i e t y and h i s t o r y , he s t r e n g t h e n e d p s y c h i c i n t e g r a t i o n i n h i m s e l f . Muir's l a s t p u b l i s h e d volume of poems, One Foot i n Eden, marks h i s r e - e n t r y i n t o Eden; i t i s a p a r a d i s e w i t h i n , f a r more meaningful than the f i r s t un-t h i n k i n g p a r a d i s e . 2. Muir's poems express and e v e n t u a l l y r e s o l v e a d u a l i s t i c v i s i o n of l i f e which has i t s r o o t s i n h i s e a r l y experience. One aspect of h i s v i s i o n i s the du a l i s m o f the S t o r y and the F a b l e , which grew from the sharp c o n t r a s t between h i s c h i l d h o o d i n Orkney and h i s adolescence i n the slums of Glasgow. The F a b l e , a c c o r d i n g to Muir, i s the p a t t e r n of human l i f e as i t was meant to be; the S t o r y r e p r e s e n t s the temporal i n c i d e n t s and a c c i d e n t s which obscure and d i s t o r t the F a b l e . His l i f e i n Glasgow, on the one hand, f o r c e d him to see man's miser y and d e g r a d a t i o n . In h i s dreams, on the oth e r hand, he exp e r i e n c e d s t a t e s of l i m i t l e s s u n i o n and freedom, which seemed to show that the human b e i n g i s not bound by time and cir c u m s t a n c e . I n h i s Autobiography he w r i t e s : I n themselves our co n s c i o u s l i v e s may not be p a r t i c u l a r l y i n t e r e s t i n g . But what we are not and can never be, our f a b l e , seems to me i n c o n c e i v a b l y i n t e r e s t i n g . I sh o u l d l i k e to w r i t e that f a b l e , but I cannot even l i v e i t ; and a l l I c o u l d do i f I r e l a t e d the outward course o f my l i f e would be to show how I have d e v i a t e d from i t ; though even t h a t i s i m p o s s i b l e , s i n c e I do not know the f a b l e or anyone who knows i t . l A second aspect of Muir's d u a l i s t i c thought concerns the pro-blem of the a r t i s t i c v i s i o n i t s e l f . He i s s t r o n g l y aware of the s p l i t between the detached, " o b j e c t i v e " v i s i o n which sees e v e r y t h i n g w i t h c o l d c l a r i t y and the i n v o l v e d , " s u b j e c t i v e " v i s i o n which i n e v i t a b l y d i s t o r t s the o b j e c t o f p e r c e p t i o n . T h i s d u a l i s m a l s o had i t s r o o t s i n h i s e a r l y e x p e r i e n c e : h i s p e r i o d of i n t e n s e l o n e l i n e s s i n Glasgow showed him that i n t r o -1 Muir, An Autobiography (London: Hogarth, 1 9 ^ 0 ) , p. ^ 9 . 3. s p e c t i o n alone i s s t e r i l e and can never know r e a l i t y as i t i s , ye t the detached r a t i o n a l i s m w i t h which he h a b i t u a l l y saw the world at t h a t time was powerless to see p a s t s u r f a c e appear-ances. Through h i s i m a g i n a t i o n Muir was ab l e to p e n e t r a t e the s u r f a c e o f t h i n g s , and see them i n depth, because he was a b l e to move o u t s i d e h i m s e l f i n sympathy. So h i s i m a g i n a t i o n l i -b e r a t e d him s i m u l t a n e o u s l y from imprisonment i n s u b j e c t i v e f e e l i n g and from a n a l y t i c a l r a t i o n a l i s m . I n h i s b e s t p o e t r y he f u s e d involvement w i t h o b j e c t i v i t y . The forms of Muir's p o e t r y are t r a d i t i o n a l , and as poet and c r i t i c he b e l i e v e d f e r v e n t l y i n the need to p r e s e r v e the t r a d i t i o n s o f the p a s t . I n h i s i n t e n s e and p a i n f u l awareness of the c r i s e s f a c i n g mankind i n the t w e n t i e t h c e n t u r y , Muir was e s s e n t i a l l y "modern" and of h i s time. Yet he b e l i e v e d that the i n c r e a s i n g d e p e r s o n a l i z a t i o n o f the modern worl d c o u l d be r e v e r s e d o n l y i f memories of the a n c e s t r a l p a s t were kept a l i v e i n the p r e s e n t , g i v i n g depth and s i g n i f i c a n c e to every human a c t i o n . F o r t h i s r e a s on he c o u l d not be an i n n o v a t o r i n p o e t r y , and sto o d o u t s i d e the s e l f - c o n s c i o u s l y "modern" move-ment. I n h i s poems Muir s t r o v e to g i v e e x p r e s s i o n to the f e e l i n g s and p e r c e p t i o n s which l i n k a l l men i n a l l ages, never to express h i s own p r i v a t e f e e l i n g s f o r t h e i r own sake. He f e l t h i m s e l f to be the h e i r o f a l l the g e n e r a t i o n s p r e c e d i n g h i s own, and i t was t h i s sense of b e l o n g i n g to a past wider than t h a t o f S c o t l a n d , or England, alone t h a t made him stand o u t s i d e any p a r t i c u l a r n a t i o n a l t r a d i t i o n o f p o e t r y . He d i d not j o i n the movement of the S c o t t i s h L i t e r a r y Renaissance, and wrote o n l y two e a r l y b a l l a d s i n S c o t s , though the s i m p l i -c i t y , i n t e n s i t y , and s e r i o u s n e s s o f h i s p o e t r y , the e s s e n t i a l d u a l i s m of h i s v i s i o n , and the s t r o n g l y v i s u a l q u a l i t y of h i s images l i n k him w i t h the e a r l i e r S c o t t i s h t r a d i t i o n . Nor does h i s work b e l o n g c l o s e l y to the E n g l i s h t r a d i t i o n of l i t e r a t u r e , a l t h o u g h M i l t o n , Blake, and Wordsworth are i n d i v i d u a l f o r c e s b e h i n d i t . Muir's poems about c h i l d h o o d have cl e a r a f f i n i t i e s w i t h those of Vaughan and Traherne, but i n f a c t h i s v i s i o n of innocence i s n a t u r a l r a t h e r than s u p e r n a t u r a l , and much c l o s e r to t h a t of the German Romantics. D u r i n g h i s years i n Glasgow Muir r e a d w i d e l y i n n i n e t e e n t h - c e n t u r y E n g l i s h l i t e r a t u r e , and h i s e a r l y essays on l i t e r a t u r e , w r i t t e n b e f o r e he began to w r i t e p o e t r y , are r e m i n i s c e n t of Matthew A r n o l d . I n form and imagery h i s e a r l y p o e t r y i s v e r y i m i t a t i v e of n i n e t e e n t h -c e n t u r y E n g l i s h p o e t r y , but these echoes stem from h i s uncer-t a i n t y and l a c k of s k i l l , and they d i s a p p e a r as soon as he found h i s own t r u e v o i c e as a poet. The most important p o e t i c i n f l u e n c e on Muir, which h e l p e d him to w r i t e h i s own F i r s t  Poems, was h i s d i s c o v e r y of German p o e t r y i n 1 9 2 2 . Throughout h i s c a r e e r as a poet Muir f e l t a sense of a f f i n i t y w i t h German w r i t e r s , and t h i s h e l p e d to d e t a c h him from the mainstream of modern E n g l i s h p o e t r y , w i t h i t s r o o t s i n F r e n c h Symbolism. Muir came to p o e t i c m a t u r i t y i n the 1 9 3 0 ' s , but d e s p i t e per-s o n a l t i e s of f r i e n d s h i p w i t h s e v e r a l of the poets of the t h i r t i e s , he had no r e a l p o l i t i c a l awareness and h i s p o e t i c concerns have l i t t l e i n common w i t h t h e i r s . He stood o u t s i d e "movements" because he d i s t r u s t e d a l l a b s t r a c t systems l e a d i n g 5. to the tyranny of the i n t e l l e c t over human f e e l i n g . I n B e l o n g i n g , a memoir of t h e i r l i f e t o g e t h e r , W i l l a Muir w r i t e s of t h e i r c a r e e r of " n o n - j o i n i n g " : Where p o l i t i c a l o r g a n i z a t i o n s came i n q u e s t i o n we were now n o n - j o i n e r s . I n Hampstead we n o n - j o i n e d Communism, as we would have n o n - j o i n e d F a s c i s m had i t come our way. We d i s t r u s t e d systems ending i n -ism, e s p e c i a l l y p o l i -t i c a l systems, a b s t r a c t i o n s one and a l l , we thought.2 Muir's p o s i t i o n as a n o n - j o i n e r i s r e f l e c t e d i n the p a t t e r n of h i s l i f e , which was a wandering one up to the end. As one movement i n p o e t r y succeeded another, he became more and more a s o l i t a r y f i g u r e , working and reworking the themes which ex-p r e s s e d h i s c e n t r a l concerns. The two l a t e r chapters of t h i s t h e s i s w i l l suggest the ways i n which Muir's mature poems s o l v e h i s p e r s o n a l and a r t i s -t i c problems. The f i r s t two c h a p t e r s , however, w i l l d i s c u s s h i s e a r l y work, and t h e i r p l a n w i l l be r o u g h l y c h r o n o l o g i c a l . Chapter One t r a c e s h i s l i t e r a r y development d u r i n g the forma-t i v e y e ars between 1918 and 1 9 2 6 . A l t h o u g h Muir l a t e r repu-d i a t e d the N i e t z s c h e a n s e l f of We Moderns and the e a r l y essays and reviews, some of the i d e a s i n h i s f i r s t p u b l i s h e d w r i t i n g foreshadow h i s mature work. The i n f l u e n c e of Jung i n p a r t i c u -l a r has l a s t i n g r e l e v a n c e f o r Muir's development as a poet, and the c h a p t e r shows the b a s i s of h i s f i r s t i n t e r e s t i n Jung, r e f l e c t e d i n the prose j o u r n a l i s m w r i t t e n f o r the New Age and the Athenaeum. Then i t d i s c u s s e s the essays i n L a t i t u d e s , Muir's f i r s t volume of c r i t i c a l essays, i n order to show the pp. 1 6 5 - 6 6 . 2 W i l l a Muir, B e l o n g i n g : A Memoir (London: Hogarth, 1968 6. complete change i n h i s s t y l e and l i t e r a r y i d e a s d u r i n g h i s time i n Germany and A u s t r i a . H i s c r e a t i v e phase began i n Germany i n 1 9 2 2 , when the d u a l i s t i c v i s i o n of German Romanti-cism h e l p e d him to f o r m u l a t e h i s own d u a l i s t i c v i s i o n of l i f e . Many of the i d e a s i n h i s essays on German p o e t r y can be r e a d as statements of h i s own p o e t i c aims. The chapter d i s c u s s e s Muir's f i r s t two volumes of P o e t r y , F i r s t Poems and Chorus of  the Newly Dead, and p l a c e s them i n r e l a t i o n to h i s own p o e t i c needs and the i n f l u e n c e s on him. I n the years between the Chorus of the Newly Dead ( 1 9 2 6 ) and V a r i a t i o n s on a Time Theme ( 1 9 3 ^ ) Muir p u b l i s h e d o n l y s i x poems, and h i s main i m a g i n a t i v e energy went i n t o the w r i t i n g of h i s t h r e e a u t o b i o g r a p h i c a l n o v e l s . I n these n o v e l s Muir c o n f r o n t s the f e a r s and c o n f l i c t s from which he had once turned away; the w r i t i n g of them f r e e d t h i s p s y c h i c m a t e r i a l and made i t a v a i l a b l e as m a t e r i a l f o r p o e t r y . The f i r s t p a r t of Chapter Two d i s c u s s e s the r e l e v a n t a s p e c t s of the n o v e l s , and the second p a r t d i s c u s s e s the poems i n V a r i a t i o n s on a Time Theme and Journeys and P l a c e s , i n which the e x p e r i e n c e s of f e a r and a l i e n a t i o n conveyed i n the n o v e l s are p r e s e n t e d i n o b j e c t i f i e d i m a g i n a t i v e forms. The c e n t r a l problem f o r Muir as an a r t i s t i s i m p l i c i t i n t h i s e a r l y work: seen under the aspect of n e c e s s i t y which C a l v i n i s m and the N i e t z s c h e a n i d e a of r e c u r -rence imposed on i t , l i f e seemed inhuman and without meaning. Yet the i n t u i t i o n s of meaning found by i n t r o s p e c t i o n alone are at b e s t s u s p e c t . Muir's main concern as an i m a g i n a t i v e w r i t e r , as he d e s c r i b e s i t i n the Autobiography, i s to f i n d a 7. means of knowing h i m s e l f , and he i s c o n s t a n t l y aware t h a t t r u e knowledge can be reached n e i t h e r through pure detachment nor through pure involvement. The t h i r d c h a p t e r d i s c u s s e s the mature poems which move towards the f u s i o n o f v i s i o n and a c t u a l i t y , the F a b l e and the S t o r y o f Muir's l i f e . A number of poems i n The Narrow P l a c e ( 1 9 ^ 3 ) d i s c o v e r the sudden b r o a d e n i n g of awareness which ima-g i n a t i v e i d e n t i f i c a t i o n can b r i n g ; a s i n g l e moment of imagina-t i v e v i s i o n l e a d s the poet out of the c i r c l e of r e c u r r e n c e and n e c e s s i t y and i n t o the realm of freedom. Muir's l a t e r poems s t e a d i l y deepen the sense of p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n human l i f e ; they t r a n s f o r m the s t e r i l e monologue of s u b j e c t i v i t y i n t o a per-p e t u a l d i a l o g u e o f need and response. The ch a p t e r c u l m i n a t e s i n a d i s c u s s i o n o f Muir's most ambitious l a t e r poem, "The Journey Back", where the f u s i o n o f involvement and detachment i s most n e a r l y a c h i e v e d . The l a s t c h a p t e r o f the t h e s i s d i s c u s s e s Muir's n a r r a -t i v e and dramatic poems. These poems l e a d up to an experi e n c e of meaning i n which i n t u i t i o n and p e r c e p t i o n , e t e r n a l t r u t h and p a r t i c u l a r e x p e r i e n c e , are f u s e d . I n them the dual i s m of S t o r y and F a b l e i s r e s o l v e d , i f o n l y momentarily. The ch a p t e r ends w i t h a d i s c u s s i o n o f the l a t e v i s i o n a r y poems i n which immediate human e x p e r i e n c e i s shown co m p l e t e l y transformed by e t e r n a l meaning, and h e l d i n a t i m e l e s s moment of i m a g i n a t i v e apprehension. I n t h e i r v i s i o n o f the d i v i n e immanent i n the human, these poems f u l f i l the aims suggested i n Muir's e a r l y 8. essays on German p o e t r y , and they are the c u l m i n a t i o n o f h i s p o e t i c achievement. CHAPTER ONE 9. MUIR'S EARLY LITERARY DEVELOPMENT, 1918 - 1926 We l e f t f o r Dresden about the end of March, and from the s t a r t l o v e d the f i n e , s p a c i o u s c i t y . There d u r i n g the hot, i d l e summer I seemed at l a s t to r e c o v e r from the l o n g i l l n e s s t h a t had s e i z e d me when, at f o u r -teen, I came to Glasgow. I r e a l i z e d t h a t I must l i v e over a g a i n the years which I had l i v e d wrongly, and that every one sho u l d l i v e h i s l i f e twice, f o r the f i r s t attempt i s always b l i n d . I went over my l i f e i n t h a t r e s t i n g space, l i k e a man who a f t e r t r a v e l l i n g a l o n g , f e a t u r e l e s s road suddenly r e a l i z e s t h a t , at t h i s p o i n t or t h a t , he had n o t i c e d almost without ' knowing i t , w i t h the c o r n e r of h i s eye, some e x t r a -o r d i n a r y o b j e c t , some r a r e t r e a s u r e , y e t i n h i s s l e e p -w a l k i n g had gone on, c o n s c i o u s l y aware o n l y of the bl a n k road f l o w i n g back beneath h i s f e e t . These ob-j e c t s , l i k e G r i s e l d a s , were p a t i e n t l y w a i t i n g at the p o i n t s where I had f i r s t i g n o r e d them, and my f u l l gaze c o u l d take i n t h i n g s which an absent gaze had once passed over u n s e e i n g l y , so that l i f e I had wasted was r e t u r n e d to me. And w i t h ane b l e n k i t come i n t o h i s thocht That he sumtime h i r f a c e b e f o i r had sene. In l i v i n g t h a t l i f e over a g a i n I s t r u c k up a f i r s t a c q u a i n tance w i t h myself. T i l l now, I r e a l i z e d t h a t I had been s t u b b o r n l y s t a r i n g away from myself. As i f I had no more c h o i c e than time, I had walked w i t h my f a c e immovably s e t forward, as i n c a p a b l e as time of t u r n i n g my head and s e e i n g what was beh i n d me. I looked, and what I saw was my s e l f as I had l i v e d up to t h a t moment when I c o u l d t u r n my head. ... I n t u r n i n g my head and l o o k i n g a g a i n s t the d i r e c t i o n i n which time was h u r r y i n g me I won a new k i n d o f exper-i e n c e ; f o r now t h a t I no l o n g e r marched i n s t e p w i t h time I c o u l d see l i f e t i m e l e s s l y , and w i t h t h a t i n terms of the i m a g i n a t i o n . I f e l t , though I had not the a b i l i t y to express i t , what Pro u s t d e s c r i b e s i n Le Temps Retrouve. "A moment l i b e r a t e d from the order of time" seemed a c t u a l l y to have r e - c r e a t e d i n me "a man to f e e l i t who was a l s o f r e e d from the order of time." T h i s was i n 1 9 2 2 , and i n the same year Muir began to w r i t e p o e t r y . T h i r t y years had passed s i n c e he had f i r s t come to awareness of h i m s e l f , as a new c r e a t u r e i n an o r g a n i c Edwin Muir, An Autobiography (London: Hogarth, 195^)» pp. 1 9 2 - 9 3 . w o r l d where animals and men l i v e d harmoniously t o g e t h e r . When h i s f a m i l y l e f t t h e i r farm i n Orkney f o r a ; s o r d i d and p r e c a r i o u s e x i s t e n c e i n Glasgow, the w o r l d had become u n r e a l to him. The h o s t i l e , i mpersonal surroundings i n Glasgow robbed him o f a l l s e c u r i t y ; l i f e seemed to have no meaning or v a l u e , and when i n q u i c k s u c c e s s i o n f o u r members of h i s f a m i l y died^he c o u l d make no emotional response to h i s e x p e r i e n c e of s u f f e r i n g . I n h i s mid-twenties Muir's s t a t e of d i s s o c i a t i o n became so complete that he f e l t s e p a r a t e d by an i n v i s i b l e w a l l from a l l the l i f e around him. H i s r e c o v e r y began i n 1919? when he m a r r i e d and moved to London, and a s p e l l o f p s y c h o a n a l y s i s a few months l a t e r put him i n touch w i t h h i s subconscious s e l f . The Muirs l e f t B r i t a i n i n August 1 9 2 1 ; they spent the w i n t e r i n Prague and went to Dresden i n the s p r i n g , and i t was t h e r e t h a t Muir began a g a i n to respond spontaneously to the w o r l d around him. He began to w r i t e p o e t r y then and went on w r i t i n g i t u n t i l the y ear he d i e d . The c e n t r a l purpose of h i s p o e t r y i s i m p l i -c i t i n t h i s l o n g passage from the Autobiography: i t i s a d e l i b e r a t e and wakeful r e - e x p e r i e n c i n g of the o r d i n a r y l i f e which s l i p s by unawares, i n the i n v o l u n t a r y journey through time which i s a k i n d of s l e e p w a l k i n g . The poems take the anonymous, f a c e l e s s moments of human time, and g i v e them names which m a n i f e s t t h e i r unique and p r e c i o u s q u a l i t y . The r a r e -ness which i s absent to the o r d i n a r y eye i s made p r e s e n t by the t r a n s f i g u r i n g i m a g i n a t i o n . 1 1 . D e s p i t e i t s thematic u n i t y , Muir's p o e t r y i s not the e x p r e s s i o n o f a c o n s c i o u s , s y s t e m a t i c view of the world. I t s g o a l , r a t h e r , i s the complete i n f u s i o n o f b e i n g w i t h con-s c i o u s n e s s , c r e a t i n g a sense o f the fathomless r e a l i t y i n -herent i n human l i f e . The s t r u c t u r e of Muir's thought i s P l a t o n i c , y e t the i m p l i c a t i o n s of t h i s are m i s l e a d i n g : h i s F a b l e has no e x i s t e n c e i n a b s t r a c t i o n from h i s S t o r y . The s t u f f o f h i s p o e t r y i s always e x p e r i e n c e , waking or s l e e p i n g ; dreams, i n h i s view, are a mode of e x p e r i e n c e . Muir's l a s t r e c o r d e d words are "There are no a b s o l u t e s " , and h i s poems do not r e s t i n any f i n a l s y n t h e s i s . The tone of j o y and acc e p t -ance i n many of h i s l a t e r poems does not mean t h a t he has found a v i s i o n of g l o r y which can c a n c e l out the boredom and the h o r r o r . I n some of h i s l a s t poems, i n f a c t , the percep-t i o n o f e v i l i s i n t e n s i f i e d . H i s p o e t r y a s p i r e s not towards a statement of t r u t h , but towards a sense o f t o t a l presence. Then the b a r r i e r s between the mind and the world v a n i s h , there i s no d i s t i n c t i o n between s e l f and other, and the moment of exp e r i e n c e i s f i l l e d w i t h a l l the r e a l i t y the mind can grasp. Muir's poems r e p r e s e n t the p r o c e s s by which he l e a r n s the world, and the knowledge he ga i n s i s not the knowledge of thought and o b s e r v a t i o n , but the knowledge g i v e n by t o t a l p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n the modes of human e x i s t e n c e . The poems which r e a l i z e h i s aims most c o m p l e t e l y ("Orpheus* Dream", "The A n n u n c i a t i o n " ) are, i n e v i t a b l y , poems about l o v e . They r e p r e s e n t the s t a t e , l a s t i n g o n l y an i n s t a n t , i n which the s e l f i s c o m p l e t e l y informed by another presence. Muir has been c a l l e d a " C h r i s t i a n " poet, and a l t h o u g h h i s deep exper-i e n c e o f C h r i s t i a n i t y was not a c o n v e r s i o n to orthodoxy, h i s mature p o e t r y i s e s s e n t i a l l y " C h r i s t i a n " i n i t s openness towards e n d l e s s p o t e n t i a l i t y . Muir's use of the s t o r y of G r i s e l d a i n h i s account of the b i r t h of h i s i m a g i n a t i o n may stand, perhaps, as the F a b l e f o r h i s whole p o e t i c endeavour. The G r i s e l d a s t o r y e x e m p l i f i e s p a t i e n c e , p r e s e r v a t i o n and r e c o g n i t i o n , and these are q u a l i t i e s c e n t r a l to Muir's p o e t r y . The r e c o g n i t i o n o f G r i s e l d a f o r what i n t r u t h she i s i m p l i e s a r e c o g n i t i o n of the supreme v a l u e of p a t i e n c e . P a t i e n c e , f o r Muir, i s not a p a s s i v e q u a l i t y , but the a c t i v e v i r t u e which f i g h t s time's d e s t r u c t i v e -ness. The memories p r e s e r v e d by p a t i e n c e are the forms, s t i l l dark and u n i n h a b i t e d , from which meaning w i l l shine out i n the r i p e n e s s of time. As one of h i s c r i t i c s has s a i d , "What Muir f e l t most d e e p l y and expressed most movingly was the sense of a f t e r m a t h the slow passage of time a f t e r some gre a t or t e r r i b l e event, the endurance or p a t i e n c e or s u f f e r i n g of s u r v i v o r s , the cru m b l i n g of wasted c i t i e s : Eden a f t e r the F a l l , T r o y a f t e r i t was sacked, Penelope remembering Odysseus and Telemachos remembering Penelope, Oedipus o l d and b l i n d , Prometheus on the rock and l a t e r i n h i s grave, Abraham the wanderer, S c o t l a n d w i t h i t s l o n g annals of 'wasted b r a v e r y 2 i d l e as a song* 1, the world a f t e r an atomic war." These Edwin Morgan, "Edwin Muir", The Review, 5 (February, 1 9 6 3 ) , 6. 1 3 . f i g u r e s of s u f f e r i n g and endurance are the p r o t a g o n i s t s of Muir's p o e t r y ; they l i v e i n the shadow of c a t a s t r o p h e , but by t h e i r p a t i e n c e they r i p e n the r i d d l e s of e x p e r i e n c e i n t o a s i n g l e v i s i o n . I n the passage from the Autobiography quoted e a r l i e r , Muir sees the b e g i n n i n g of i m a g i n a t i v e v i s i o n as the a s s e r t i o n of the autonomy of the p e r c e p t i o n s , t h e i r freedom from the mechanical h u r r y of time. The t i m e l e s s v i s i o n to which h i s p o e t r y a s p i r e s grows from the e x p e r i e n c e of time as a c o n t i n -u i t y r a t h e r than an a r b i t r a r y s u c c e s s i o n of moments. Hi s poems s t e a d i l y transmute the image of time. I n the e a r l y poems time i s a monster which d e s t r o y s e x p e r i e n c e b e f o r e meaning can be brought to b i r t h , but i n the l a t e r poems time becomes a s t i l l expanse i n which meaning i s immanent. Muir's i m a g i n a t i o n i s temporal i n i t s essence; i t s m a t e r i a l i s s t o r e d by the memory and tr a n s f o r m e d by momentary a c t s of r e c o g n i t i o n . The meaning i s seen suddenly, through a s i n g l e s t r o k e of i n -t u i t i v e u n d e r s t a n d i n g , but i t i s always p o t e n t i a l l y t h e r e ; the s t o r y of G r i s e l d a expresses t h i s t r u t h . Muir s e t s out imagina-t i v e l y from an a f f i r m a t i o n of p o t e n t i a l i t y ; t h i s i s the c e n t r a l p o i n t of h i s e a r l i e s t dream poems. The b e l i e f i n i m m o r t a l i t y which dawned on him i n London was not an orthodox b e l i e f i n a r e s u r r e c t i o n beyond time and m o r t a l i t y , but an i n t u i t i o n o f the endless p o t e n t i a l i t y p r e s e n t i n the r e a l human b e i n g . T h i s p o t e n t i a l i t y can be r e a l i z e d i n c o n c r e t e p e r c e p t i o n s when the mind p r e s e r v e s i t s e l f i n a s t a t e of openness, and does not c l o s e i t s e l f a g a i n s t the p o s s i b l e . The a t t i t u d e of openness i s the c o n d i t i o n of i m a g i n a t i v e d i s c o v e r y , and i t i s symbolized i n Muir's p o e t r y by the f i g u r e of Penelope making and remaking her web. In the passage from the Autobiography, the c e n t r a l paradox of Muir's temporal yet t i m e l e s s i m a g i n a t i o n i s a l s o i m p l i e d . Muir's i m a g i n a t i o n , l i k e P r o u s t ' s , c a n see "a moment l i b e r a t e d from the order o f time"; i t has won freedom from b l i n d immersion i n the stream of time. Yet the u l t i m a t e g o a l of Muir's p o e t r y i s to be a b l e to say "here" and "now" w i t h assurance and meaning. T h i s e n t i r e l y r e a l moment i s exper-i e n c e d when the o u t e r and i n n e r time schemes c o i n c i d e . I n Muir's f a b l e o f G r i s e l d a , the e r r i n g husband cannot see G r i s e l d a w i t h open eyes u n t i l h i s inward development has caught up w i t h her. I n t h i s way, Muir r e a l i z e d i n 1922 that h i s outward age d i d not c o i n c i d e w i t h h i s inward development; he had t r a v e l l e d through h i s e a r l y l i f e without e x p e r i e n c i n g i t . A f t e r the s e c o n d ' b i r t h of h i s i m a g i n a t i v e awakening, he l i v e d h i s l i f e f o r the f i r s t time, not f o r the second time, because he was now a b l e to be f u l l y i n h i s past and p r e s e n t e x p e r i e n c e s . So h i s l i f e b e f o r e 1922 was i n a sense a p r e -e x i s t e n c e , memories from which l a y w i t h i n him as p o t e n t i a l i t i e s w a i t i n g to be brought to l i f e by the i m a g i n a t i o n . S i n c e Muir was de e p l y i n f l u e n c e d by J u n g i a n psychology, t h i s area of p r e -e x i s t e n c e f o r him i n c l u d e s not merely h i s own c o n s c i o u s memories but the r a c i a l memories of humanity e x p e r i e n c e d i n 15. h i s dreams. Muir's e x p l o r a t i o n s o f the r a c i a l memory are i n no sense s p e c u l a t i v e , however; h i s poems make i n t o images o n l y the i n s i g h t s i n t o which he himself has grown. The ima-g i n a t i o n o f h i s p o e t r y i s always the sympathetic i m a g i n a t i o n which understands through complete i d e n t i f i c a t i o n , so when the G r i s e l d a s o f h i s i m a g i n a t i o n are brought to l i g h t he i s i d e n t i f y i n g i n the worl d a s p e c t s of h i m s e l f . Muir's account of h i s e a r l y y e ars i n Glasgow shows th a t he tended to l o o k at the people seen c a s u a l l y on the s t r e e t s i n a detached, s a r d o n i c way. He saw them o n l y from the o u t s i d e , w i t h r e p u l s i o n r a t h e r than w i t h sympathy, so that they o f t e n appeared grotesque or monstrous. T h i s i s h i s des-c r i p t i o n o f an e x p e r i e n c e on a crowded Glasgow tram i n 1919s I was r e t u r n i n g i n a tramcar from my work; the tramcar was f u l l and v e r y hot; the sun burned through the g l a s s on backs of necks, s h o u l d e r s , f a c e s , t r o u s e r s , s k i r t s , hands, a l l s t a c k e d there i m p a r t i a l l y . Opposite me was s i t t i n g a man w i t h a f a c e l i k e a p i g ' s , and as, I l o o k e d at him i n the o p p r e s s i v e heat the words came i n t o my mind, "That i s an ani m a l . " I l o o k e d round me at the othe r people i n the tramcar; I was c o n s c i o u s t h a t some-t h i n g had f a l l e n from them and from me; and w i t h a sense of d e s o l a t i o n I saw t h a t they were a l l animals, some of them good, some e v i l , some charming, some sad, some happy, some s i c k , some w e l l . The tramcar stopped and went on a g a i n , c a r r y i n g i t s menagerie; my mind saw c o u n t l e s s other tramcars where animals s a t or got on or o f f w i t h mechanical d e x t e r i t y , as i f they had been t r a i n e d i n a c i r c u s ; and I r e a l i z e d t h a t i n a l l Glasgow, i n a l l S c o t l a n d , i n a l l the world, t h e r e was n o t h i n g but m i l l i o n s o f such c r e a t u r e s l i v i n g an animal l i f e and moving towards an animal death as towards a gr e a t s l a u g h t e r - h o u s e . 3 Autobiography, p. 5 2 . T h i s i s an i m a g i n a t i v e v i s i o n o f a k i n d , but i t r e p r e s e n t s a k i n d of i m a g i n a t i o n p r e c i s e l y o p p o s i t e to that of Muir's mature p o e t r y . I t i s a r e d u c t i v e i m a g i n a t i o n , which s.trips away a l l the meanings g i v e n to human l i f e by accumulated human memory, and p e n e t r a t e s to the o n l y undeniable r e a l i t y . Muir's mature i m a g i n a t i o n , on the o t h e r hand, i s an enhancing imagina-t i o n , and p e r c e i v e s a human p r e s e n t dense w i t h a l l the meanings of the p a s t . The r e d u c t i v e v i s i o n i s reached through f e a r , the enhancing v i s i o n through, l o v e and r e v e r e n c e . When Muir was i n Glasgow, h i s sense of h i s own v u l n e r a b i l i t y and expo-sure made him see t h i n g s nakedly, without p r o t e c t i v e c l a s s i -f i c a t i o n s . I n the l o n g run, h i s detachment from g i v e n , con-v e n t i o n a l "meanings" made p o s s i b l e the a u t h e n t i c i m a g i n a t i v e d i s c o v e r i e s of h i s poems. H i s a s p i r a t i o n towards a sense of presence grew out of h i s e a r l y e x p e r i e n c e of anguish and the sense of i n n e r v o i d which r e s u l t e d from i t . D u r i n g the Glasgow y e a r s , however, he was q u i t e unable to transmute h i s v i s i o n of s t a r k r e a l i t y i n t o any p o s i t i v e v a l u e , and h i s sense of the h o s t i l i t y o f t h i n g s made him withdraw h i m s e l f more and more c o m p l e t e l y from the world. He saw a world o f t h r e a t e n i n g shapes, not of l i v i n g b e i n g s . T h i s v i s i o n o f r e a l i t y d i s t o r t e d by f e a r has a s t r i k i n g l i t e r a r y p a r a l l e l i n R i l k e ' s Malte L a u r i d s B r i g g e , a book w i t h which Muir f e l t an immediate k sense of a f f i n i t y when he read i t i n 1 9 2 9 • k " R i l k e ' s p o e t r y I r e a l l y don't care much f o r , s u b t l e and supremely s k i l f u l as i t i s , but t h i s s t r a n g e prose work c e r t a i n l y proves t h a t he was a man of g e n i u s . " Muir, l e t t e r to Sydney S c h i f f , J u l y 8, 1 9 2 9 . 17. When Muir submerged h i m s e l f i n the i d e a s of N i e t z s c h e , he adopted an a g g r e s s i v e a t t i t u d e to the world around him which was p r o b a b l y a compensation f o r the f r u s t r a t i o n of h i s f e e l i n g s . H i s N i e t z s c h e a n b e l i e f s gave him the i l l u s i o n o f m a n i p u l a t i n g a world from which he f e l t e s t ranged. But Muir's N i e t z s c h e a n pose, u t t e r l y f o r e i g n to h i s r e a l s e l f , became a k i n d of mechanical f a l s e p e r s o n a l i t y w i t h i n which he was trapped. When he moved to London i n 1919 h i s r e a l s e l f began to emerge, but he went on w r i t i n g N i e t z s c h e a n a r t i c l e s as i f by i n g r a i n e d h a b i t u n t i l 1 9 2 2 . The p s y c h o a n a l y s i s which he went through i n 1920 made him aware of new e n e r g i e s i n h i s subcon-s c i o u s s e l f , but he had not y e t found any way to d i r e c t and r e l e a s e them. I n Germany Muir e x p e r i e n c e d a p s y c h i c r e b i r t h . The new environment s t i m u l a t e d h i s senses, and he was f r e e d f o r the f i r s t time from immediate a n x i e t y about money. I n London he had made f r i e n d s , but the environment i t s e l f was i m p e r s o n a l ; i n Dresden and H e l l e r a u (where h i s w i f e was t e a c h i n g at A.S. N e i l l ' s f r e e s c h o o l ) he found h i m s e l f i n a n a t u r a l landscape to which he c o u l d respond w i t h j o y . At the same time he was d i s c o v e r i n g German p o e t r y , and the s p o n t a n e i t y of the poems he read seemed to f u s e w i t h the n a t u r a l n e s s of the c o u n t r y -5 s i d e . T h i s s u r r o u n d i n g enchantment was l i k e a new e x p e r i e n c e of innocence, and i t s t i r r e d Muir's memories of h i s own c h i l d -hood. He began then to w r i t e h i s F i r s t Poems, which r e p r e s e n t See Autobiography, Chapter 8. 18. the f i r s t stage i n h i s r e l i v i n g of h i s p a s t through p o e t r y . The c e n t r a l theme i n these e a r l y poems i s the n o s t a l g i c l o n g i n g f o r c h i l d h o o d . The b e s t of them are i m a g i n a t i v e t r a n s f o r m a -t i o n s of r e a l p e r s o n a l e x p e r i e n c e ; they s e t images of Muir's c h i l d h o o d i n Orkney w i t h i n the framework of a wider v i s i o n . These poems were d i r e c t l y i n s p i r e d by Muir's r e a d i n g of German poems of r e g r e t f o r a v a n i s h e d p a s t , i n which remembered scenes are t r a n s f i g u r e d by the i n t e n s i t y of the poet's l o n g i n g . A s i d e from the images of the Orkney landscape, Muir's poems are v e r y i m i t a t i v e of c e r t a i n German poe t s . I n terms of Muir's whole p o e t i c development, these poems of n o s t a l g i c memory are o n l y a t e n t a t i v e b e g i n n i n g : the poet evokes the p a s t merely to set' the meaninglessness of the p r e s e n t i n r e l i e f . The p a s t does not e n t e r and e n r i c h the p r e s e n t , but i s s e a l e d o f f from i t . The same theme of i n e x o r a b l e s e p a r a t i o n and l o n g i n g i s c o n t i n u e d i n the Chorus of the Newly Dead, p u b l i s h e d i n 1 9 2 6 . T h i s l o n g poem i s a s e r i e s of sympathetic s t u d i e s of human s u f f e r i n g , j u x t a p o s e d w i t h a t r a n s c e n d e n t v i s i o n of peace. The poem f a i l s to f u s e the two l e v e l s and r e s o l v e the s u f f e r i n g i n t o acceptance, p r o b a b l y because Muir's i m a g i n a t i v e r e l i v i n g of h i s p a s t had not y e t reached the stage when he c o u l d l o o k at s u f f e r i n g and p e r c e i v e meaning w i t h i n i t . U n t i l the e a r l y 1 9 2 0 ' s , Muir's deepest unconscious awareness was an awareness of bondage. H i s b e l i e f i n the i d e a s of N i e t z s c h e was a w i l l e d d e n i a l of what he f e l t to be t r u e . H i s dreams w h i l e he was b e i n g psychoanalyzed, h i s c o n t a c t w i t h German Romanticism, and c e r t a i n p e r s o n a l e x p e r i e n c e s combined to g i v e him i n t u i t i o n s of freedom, and encouraged him to express h i m s e l f . But at t h i s stage i n h i s development h i s whole a d u l t e x p e r i e n c e would not y i e l d an a s s u r e d i n t u i t i o n t h a t man i s f r e e . The f a i l u r e of the Chorus suggests t h a t the poet s t i l l needed to r e - e x p e r i e n c e h i s p a s t w i t h a l l h i s ima-g i n a t i v e s t r e n g t h i n o r d e r to he c o m p l e t e l y i n an i m a g i n a t i v e p r e s e n t . The e a r l y poems about c h i l d h o o d are moving i n them-s e l v e s but they do not e x p e r i e n c e the w o r l d of the poet's a d u l t s e l f as a r e a l i t y . I n o r d e r to r e a c h a t r u e a f f i r m i n g v i s i o n of the p r e s e n t , Muir had to r e l i v e the p e r s o n a l s u f f e r i n g which s t i l l seemed so meaningless and i n e s c a p a b l e , and f i n d a way to t r a n s c e n d i t . T h i s , i n f a c t , i s what he s e t h i m s e l f to do. I n the y e a r s between 1926 and 1 9 3 ^ he wrote v e r y l i t t l e p o e t r y , and h i s main i m a g i n a t i v e energy went i n t o the w r i t i n g of h i s a u t o b i o g r a p h i c a l n o v e l s . I n t h e . t h r e e n o v e l s the f i c t i o n a l d i s g u i s e becomes more and more t r a n s p a r e n t , and i n the l a s t of them, Poor Tom, he e x p l o r e s h i s most t e r r i -b l e e x p e r i e n c e s i n Glasgow w i t h r e m o r s e l e s s and s e l f - l a c e r a t i n g honesty. When Muir began to w r i t e p o e t r y a g a i n , most o f h i s poems were s t u d i e s of withdrawal and a l i e n a t i o n . But the t r a n s i t i o n a l poems i n V a r i a t i o n s on a Time Theme and Journeys  and P l a c e s , d e s p i t e t h e i r tone of numbness, l e a d d i r e c t l y to the d i s c o v e r i e s of r e a l i t y made i n the mature p o e t r y . The o n l y way i n which Muir's development p r i o r to F i r s t Poems can be s t u d i e d d i r e c t l y i s through h i s prose j o u r n a l i s m . He produced a g r e a t d e a l of work d u r i n g these 20. y e a r s , much of i t h a s t i l y w r i t t e n , and i t would be wrong to g i v e too much prominence to any of i t . However, a r e a d i n g of h i s a r t i c l e s and reviews does r e v e a l the i d e a s which concerned him at the time, and i t i s i n t e r e s t i n g to see how f a r h i s p o e t i c c a r e e r develops or r e p u d i a t e s these i d e a s . The f i r s t s e c t i o n of t h i s c hapter, then, w i l l t r a c e the development of Muir's l i t e r a r y i d e a s from h i s l a t e r y e ars i n Glasgow, when he began c o n t r i b u t i n g prose paragraphs and epigrams to the New Age, u n t i l 1 9 2 4 , when the p u b l i c a t i o n of L a t i t u d e s marked h i s m a t u r i t y as a c r i t i c . The second s e c t i o n w i l l d i s c u s s the poems p u b l i s h e d as F i r s t Poems i n 1 9 2 5 , and the Chorus of the  Newly Dead, p u b l i s h e d i n 1 9 2 6 . Muir's E a r l y Prose, from We Moderns to L a t i t u d e s We Moderns, p u b l i s h e d i n 1918 under the pseudonym Edward Moore, i s a c o l l e c t i o n of paragraphs w r i t t e n f o r the New Age i n 1 9 l 6 and 1 9 1 7 . I t i s Muir's f i r s t p u b l i s h e d book. The paragraphs are grouped under g e n e r a l c h a p t e r headings, but they are not l i n k e d by a coherent argument. D u r i n g the two y e a r s a f t e r the "We Moderns" s e r i e s ended Muir wrote v e r y l i t t l e , but a f t e r he moved to London i n l a t e 1919> and began s u p p o r t i n g h i m s e l f e n t i r e l y by w r i t i n g , he c o n t r i b u t e d r e g u l a r essays and reviews to the New Age and the Athenaeum. Hi s con-t r i b u t i o n s to the New Age i n c l u d e d the weekly column "Our G e n e r a t i o n " , which appeared between November 1920 and September 1922 and c o n t a i n e d comments on p o l i t i c s , psychology, r e l i g i o n 2 1 . and l i t e r a t u r e , and the column " C a u s e r i e de J e u d i " , which appeared i r r e g u l a r l y between November 1922 and August 1 9 2 3 , and developed i n t o a . s e r i e s of c r i t i c a l essays. Muir's r e v i e w i n g f o r the Athenaeum ended i n 1 9 2 1 , but i n the same year he began to w r i t e r e g u l a r l y f o r the American Freeman. A number of h i s Freeman essays were c o l l e c t e d i n h i s second book, L a t i t u d e s , p u b l i s h e d i n 1 9 2 4 . Muir's main i n t e r e s t s i n t h i s e a r l y w r i t i n g are i n t e l -l e c t u a l r a t h e r than l i t e r a r y , and h i s f i r s t work e s p e c i a l l y i s s t r o n g l y engaged i n a p r o p h e t i c cause. The barrage of N i e t z s c h e a n propaganda c o n t i n u e s i n t e r m i t t e n t l y i n h i s work up to the end of 1 9 2 2 , but from 1920 onwards Muir's h a b i t u a l p rose s t y l e becomes more n a t u r a l and c l o s e r to r e a l i t y . H i s p o e t r y reviews f o r the New Age judge l i t e r a t u r e from a p r e -c o n c e i v e d s t a n d p o i n t , based on h i s r e a d i n g of N i e t z s c h e and Jung, but he does show s e n s i t i v i t y to the p a r t i c u l a r q u a l i t i e s of the work he i s d i s c u s s i n g . Muir's time i n London was the p e r i o d of h i s own p s y c h o a n a l y s i s and a l s o of h i s s t r o n g i n t e l -l e c t u a l i n t e r e s t i n the i d e a s of Jung. The i n f l u e n c e of Jung became an important shaping f o r c e i n h i s own p o e t r y , and the prose w r i t t e n i n London shows i t s b e g i n n i n g . The c r i t i c a l time f o r Muir's e a r l y l i t e r a r y development i s 1922 - 1 9 2 3 ; h i s s t r o n g sympathy f o r German Romanticism d u r i n g h i s time i n Dresden caused a change i n h i s l i t e r a r y a t t i t u d e s , and at the same time h i s l i t e r a r y i n t e r e s t s widened and deepened. From the b e g i n n i n g of 1 9 2 3 on he wrote o n l y on l i t e r a r y s u b j e c t s . I n the r h e t o r i c of We Moderns i t i s d i f f i c u l t to c a t c h echoes of the v o i c e o f Edwin Muir, y e t some passages i n the book express i d e a s s u r p r i s i n g l y r e l e v a n t to the l a t e r develop-ment of the poet. I n a d d i t i o n , the g e n e r a l i d e a s about l i t -e r a t u r e d e r i v e d from the p h i l o s o p h y of N i e t z s c h e and expressed w i t h much f o r c e i n We Moderns l i e b e h i n d a l l Muir's c r i t i c i s m w r i t t e n u n t i l l a t e 1 9 2 2 . F o r Edward Moore, i f not f o r Edwin Muir, the supreme a r t i s t i s the N i e t z s c h e a n prophet and seer. The a r t i s t ' s i n s i g h t i s a dynamic f o r c e , a power to con c e i v e and express an i d e a l i z e d image of man. The t r a n s f i g u r a t i o n of man begins i n the a r t i s t ' s mind. So the t r u e poet w i l l r i s e above the t r i v i a l events of the p r e s e n t towards the realm of the sublime and the e t e r n a l . "Poets l i v e to c r e a t e gods; to g l o r i f y gods s h o u l d a l l t h e i r a r t s o f adornment and i d e a l i z a t i o n be u s e d . T h i s c o n c e p t i o n o f a r t as a t r a n s -f o r m i n g power cannot be r e c o n c i l e d w i t h the c o n c e p t i o n of a r t as a f a i t h f u l r e f l e c t i o n o f r e a l i t y , and much of the s a t i r e i n We Moderns i s d i r e c t e d a g a i n s t the "crude and s h a l l o w " methods of modern r e a l i s m . There i s , Muir c l a i m s , n e i t h e r value nor s i g n i f i c a n c e i n the work of modern w r i t e r s ; they merely debase the s a c r e d image of man. In modern r e a l i s t i c tragedy, "the s u p e r f i c i a l i t y which can see o n l y the s u r f a c e ... parades as the p r o f u n d i t y which has d i v e d i n t o every abyss and found i t empty." The modern n o v e l i n v o l v e s us i n the p a l t r y "Edward Moore", We Moderns: Enigmas and Guesses (London: A l l e n and Unwin~j 1918) , p~! 1 7 8 . 23. and the s o r d i d , but g i v e s us no t r u t h : "How i s A r t , which should make Man f r e e , here transformed i n t o a potent means 7 f o r e n s l a v i n g him!" We Moderns, f o r a l l i t s f o r c e d r h e t o r i c , expresses an a s p i r a t i o n which i s c e n t r a l i n Muir's f i r s t impulse to w r i t e p o e t r y . The c a l l f o r great themes i s o f t e n r e p e a t e d i n the essays and reviews of the e a r l y 1 9 2 0 ' s , and Muir's s t r u g g l e s to complete the Chorus of the Newly Dead r e v e a l h i s determina-t i o n to a t t a i n the p o e t i c sublime. Muir's l a t e r p o e t r y comes down to a more p e r s o n a l , l e s s ambitious l e v e l , but the a r t i s -t i c method proposed i n We Moderns foreshadows an important element i n a l l h i s p o e t r y . S u b l i m i t y , he suggests, may be reached through the p o e t i c use of myth: A g a i n s t t h i s a i m l e s s Realism, we must oppose i d e a l i z a t i o n , and e s p e c i a l l y t h a t which i s i t s h i g h e s t e x p r e s s i o n , Myth. And l e t no one say that i t i s i m p o s s i b l e at t h i s stage i n Man's h i s t o r y to r e s u s c i t a t e Myth. The p a s t has c e r t a i n l y l o s t i t s mystery f o r us, and i t was i n the p a s t , at the source of Humanity, that the o l d poets set t h e i r sublime f i c t i o n s . But the f u t u r e i s s t i l l ours, and t h e r e , at Man's g o a l , our myths must be p l a n t e d . ... I f we but break away from Realism, i f we make A r t symbolic, i f we b r i n g about a marriage between A r t and R e l i g i o n , A r t w i l l r i s e again.8 The m y t h i c a l a p o t h e o s i s of the f u t u r e alone i s , of course, q u i t e f o r e i g n to Muir's p o e t r y . When Muir wrote We Moderns, he c o n c e i v e d the human past and p r e s e n t as c l o s e d , f l a t r e a l i -t i e s , u n f i t f o r m y t h i c a l treatment. So h i s v i s i o n of human p o t e n t i a l i t y was pushed i n t o the f u t u r e ; the f u t u r e became the We Moderns, pp. 18-20. We Moderns, p. 182. 2k. s o l e j u s t i f i c a t i o n of h i s t o r y . I n h i s p o e t r y , on the o t h e r hand, the v i s i o n o f p o t e n t i a l i t y i s brought i n t o the immediate p r e s e n t , mystery informs the p a s t as w e l l as the f u t u r e , and myth t e l e s c o p e s time, c r e a t i n g a sense of the immanence of the p a s t i n the p r e s e n t . S i g n i f i c a n t l y , the f i g u r e s Muir chooses i n We Moderns to e x e m p l i f y h i s i d e a l of myth i n l i t e r a t u r e are those of F a u s t , M e p h i s t o p h e l e s , Brand, Peer Gynt, and Z a r a t h u s t r a : a l l f i g u r e s of tragedy and r e b e l l i o n , who sym-b o l i c a l l y a b o l i s h the p a s t . The f i g u r e to which h i s p o e t r y r e t u r n s most o f t e n i s that of Penelope, whose p a t i e n c e sym-b o l i z e s the oneness of p a s t and p r e s e n t . However, Muir's f i r s t p u b l i s h e d poems, the dream poems of 1 9 2 2 , c r e a t e a v i s i o n o f p o t e n t i a l i t y d i r e c t e d towards the f u t u r e . I n them he f o l l o w s h i s own p r e c e p t i n We Moderns, where he exhorts c o t h e r w r i t e r s to " t u r n from men to Man, from R e a l i s m to Myth." These poems are s t r a n g e l y n o n - p e r s o n a l , and t h e i r atmosphere i s u n e a r t h l y . They reach t h e i r c l i m a x i n a moment of r e b i r t h i n which the p a s t i s c o m p l e t e l y o b l i t e r a t e d ; the f i r s t t i t l e of M uir's second poem, l a t e r renamed " B a l l a d of the S o u l " , i s " B a l l a d of E t e r n a l L i f e " . I n We Moderns, Muir t r i e s to sweep the reader on by the v i o l e n c e and b r e a t h l e s s speed of h i s argument. One senses t h a t the w r i t e r h i m s e l f i s i n t o x i c a t e d by N i e t z s c h e a n dynamism and powerless to r e s i s t i t . However, some passages i n the We Moderns, p. 1 7 0 . book seem to express Muir's own p e r c e p t i o n s , and they a n t i c i -pate elements i n h i s l a t e r poems. One passage foreshadows the use of r i t u a l i n the poems by r e f l e c t i n g on the n e c e s s i t y f o r ceremony i n s o c i a l b e h a v i o u r , and d e p l o r i n g the crude s u p e r f i c i a l i t y of manners i n i n d u s t r i a l c i t i e s : Here i s no time f o r r e f l e c t i o n upon men, women and manners, and con s e q u e n t l y no refinement of under-s t a n d i n g , no form i n the t r u e sense. I t i s f a r from our thoughts t h a t a c o n v e n t i o n between men and women might be n e c e s s a r y ... The ceremonious i n manners arose from the r e c o g n i t i o n t h a t between the sexes t h e r e must be d i s t a n c e - r e s p e c t as w e l l as i n t i m a c y - under-s t a n d i n g . The o l d g a l l a n t r y enabled men and women to be i n t i m a t e and d i s t a n t at the same time: i t was the p e r f e c t i o n o f the a r t of manners. N o t h i n g i s any l o n g e r understood; but a c o n v e n t i o n means e s s e n t i a l l y t h at something i s understood.10 T h i s passage r e v e a l s Muir's p e r s o n a l sense of d e p r i v a t i o n i n the m a t e r i a l i s t i c l i f e o f Glasgow, and h i s l o n g i n g f o r the t r a d i t i o n a l , o r d e r l y l i f e he had known i n Orkney. I t f o r e -shadows the passage i n Poor Tom i n which Mansie (who stands f o r M uir h i m s e l f i n h i s Glasgow y e a r s ) f i n d s h i m s e l f at a l o s s i n h i s l o v e a f f a i r because he cannot r e l a t e h i s a c t i o n s to any encompassing framework of co n v e n t i o n , and comes to "conceive of the t r a n s i t i o n to the p h y s i c a l r i t e s of l o v e as a p e r f e c t l y a r b i t r a r y step not p r o v i d e d f o r by the co n v e n t i o n , a b l i n d l e a p out of one world i n t o another. Ceremony, then, g i v e s d i g n i t y and wholeness to human l i f e , and without i t l i f e i s an a r b i t r a r y s e r i e s of u n r e l a t e d a c t i o n s . I n Muir's p o e t r y , 10 11 We Moderns, p. Muir, Poor Tom 1 2 0 . (London: Dent, 1 9 3 2 ) , p. 22. ceremony i s an i m p l i c i t r e c o g n i t i o n that the whole meaning of human l i f e i s never expressed, on the s u r f a c e , and t h a t depths of communal meaning l i e beneath the i n d i v i d u a l a c t . The f i f t h c h a p t e r of We Moderns i s c a l l e d " C r e a t i v e Love" and i t c e l e b r a t e s l o v e as the c e n t r a l f o r c e i n a N i e t z s c h e a n r e l i g i o n of Becoming. C r e a t i v e Love, Muir c l a i m s , "does not b r i n g enjoyment, but r a p t u r e and p a i n , " i t e n j o i n s "not sympathy w i t h s u f f e r i n g but the w i l l to t r a n s c e n d 12 s u f f e r i n g . " T h i s c o n c e p t i o n of l o v e i s the complete a n t i -t h e s i s of the k i n d of l o v e expressed i n M u i r 1 s p o e t r y , and i t i s p l a i n l y q u i t e u n r e a l to him. However t h e r e are a l s o passages, p r o b a b l y based on N i e t z s c h e ' s i d e a of the D i o n y s i a n a r t i s t , which c e l e b r a t e l o v e as the transcendence of i n d i v i -d u a l i t y . One passage i n p a r t i c u l a r invokes p r e c i s e l y the k i n d of c o n s c i o u s n e s s towards which Muir's l a t e r poems a s p i r e : L i f e takes us back to i t s bosom when we l o v e . The heavens, the e a r t h and the race of men no l o n g e r appear t h i n g s e x t e r n a l and h o s t i l e , a g a i n s t which we must arm o u r s e l v e s . We r e t u r n from e x i l e i n p e r s o n a l i t y ; our thought sweeps to the f a r t h e s t h o r i z o n s , and plunges i n t o the deepest g u l f s of e x i s t e n c e , at home i n a l l p l a c e s . The " e x t e r n a l " i s no l o n g e r e x t e r n a l : we contemplate i t from the i n s i d e , we gaze through i t s eyes. F o r the v e r y p r i n c i p l e of L i f e , of which a l l l i v i n g t h i n g s are the e x p r e s s i o n , has been apprehended by us.13 T h i s i n s i g h t gained through p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n o t h e r modes of b e i n g i s the g o a l of Muir's p o e t i c journey back through time. pp. 178, 180. p. 217. 12 We Moderns, 13 We Moderns, 27. Muir had not y e t e x p e r i e n c e d t h i s c o n s c i o u s n e s s when he wrote We Moderns, but t h i s passage shows that even when he had submerged h i m s e l f most c o m p l e t e l y i n the N i e t z s c h e a n "persona" he c o u l d l o n g f o r a m y s t i c a l transcendence of p e r s o n a l i t y . The opening l i n e s of one of h i s l a s t poems form a s t r i k i n g p a r a l l e l to t h i s e a r l y prose passage: R e t u r n i n g from the antipodes of time, What d i d you f i n d , a d v e n t u r e r s e e k i n g your home? What were you d o i n g t h e r e i n the dragon's kingdom? D i d you see y o u r s e l f when you were not l o o k i n g , Or take the d e s e r t l i o n by s u r p r i s e , E n t e r i n g h i s gaze f o l l o w i n g the an t e l o p e To the w a t e r i n g p l a c e . . . ? D i d you plunge i n the smothering waters to peruse I n s h e l l and glaucous eye your d a t e l e s s s c r i p t u r e , Or scan the d e s e r t w i t h the d e s e r t ' s eyes ... ? 1 ^ Muir's p s y c h o l o g i c a l problems d u r i n g the We Moderns p e r i o d arose from the f a c t t h a t he d i d not f e e l at home anywhere i n the world. He adopted the i d e a s of N i e t z s c h e because he needed the s e c u r i t y o f some scheme of v a l u e s , but h i s N i e t z s c h e a n i s m merely i n c r e a s e d h i s a l i e n a t i o n from the r e a l world. However, i n the passages i n We Moderns i n which he longs f o r a s t a t e of unio n and r e c o n c i l i a t i o n beyond p e r s o n a l i t y , the seeds of h i s p o e t r y are a l r e a d y p r e s e n t . Muir's i n t e r e s t i n the psycho l o g y of the unconscious began some years b e f o r e h i s own p s y c h o a n a l y s i s i n 1 9 2 0 - 1 9 2 1 , Under the e d i t o r s h i p o f A.R. Orage, The New Age had been p u b l i s h i n g many a r t i c l e s and reviews on the s u b j e c t of "Dialogue", i n Muir, C o l l e c t e d Poems ( 2 n d ed.; London: Faber, 1 9 6 3 ) , p. 2 7 3 . 28. psychology, a l l of them w r i t t e n from the Jungian s t a n d p o i n t . Muir caught the enthusiasm f o r p s y c h o l o g y as e a s i l y as he caught Orage's enthusiasms f o r G u i l d S o c i a l i s m and S o c i a l C r e d i t , and to more l a s t i n g e f f e c t . I n the "We Moderns" a r t i c l e f o r January, 1 8 , 1917 > he w r i t e s : " D o s t o i e f f s k y d e p i c t e d the subconscious as c o n s c i o u s ; t h a t was how he a c h i e v e d h i s complex and g r e a t e f f e c t s . F o r the subconscious i s the sphere of a l l t h a t i s most p r i m e v a l , mysterious and sublime i n man; the v e r y bed out of which s p r i n g s the f l o w e r of t r agedy." The "We Moderns" s e r i e s ended i n the New Age i n September 1917» and Muir p u b l i s h e d l i t t l e new w r i t i n g d u r i n g the r e s t of h i s time i n Glasgow, but i n the s e r i e s of a r t i c l e s e n t i t l e d "New V a l u e s " which began to appear i n the New Age a f t e r he moved to London i n September 1919> he began to e l a -b o r a t e a t h e o r y of a r t based on J u n g i a n psychology. D u r i n g 15 h i s time i n London, as Muir says i n the Autobiography, h i s a t t i t u d e to N i e t z s c h e g r a d u a l l y became more ob j e c t i v e . I n the prose w r i t t e n between 1920 and l a t e 1 9 2 2 , the i n f l u e n c e of N i e t z s c h e i s s t i l l s t r o n g , but Muir's use of N i e t z s c h e a n i d e a s i s more s e l f - p o s s e s s e d and s e l e c t i v e . He begins to develop s u s t a i n e d arguments of h i s own, drawing h e a v i l y on N i e t z s c h e and on J u n g i a n psychology. I n the essays on a r t , the t r a n s f o r m i n g power of a r t i s at once the N i e t z s c h e a n w i l l and the J u n g i a n p s y c h i c energy. 1 5 p. 167-29. Muir was a t t r a c t e d to p s y c h o l o g y as an i n t u i t i o n a l , n on-conceptual way of knowing which promised to deepen man's apprehension of r e a l i t y . I n the essays w r i t t e n i n the e a r l y 1 9 2 0 ' s , he f r e q u e n t l y a t t a c k s r e l i g i o n because i t has become a r i g i d s t r u c t u r e of concepts, and can no l o n g e r i l l u m i n a t e l i f e . P s y chology can do what r e l i g i o n has f a i l e d to do, and o f f e r new, l i v i n g i n s i g h t s i n t o r e a l i t y . The essay "A P l e a f o r P s y chology i n L i t e r a r y C r i t i c i s m " f i r s t appeared i n the Athenaeum on January 28, 1 9 2 1 . When Muir c o l l e c t e d h i s e a r l y essays f o r L a t i t u d e s i n 1 9 2 4 , he p l a c e d "A P l e a f o r P s y c h o l o g y " among the group of essays which he d i d not wish to r e p u d i a t e , a l t h o u g h a c c o r d i n g to the date of p u b l i c a t i o n i t i s the e a r l i e s t but one of a l l the essays i n L a t i t u d e s . So i t has more l a s t i n g v a l i d i t y than most of the essays w r i t t e n at t h i s time. I n i t Muir suggests that c r i t i c i s m i s a s p e c i a l k i n d of a r t . The a r t i s t and the i d e a l c r i t i c b o t h work by i n t u i t i o n , but the s u b j e c t - m a t t e r of the a r t i s t i s l i f e w h i l e the s u b j e c t - m a t t e r of the c r i t i c i s " t h a t e x p r e s s i o n of l i f e which i s a r t . " A r t i s not dead but a l i v i n g t h i n g , and i t must not be v i v i s e c t e d by the c o l d l o g i c of s y s t e m a t i c c r i t i c i s m . The c r i t i c whose method i s p s y c h o l o g i c a l ( i n Muir's sense) w i l l work by i n t u i t i o n and sympathy, not w i t h a framework of concepts. He w i l l use p s y c h o l o g y as a way of plumbing the mystery of a r t . "Ttor the p s y c h o l o g i c a l c r i t i c a book i s simply a s t a r t i n g - p o i n t f o r an i n q u i r y i n t o the human s p i r i t . " The t r u e c r i t i c has no concern w i t h the "message" of the a r t i s t , which i s " g e n e r a l l y n o t h i n g more than the 30. o r g a n i z e d e t h i c a l p r e j u d i c e s of an e r a , " but he must seek f o r "the mind and the s o u l , the a t t i t u d e to r e a l i t y , the r e l a t i o n to God." P s y c h o l o g i c a l c r i t i c i s m , i n f a c t , y i e l d s an i n t u i t i o n o f the unique essence of a p a r t i c u l a r a r t i s t or work of a r t . The b r i e f examples of the method which Muir o f f e r s i n the essay suggest that he i s u s i n g "psychology" r a t h e r f r e e l y as a synonym f o r " i n t u i t i o n " . He suggests, f o r i n s t a n c e , that an examination of the s t y l e and method of Ghosts would r e v e a l w i t h i n I b s en "an o p t i m i s t i c r e f o r m e r c o n f r o n t e d c o n t i n u a l l y by a t r a g i c poet," and t h a t a p s y c h o l o g i c a l a n a l y s i s of Hardy's c h a r a c t e r s would show that "they are without w i l l and t h a t f o r t h e i r author the dynamic p r i n c i p l e e x i s t s i n the outer w o r l d .. l 6 o n l y . " T h i s " p s y c h o l o g i c a l " method i s i n f a c t the method of Muir's mature c r i t i c i s m . A s i d e from The S t r u c t u r e of the Novel, h i s c r i t i c i s m from the mid-1920's on i s seldom t h e o r e t i c a l and aims to apprehend c l e a r l y the unique q u a l i t y of the p a r t i c u l a r work i t i s d e a l i n g w i t h . A l t h o u g h Muir's i d e n t i f i c a t i o n of p s y c h o l o g y and c r i t i c i s m i n t h i s essay i s q u e s t i o n a b l e , h i s sense t h a t the new p s y c h o l o g y o f f e r s i n s i g h t s which a r t can use i s of g r e a t r e l e v a n c e f o r h i s own p o e t r y . A l e t t e r - w r i t e r i n the f o l l o w i n g i s s u e of the Athenaeum p r o t e s t e d t h a t "a p s y c h o - a n a l y s i s of a mind, however consummately a c h i e v e d , does not set that mind i n i t s ' r e l a t i o n to God' ... The methods of psychology, which are of n e c e s s i t y l a r g e l y c o n c e p t u a l ; and the 1 ^ Muir, L a t i t u d e s (London: Melrose, 1 9 2 4 ) , pp. 9 6 - 1 0 0 . 3 1 . d i v i n a t i o n of beauty, which i s w h o l l y i n t u i t i o n a l , l i e i n 17 d i f f e r e n t spheres of apprehension." However, Muir i n r e p l y r e a f f i r m e d h i s b e l i e f i n the i n t u i t i o n a l n a ture of psychology: "The methods of the l a t e s t p s y c h o l o g y are becoming more and more i n t u i t i o n a l ; Freud s t i l l works m a i n l y w i t h concepts, i t i s t r u e , but Jung has d i s c a r d e d most of them; and psycho-a n a l y s i s as p r a c t i s e d by him and by some of h i s f o l l o w e r s i s a matter almost p u r e l y of i n t u i t i o n . ... Croce l e f t us w i t h one c e r t a i n t r u t h , t h a t a r t i s i n t u i t i o n . When I speak of r e a l i t y , then o b v i o u s l y I mean the r e a l i t y r e v e a l e d by i n t u i -18 t i o n to the c r i t i c . " I n the "New V a l u e s " a r t i c l e s , Muir e x c i t e d l y s p e c u l a t e s about the new depths of e x p e r i e n c e to which the p s y c h o l o g y of the unconscious may g i v e a c c e s s . These a r t i c l e s precede h i s own p s y c h o a n a l y s i s by s e v e r a l months at l e a s t , and they show th a t he a l r e a d y saw the unconscious as the realm of the i m a g i n a t i o n . The essay f o r November 20, 1 9 1 9 , i s based l i k e most of the e a r l y essays on a d u a l i s t i c b a l a n c e of concepts: i t i d e n t i f i e s the unconscious mind w i t h i n t u i t i o n and a r t , and i g the c o n s c i o u s mind w i t h r a t i o n a l i t y and argumentative prose. 1 7 L e t t e r by H.P. C o l l i n s , Athenaeum, No. 4736 (Feb. 4, 1 9 2 1 ) , 1 3 7 . 18 L e t t e r by "Edward Moore", Athenaeum, No. 4737 Feb. 1 1 , 1 9 2 1 ) , 1 6 4. 19 Few p s y c h o l o g i s t s would now accept the c l e a r - c u t d i s t i n c t i o n between the " c o n s c i o u s " and the "unconscious" mind, However, Muir h a b i t u a l l y thought i n terms of t h i s d ualism, and i n ! summarising h i s i d e a s i t w i l l be convenient to accept i t u n c r i t i c a l l y . 32. The d i a l e c t i c i a n expresses t h e o r i e s , that i s id e a s which are c u r r e n t at any time, and g e n e r a l l y ... the ide a s of a p a r t y or a s c h o o l . The i n t u i t i v e t h i n k e r has a tremendous and fundamental i n d i v i d u a l i t y o f u t t e r a n c e : he w r i t e s "out of h i m s e l f " . The f i r s t aims at c o n v i n c i n g ; the second, without seeming to have an aim at a l l , s t i m u l a t e s . E v e r y t h i n g i n l i t e r a t u r e which i n c i t e s to c r e a t e , which expresses more than i t says, comes out of the unconscious, and goes to i t . 2 0 The a t t i t u d e of the c o n s c i o u s t h i n k e r i s detached; he a p p l i e s o n l y h i s mind to t r u t h , whereas the unconscious t h i n k e r g i v e s h i s whole b e i n g . He i s "concerned w i t h r e a l i t y i n every organ, every muscle, every nerve." The language of d i a l e c t i c i s n e c e s s a r i l y g e n e r a l ; i t i s "an attempt to p r o c r e a t e t r u t h by s o c i a l i n t e r c o u r s e , " and i t must make i t s e l f understood by the common man. I n t u i t i o n , however, " i s i n d i v i d u a l p u r e l y , by which i s meant not th a t the i n t u i t i v e t h i n k e r i s cut o f f from men and from l i f e , but t h a t h i s r e l a t i o n to them i s p e r s o n a l and immediate." U n d e r l y i n g t h i s d u a l i t y i s N i e t z s c h e ' s d u a l i t y of A p o l l o n i a n and D i o n y s i a n . Muir may have been prompted to w r i t e i n t h i s way p a r t l y by h i s wish to r e p u d i a t e the S c o t t i s h r a t i o n a l i s t t r a d i t i o n ; the symbol f o r the A p o l l o n i a n r a t i o n a l i s t i n The B i r t h of Tragedy i s S o c r a t e s , and s i g n i f i c a n t l y Muir says, i n p r a i s i n g the wit and i n t u i t i o n o f F r e n c h t h i n k e r s , "One simply cannot imagine a French 21 S o c r a t e s ; and ... one can almost imagine a S c o t c h one." 20 Moore, "New V a l u e s " , New Age, XXVI (Nov. 20, 1 9 1 9 ) , 39. 21 „ . , I b i d . 33. The o t h e r main source f o r the i d e a s i n t h i s essay may be Croce's Theory of A e s t h e t i c . I n t u i t i o n , a c c o r d i n g to Croce, i s the e x p r e s s i o n of the mind's d i r e c t c o n t a c t w i t h r e a l i t y , unmediated by c o n c e p t s . " I n t u i t i o n i s the i n d i f f e r -e n t i a t e d u n i t y of the p e r c e p t i o n of the r e a l and of the simple image of the p o s s i b l e . I n our i n t u i t i o n s we do not oppose o u r s e l v e s to e x t e r n a l r e a l i t y as e m p i r i c a l b e i n g s , but 22 we simply o b j e c t i f y our i m p r e s s i o n s , whatever they be." Muir suggests that the unconscious mind may t h i n k without the m e d i a t i o n of language, "with r e a l i t i e s themselves, immediately apprehended, without word, or r e p r e s e n t a t i o n , or f o r m u l a t i o n . " Unconscious thought may be expressed o n l y i n a r t , "that form of speech i n which words mean more than they say." He con-c l u d e s : "The form of u t t e r a n c e which i s n e a r e s t to r e a l i t y , which i s most s e r i o u s and most t r u e , i s a r t - w i t h which one 23 i n c l u d e s i n t u i t i o n . " T h i s i n t e r e s t i n a r t as a language which, i d e a l l y , grasps r e a l i t y d i r e c t l y , and b r i d g e s the gap between word and t h i n g , foreshadows the themes of Muir's p o e t r y . S e v e r a l of h i s poems c e n t r e on the d i s p a r i t y between the f l u x of r e a l i t y and the s t a t i c l i n g u i s t i c concepts w i t h which we seek to t i e i t down. Muir's f a i t h i n the openness of the unconscious mind, and the t r u t h of i t s i n t u i t i o n s , i s important f o r h i s p o e t r y , where dreams o f t e n l e a d to profound 22 Benedetto Croce, Theory of A e s t h e t i c , t r a n s . D, A i n s l i e (London: M a c m i l l a n , 1 9 0 9 ) > P~- 6~i 2 3 "New V a l u e s " , p. kO, 34. i n s i g h t s . However t h i s essay, l i k e a l l the essays up to l a t e 1 9 2 2 , r e f l e c t s an i n t e l l e c t u a l enjoyment of these i d e a s r a t h e r than a whole-hearted i m a g i n a t i v e engagement i n them. In Muir's thought at t h i s time, a r t and psycho l o g y are c l o s e l y a s s o c i a t e d w i t h r e l i g i o n . The essay "The F a l l of Reason", p u b l i s h e d i n September 1 9 2 0 , suggests t h a t there are f o u r steps i n human thought: f i r s t , the simple p e r c e p t i o n of f a c t s ; second, the e s t a b l i s h m e n t of reason; t h i r d , the d i s -c o v ery of i d e a s ; and f o u r t h , the f u s i o n o f v i s i b l e and i n v i s -i b l e through i n t u i t i o n . I n t h i s f o u r t h and h i g h e s t stage, "the i n v i s i b l e and the v i s i b l e are p e r c e i v e d i n one glance and as one ... the i n v i s i b l e g i v e s the worl d r e a l i t y and the world f u l f i l s the i n v i s i b l e ... T h i s s t a t e o f d u a l y e t s i n g l e p e r c e p t i o n , t h i s m e t a p h y s i c a l 'second s i g h t ' , i s i n t u i t i o n , 24 and i t s e x p r e s s i o n s are v a r i o u s - p o e t r y , a r t , r e l i g i o n . " P o e t r y , then, i s b a r e l y s e p a r a b l e from r e l i g i o n i n i t s nature and i n i t s s i g n i f i c a n c e f o r man: b o t h are c l o s e l y r e l a t e d to i n t u i t i o n and to the unco n s c i o u s . L a t e r , i n h i s 1923 essays on romanticism, Muir p e r c e i v e s a " s t a t e of du a l y e t s i n g l e p e r c e p t i o n " at the h e a r t of romantic p o e t r y , and he d i s c o v e r s i n H o l d e r l i n the i n t e r p e n e t r a t i o n o f the human and the d i v i n e which he sees here as the essence of r e l i g i o n . A l r e a d y i n We Moderns Muir d i s c u s s e s the e s s e n t i a l inwardness of r e l i g i o n , one of h i s l i f e - l o n g concerns: Moore, "The F a l l of Reason", New Age, XXVII (Sept. 2 3 , 1 9 2 0 ) , 3 0 5 . 35. The c r e a t o r s of r e l i g i o n ... are not d i s t i n g u i s h e d by much re v e r e n c e f o r dogma, but by the " r e l i g i o u s f e e l i n g " ; ... Eve r y dogma i s a c r u t c h , and they do not f e e l the need of one. But the people who are not s u s t a i n e d by t h i s inward s p r i n g of emotion, who cannot know what r e l i g i o n r e a l l y i s , these need a c r u t c h . ... To the s a i n t r e l i g i o n i s a t h i n g inward and c r e a t i v e ; to the dogmatist i t i s a t h i n g outward, accomplished and f i x e d , to which he may c l i n g . 2 5 The importance of t h i s d u a l i s m of l e t t e r and s p i r i t f o r Muir c l e a r l y r e f l e c t s the s t r e n g t h of h i s r e v u l s i o n from C a l v i n i s m . T h i s c o n c e p t i o n o f r e l i g i o n i s o f t e n r e i t e r a t e d i n h i s e a r l y j o u r n a l i s m , p a r t i c u l a r l y i n the "Our G e n e r a t i o n " s e r i e s i n 1921 - 1 9 2 2 , where the t a r g e t f o r h i s a t t a c k s i s the o r g a n i z e d Church i n England. The same a n t i t h e s i s i s the b a s i s f o r such l a t e poems as "The I n c a r n a t e One" and "The Church". The depth of the mystery, f o r Muir, i s i l l i m i t a b l e , and i t cannot be plumbed by any a b s t r a c t d o c t r i n e : I f thought should t h i e v e One word of the mystery A l l would be w r o n g . ^ The s t r e n g t h and p e r s i s t e n c e of t h i s f e e l i n g throughout Muir's c a r e e r s h o u l d be enough to r e f u t e the c r i t i c a l view which c l a i m s him f o r orthodox C h r i s t i a n i t y . I n the f o u r t h "New V a l u e s " essay, p u b l i s h e d i n February 1 9 2 0 , Muir develops a Jungi a n i d e a of r e l i g i o n which a s s o c i a t e s i t c l o s e l y w i t h p s y c h o l o g y and w i t h a r t . L i k e p s y c h o l o g y and r e c o n c i l e s the con s c i o u s w i t h the r. p. 60. C o l l e c t e d Poems, p. 286. a r t , r e l i g i o n i d e a l l y 2 5 We Moderns, "The Poet", 36. unconscious mind. "The t a s k o f r e l i g i o n has not been t h a t merely o f i l l u m i n i n g the mind; i t has been t h a t , as w e l l , of ha r m o n i s i n g the s p i r i t . ... R e l i g i o n h e a l s because i t t h i n k s not of t r u t h alone, but as w e l l o f man's power to apprehend i t and of h i s r e l a t i o n to i t . " Here Muir r e t u r n s to the c e n t r a l i d e a o f the e a r l i e r "New V a l u e s " essays, the mind's r e l a t i o n to r e a l i t y . He sees r e l i g i o n not as an o b j e c t i v e body of knowledge, but as an a c t i v e f o r c e working on the mind. T h i s view of r e l i g i o n i s pragmatic: i t s v e r y " t r u t h " , Muir i m p l i e s , i s determined by the depth and d u r a b i l i t y o f the harmony i t b r i n g s to the human mind; here r e l i g i o n i s c l e a r l y analogous to a r t . "Erase r e l i g i o n from the l i f e of men and you bereave them of the knowledge which harmonises to gi v e i n exchange t h a t which merely e x p l a i n s , merely a n a l y s e s . " I n t e l l e c t u a l b e l i e f s f a i l to b r i n g harmony to the mind because they s a t i s f y o n l y i t s c o n s c i o u s l e v e l . The unconscious, l e f t w ithout nourishment, cannot co-operate w i t h the c o n s c i o u s mind and e v e n t u a l l y r e b e l s a g a i n s t i t . Now th a t r e l i g i o n i s grad-u a l l y d i s a p p e a r i n g , Muir c l a i m s , i t s t a s k of h e a l i n g i s l e f t t o a r t . "The t a s k o f l i t e r a t u r e f o r the next hundred y e a r s , whether we l i k e i t or not, w i l l be to m i n i s t e r to minds d i s e a s e d . " Modern r e l i g i o n i s powerless to f u l f i l t h i s t a s k because i t s language i s merely i n t e l l e c t u a l . The tr u e language of r e l i g i o n , l i k e t h a t of p o e t r y , i s myth and symbol. " I t i s a p r i m i t i v e language ... We have f o r g o t t e n i t : t h a t i s our tragedy; i t i s the g l o r y of the new ps y c h o l o g y t h a t i t has 37. r e d i s c o v e r e d i t . And w i t h i t , p s y c h o l o g y has r e d i s c o v e r e d r e l i g i o n ; f o r r e l i g i o n i s j u s t an a r t of the s o u l which we 27 have f o r g o t t e n . " The growing s t r e n g t h o f Muir's i n t e r e s t i n the inward l i f e of the mind i s shown i n the second p a r t of t h i s essay where i t l e a d s him to r e j e c t N i e t z s c h e ' s d i s m i s s a l of the p h i l o s o p h i c a l concept of B e i n g . T h i s i s h i s f i r s t c r i t i c a l r e f e r e n c e to N i e t z s c h e , and i t i s i n t e r e s t i n g t h a t he suggests here t h a t N i e t z s c h e ' s " c h i e f g r e a t n e s s " i s the " a s t o n i s h i n g p s y c h o l o g i c a l i n s i g h t " which f a i l e d him i n t h i s i n s t a n c e . Muir c l a i m s t h a t B e i n g i s a f l u i d symbol r a t h e r than a con-cept, r e l i g i o u s and a r t i s t i c r a t h e r than p h i l o s o p h i c a l i n n a t u r e . I t symbolizes not simply the d e s i r e f o r r e s t , but the d e s i r e f o r freedom from the a t t r i t i o n of outward f o r c e s , so that inward e n e r g i e s may express themselves f u l l y . "The heavens of r e s t , the symbol of Being, are si m p l y the language i n which the unconscious expresses i t s y e a r n i n g f o r f r e e a c t i v i t y . And by f r e e a c t i v i t y i t means ... a c t i v i t y i n which a l l the f a c u l t i e s move i n concord, without t h w a r t i n g one another." Muir's r e a d i n g i n J u n g i a n psychology, then, l e d him to i n t e r p r e t the g o a l of man's most i n t e n s e l o n g i n g as the s t a t e of mental freedom and autonomy which, reached i n t e r m i t -t e n t l y , may l e a d to the p r o d u c t i o n o f a r t . He ends t h i s essay by s u g g e s t i n g t h a t the new psychology, which i s deepening "New Va l u e s " , New Age, XXVI (Feb. 5, 1 9 2 0 ) , 2 2 3 - 2 2 4 . 38. man's u n d e r s t a n d i n g of h i m s e l f , may l e a d to the l a s t i n g a ttainment of t h i s i d e a l , t h a t i s to heaven on e a r t h . " I t i s towards t h i s , indeed, t h a t the p r o p h e t i c remnant of mankind 28 i s now moving." So Muir was drawn to the i d e a s of psychology, as he had been drawn to the i d e a s of N i e t z s c h e , p a r t l y f o r t h e i r m i l l e n n i a l dreams. I n h i s r e l i g i o n of the f u t u r e , Jung has now r e p l a c e d N i e t z s c h e as the s a v i o u r . From t h i s time on, Muir's comments on psychology and a r t are based more and more on c o n c e p t i o n s of dynamism and energy. T h i s may w e l l r e f l e c t the i n f l u e n c e of h i s psycho-a n a l y s t , Maurice N i c o l l . N i c o l l ' s book, Dream Psychology, propounds an e n e r g i c view of p s y c h i c p r o c e s s e s , based on the c o n c e p t i o n of a s t o r e of l i b i d o i n the unconscious which i s 29 m a n i f e s t e d more or l e s s f u l l y i n c o n s c i o u s n e s s . I n the b a l a n c e d psyche, a c c o r d i n g to N i c o l l , the energy ebbs and flows f r e e l y between c o n s c i o u s and unconscious, and p r e s e r v e s a dynamic harmony. So w h i l e Muir was c o n s c i o u s l y d e t a c h i n g h i m s e l f from the i n f l u e n c e of N i e t z s c h e , he was f i n d i n g i n the i d e a s of J u n g i a n p s y c h o l o g y an e q u i v a l e n t f o r the i d e a s of the p o t e n t i a l and the w i l l . In two a r t i c l e s p u b l i s h e d i n l a t e 1 9 2 0 , Muir develops sweeping dynamic i d e a s which encompass the whole h i s t o r y of a r t 28 I b i d . , p. 224. 29 / Maurxce N i c o l l , Dream Psy c h o l o g y (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1 9 1 7 ) . 39. and c u l t u r e i n p s y c h o l o g i c a l and t e l e o l o g i c a l terms. In "The Return to Nature", p u b l i s h e d i n the New Age on September 1 6 , he sees the development of p s y c h o l o g y as the c u l m i n a t i o n of a r e t u r n to n a t u r e which began i n the Romantic age. The romantic d i s c o v e r y of n a t u r e was f o l l o w e d by the r e a l i s t i c d i s c o v e r y of n a t u r e by n i n e t e e n t h - c e n t u r y s c i e n c e , and the process has now been completed by the p s y c h o l o g i c a l d i s c o v e r y of n a t u r e . The romantic r e t u r n to n a t u r e was a l s o a r e t u r n i n t o the unconscious, and i n p s y c h o a n a l y s i s the c y c l i c movement from the c u l t i v a t e d to the n a t u r a l turns back on i t s e l f , and the unconscious i s brought i n t o c o n s c i o u s n e s s . Muir c l a i m s that humanity must e i t h e r l o s e i t s e l f i n t h i s r e d i s c o v e r y of the p r i m i t i v e , or wrest s a l v a t i o n from i t : "When the uncon-s c i o u s becomes s t r o n g i n man, o n l y two t h i n g s can be done. E i t h e r he must transform the p r i m i t i v e or he must become i t ; e i t h e r , to use the p s y c h o l o g i c a l term, he must sublimate or r e g r e s s . " T h i s r e c a p t u r i n g of p r i m i t i v e energy, and c h a n n e l l -i n g of i t i n t o c o n s c i o u s forms, i s a c h i e v e d f i r s t by a r t : 3 " A r t i s the most immediate t r a n s f o r m a t i o n of the u n c o n s c i o u s . " So a r t becomes a l i b e r a t i n g energy. S i m i l a r l y i n the "Recrea-t i o n s i n C r i t i c i s m " a r t i c l e f o r October l 4 , 1 9 2 0 , Muir o u t l i n e s the h i s t o r y of w o r l d l i t e r a t u r e i n dynamic terms. The s p i r i t of l i t e r a t u r e , he c l a i m s , i s an autonomous power which seeks to i n c a r n a t e i t s e l f i n the most prof o u n d forms of e x p e r i e n c e the Moore, "The Return to Nature", New Age, XXVII (Sept. 1 6 , 1 9 2 0 ) , 294. 4 o . h i s t o r i c a l age can o f f e r . As l i t e r a t u r e p r o g r e s s e s , i t draws i t s m a t e r i a l l e s s from the c o n s c i o u s and the g e n e r a l and more from the unconscious and the i n d i v i d u a l . Thus the l i m i t e d , i mpersonal l i t e r a t u r e of the c i t y - s t a t e (Muir seems to be i g n o r i n g The B i r t h of Tragedy here) i s f o l l o w e d by the c h a o t i c , p e r s o n a l l i t e r a t u r e of the n a t i o n . Muir suggests t h a t a s p i r i t g r e a t e r than n a t i o n a l i t y has a l r e a d y been born, and w i l l f i n d i t s i n c a r n a t i o n i n a l i t e r a t u r e n e i t h e r c l a s s i c a l nor r o m a n t i c : the l i t e r a t u r e of the u n i v e r s a l i n d i v i d u a l , a l r e a d y p r e f i g u r e d by D o s t o i e v s k y . "As the l i t e r a t u r e of n a t i o n a l i t y expresses that r e l a t i o n s h i p , l e s s c o n s c i o u s but more profound, than c i t i z e n s h i p , which we c a l l n a t i o n a l i t y , so Russian l i t e r a -t u r e s t r u g g l e s to express t h a t r e l a t i o n s t i l l l e s s c o n s c i o u s 31 and s t i l l more profound, which we c a l l humanity." The l a s t "New V a l u e s " essay, p u b l i s h e d i n October 1 9 2 1 , i d e n t i f i e s the t r a n s f o r m i n g power of a r t w i t h the s p i r i t u a l e v o l u t i o n of humanity; here Muir s t r e s s e s the p r o c e s s of t r a n s m u t a t i o n , not the s u b j e c t - m a t t e r of a r t . A r t transmutes the random m a t e r i a l of l i f e i n t o shapes symbolic of t r u t h . A r t i s not l i f e w i t h a moral added: i t i s l i f e remade and informed w i t h meaning. The essay suggests that m o r a l i t y s h o u l d be abandoned f o r a r t : "The p r o g r e s s of man i s to be sought -i f we are to b e l i e v e the t r u t h s of p s y c h o l o g y - not i n i n c r e a s e d s u b m i s s i o n to m o r a l i t y , but i n the more complete 31 Moore, " R e c r e a t i o n s i n C r i t i c i s m " , New Age, XXVII (Oct. 14, 1 9 2 0 ) , 3kk. 4 1 . p r a c t i c e of a r t . ... A r t l i e s at the v e r y r o o t of l i f e ; when we o f f e n d m o r a l i t y we s u f f e r as c o n s c i o u s u n i t s , but when we o f f e n d a r t we s u f f e r i n the v e r y core of our b e i n g . " The v a l u e s of a r t are fundamental because they grow out of l i f e , and share i n the u n i v e r s a l dynamism which impels the uncon-s c i o u s towards c o n s c i o u s n e s s . Those of m o r a l i t y , on the o t h e r hand, are s t a t i c and r e p r e s s i v e . M o r a l i t y "cannot t r a n s f o r m e v i l , and by t r a n s f o r m i n g redeem i t ... I t s v i r t u e s are warders; the v i r t u e s of a r t are the p r i s o n e r s r e l e a s e d and t r a n s f i g u r e d . " P r o g r e s s i s not d i s c i p l i n e , but transmuta-t i o n : " A l l o t h e r p r o g r e s s i s mere s p i r i t u a l l e g a l i s m ; not the r a i s i n g of o r d e r out of chaos, but the e s t a b l i s h m e n t of order i n chaos. The o r der e s t a b l i s h e d i s , moreover, a r b i t r a r y , pro-v i s i o n a l , i m p e r f e c t , j u s t as the t r a n s m u t a t i o n o f a r t i s 32 n e c e s s a r y , p e r f e c t and, i n a sense, e t e r n a l . " A f t e r 1 9 2 2 , when Muir began to r e l i v e h i s own past, i m a g i n a t i v e l y , the s t r o n g t e l e o l o g i c a l emphasis of the "New V a l u e s " essays ceased to be v a l i d f o r him. However, the b a s i c i d e a t h at a r t c r e a t e s a n a t u r a l , o r g a n i c Order proved c e n t r a l to a l l h i s work. Through h i s p o e t r y he attempted to r e c o v e r the sense of an encompassing o r d e r which he had known i n Orkney and l o s t i n i n d u s t r i a l Glasgow. The c o n c e p t i o n of a r t o u t l i n e d i n the "New V a l u e s " essays i s i m p l i c i t i n Muir's l i t e r a r y reviews w r i t t e n between 1 9 2 0 and 1 9 2 2 . In "Les 3 2 Moore, "New V a l u e s " , New Age. XXIX (Oct. 27, 1 9 2 l ) , 306 . F u t u r i s t e s sont passes", a review of M a r i n e t t i , he a t t a c k s F u t u r i s m because i t s e s s e n t i a l a t t i t u d e to r e a l i t y i s p a s s i v e , d e s p i t e i t s tremendous s u r f a c e energy. F u t u r i s m merely r e g i s t e r s s e n s a t i o n s ; i t makes ;no' attempt to d i s c o v e r o r d e r expresses s u f f e r i n g without t r a n s c e n d i n g i t . I n a review of r e c e n t p o e t r y on June 30, 1 9 2 1 , he d i s c u s s e s a poem i n which he f i n d s s i n c e r i t y and i n t e n s i t y of f e e l i n g , but which i s a e s t h e t i c a l l y a f a i l u r e : "We are moved by {the l i n e s quoted] because a c r y of d i s t r e s s must always move us. But the emotion i s not one t h a t we d e s i r e to e x p e r i e n c e ; we are d i s t r e s s e d and not gladdened, as we are by a l l a e s t h e t i c e x p r e s s i o n . " The l y r i c a l o u t p o u r i n g of f e e l i n g f a i l s to a t t a i n the freedom of Muir's a e s t h e t i c realm: Imagist p o e t r y , d e s p i t e i t s detach-ment, f a i l s too, because i t does not a r i s e from a p r o c e s s of t r a n s m u t a t i o n . R i c h a r d A l d i n g t o n ' s Images, he d e c i d e s , are merely v e r s e s : "This i s not p o e t r y ; f o r a mood or emotion i s n o t h i n g but the r o o t out of which a poem blossoms, and a mere d e s c r i p t i o n of i t , however i m a g i n a t i v e , i s not e x p r e s s i o n , but i n t r o s p e c t i o n . ... I t i s not the poets of to-day who s i n g , 35 i t i s t h e i r complexes." I n a review of H.W. M a y e r s t e i n ' s Symphonies, Muir g i v e s h i s own d e f i n i t i o n of p o e t r y : and s i g n i f i c anc e. 33 I n the same way Muir r e j e c t s p o e t r y which 33 New Age, XXVII (Aug. 1 9 , 19 2 0 ) , 2 4 8 - 4 9 . 34 Moore,"Recent Verse", New Age, XXIX (June 30, 1 9 2 l ) , 105-35 Moore, "Recent Verse", New Age, XXX (Jan. 1 2 , 1 9 2 2 ) , 1 3 6 . 43. What (the poet] does i s to take the s u f f e r i n g which we know i n e x p e r i e n c e and to s u b l i m a t e i t . I n d o i n g so he i s at once a t r a n s f o r m e r and a c r e a t o r . H i s s u b j e c t -matter i s those emotions from which we s u f f e r because they are too i n t e n s e ( i t may be from an excess of j o y as w e l l as from an excess of g r i e f ) , and these he r e -i n c a r n a t e s i n a form i n which s u f f e r i n g i s transcended. T h i s i s c r e a t i o n . The t a s k of the poet and of the a r t i s t i n g e n e r a l i s to make man s u p e r i o r to h i s s u f f e r i n g s , to h i s mere e x p e r i e n c e s ; and t h i s task i s one of the g r e a t e s t ever attempted by man.36 T h i s c a t h a r t i c view o f a r t c l e a r l y r e f l e c t s Muir's own need to f e e l h i m s e l f emancipated from the s u f f e r i n g s of h i s p a s t . The p r o c e s s of i n s i g h t , t r a n s m u t a t i o n and s u b l i m a t i o n i s h i s i d e a l f o r s o c i e t y as w e l l as f o r a r t . I n the weekly "Our G e n e r a t i o n " s e r i e s he urges t h a t l a s t i n g s o c i a l s o l u t i o n s can come o n l y from deep involvement and u n d e r s t a n d i n g : "Knowing i s not enough, what our reason knows we must r e a l i s e and f e e l w i t h our whole b e i n g . ... T h i s wisdom which we are s e e k i n g f o r i s , so f a r as our own time i s concerned, the simple acceptance of our p r e s e n t g e n e r a t i o n , and the sublima-37 t i o n of i t w i t h a l l i t s h i d e o u s n e s s , meanness and i t s e v i l . " Muir, then, i s f i n d i n g i n J u n g i a n p s y c h o l o g y the same promise of a u n i v e r s a l transcendence of s u f f e r i n g which he had once found i n the w r i t i n g s of N i e t z s c h e , and the t r a n s i t i o n from N i e t z s c h e to Jung b r i n g s him a s t e p n e a r e r to the a t t i t u d e s of h i s p o e t r y . I n We Moderns, w r i t t e n i n Glasgow when he had e x p e r i e n c e d a complete l o s s of the sense of p e r s o n a l freedom, Moore, "Recent Verse", New Age, XXIX (June 1 6 , 1 9 2 1 ) , 80. 3 7 Moore, "Our G e n e r a t i o n " , New Age, XXIX (Sept. 22, 1 9 2 1 ) , 2k5-k6. Muir escapes from n e c e s s i t y by denying i t , and a n n i h i l a t e s s u f f e r i n g by s c o r n i n g sympathy. But the i d e a s of psycho l o g y suggested to him th a t freedom might be reached through the complete s u b m i s s i o n to n e c e s s i t y , and a deepened u n d e r s t a n d i n g of one's own human n a t u r e . W r i t i n g much l a t e r o f h i s own p s y c h o a n a l y s i s , Muir r e l a t e s : "I saw th a t my l o t was the human l o t , t h a t when I f a c e d my own u n v a r n i s h e d l i k e n e s s I was one among a l l men and women, a l l of whom had the same d e s i r e s and thoughts, the same f a i l u r e s and f r u s t r a t i o n s , the same unacknow-led g e d h a t r e d o f themselves and o t h e r s , the same hidden shames and g r i e f s , and t h a t i f they c o n f r o n t e d these t h i n g s they c o u l d o Q win a c e r t a i n l i b e r a t i o n from them." T h i s suggests t h a t the passage below, w r i t t e n i n 1 9 2 2 , may have had more than a merely i n t e l l e c t u a l meaning f o r him: Men l i v e g r e a t l y when they acknowledge the r e a l i t y we c a l l humanity, and when they not merely acknowledge i t , but i n a deep sense e x p e r i e n c e i t i n an emotion o f u n i v e r s a l l o v e ; they l i v e m i s e r a b l y when they are un-co n s c i o u s o f t h i s r e a l i t y ; when humanity i n s t e a d of b e i n g a t h i n g which they f r e e l y a ccept, and i n a c c e p t i n g t r a n s f i g u r e , i s merely a p i e c e of t o r t u r i n g n e c e s s i t y from which they cannot escape. ... Humanity o n l y becomes l i g h t when we take i t on our s h o u l d e r s . When we a v o i d i t , when we d r i v e i t i n t o the unconscious, i t crushes us; but when, we accept i t , i t becomes a source of new l i f e to us; the burden i t s e l f c r e a t e s new s t r e n g t h to bear i t . These t r u t h s , which are the common and sub-lim e human t r u t h s , are ... confirmed by psychology ... u t t e r e d i n r e l i g i o n and i n a r t . 3 9 1 9 2 2 ) , 54 o Q Autobiography, p. 1 5 8 . 39 / Moore, "Our G e n e r a t i o n " , New Age, XXXI (June 1, 4 5 . These are the g e n e r a l i d e a s which l i e b e h i n d Muir's most ambitious attempt to f a c e and t r a n s c e n d human s u f f e r i n g , the Chorus of the Newly Dead. As a whole the Chorus f a i l s , but the d i s c o v e r i e s of freedom which the poems i n Journeys and  P l a c e s b e g i n to make are the d i r e c t r e s u l t of the depth of Muir's i m a g i n a t i v e e x p e r i e n c e of n e c e s s i t y . L a t i t u d e s , Muir's f i r s t c o l l e c t i o n o f essays, was p u b l i s h e d i n October 1 9 2 4 . A l l but two of the essays ("A Note on Mr. Conrad", p u b l i s h e d i n the New Statesman i n 1919> and "A P l e a f o r Psychology", p u b l i s h e d i n the Athenaeum i n January 1 9 2 1 ) appeared i n the American j o u r n a l The Freeman between March 1921 and May 1 9 2 3 . The f i r s t seven essays i n the book are c r i t i c a l d i s c u s s i o n s o f p a r t i c u l a r s u b j e c t s -Burns, the S c o t t i s h b a l l a d s , George Douglas Brown, Conrad, D o s t o i e v s k y , Ibsen, N i e t z s c h e . These are f o l l o w e d by "A P l e a f o r P sychology", and "North and South", a g e n e r a l comparison of the l i t e r a t u r e s of N o r t h e r n and Southern Europe and o f R u s s i a . The essays i n the second h a l f o f the book, w i t h the e x c e p t i o n o f "Impressions of Prague", are s p e c u l a t i v e treatments of g e n e r a l p h i l o s o p h i c a l and a e s t h e t i c s u b j e c t s , s t r o n g l y i n f l u e n c e d by N i e t z s c h e . I n the P r e f a c e w r i t t e n i n 1 9 2 4 , Muir q u a l i f i e s them i n t h i s way: The essays i n the second h a l f o f the book, be-g i n n i n g w i t h those on the na t u r e of a r t , were w r i t t e n f i r s t , some of them f i v e y e ars ago. They were a s o r t of argument w i t h myself, i n c o n c l u s i v e but n e c e s s a r y , which I had to undertake b e f o r e I commenced the a c t u a l 46. task of c r i t i c i s m . I d e a l l y they s h o u l d have been subsumed i n the c r i t i c i s m i t s e l f , but t h i s I found to be i m p o s s i b l e , and I was r e l u c t a n t l y d r i v e n to l e t them appear s e p a r a t e l y . ^ 0 T h i s suggests t h a t some of the essays at l e a s t may have been w r i t t e n c o n s i d e r a b l y e a r l i e r than the date of t h e i r f i r s t p u b l i c a t i o n i n the Freeman. On the whole the s t y l e of these s e m i - p h i l o s o p h i c a l essays i s l e s s sober, more b o l d l y s p e c u l a -t i v e and r e m i n i s c e n t of We Moderns, than the work which Muir was p u b l i s h i n g i n the New Age at the same time. I n p a r t i c u l a r the two-part.essay on "The T r u t h about A r t " has the epigramma-t i c q u a l i t y and the s t r a i n i n g a f t e r e f f e c t t y p i c a l of We Moderns. A r e f e r e n c e i n i t to Sau r a t ' s La Pensee de M i l t o n , which Muir reviewed i n June 1 9 2 0 , suggests t h a t the essay may have been w r i t t e n about t h a t time. P o s s i b l y Muir was i n v i t e d to c o n t r i b u t e to the Freeman m a i n l y as the author of We Moderns: H.L. Mencken, who recommended Muir to the e d i t o r , had pub-l i s h e d the book i n America, and i t had been f a v o u r a b l y reviewed i n the Freeman. So i t may be t h a t when Muir was un e x p e c t e d l y asked to c o n t r i b u t e one or two a r t i c l e s a month to the Freeman, some of the a r t i c l e s he sent were m a t e r i a l he had a l r e a d y w r i t t e n , i n the same s p e c u l a t i v e v e i n as We Moderns. When Muir c a l l s these essays "an argument w i t h m y s e l f " , he i s p r o b a b l y r e f e r r i n g to the c o n f l i c t between h i s s e l f -a s s e r t i v e N i e t z s c h e a n mask and the o t h e r s e l f , u t t e r l y u n l i k e the N i e t z s c h e a n man, which i s r e v e a l e d i n the Autobiography as 40 Author's P r e f a c e to the E n g l i s h E d i t i o n . 47. h i s t r ue s e l f . The a n t i t h e s i s between the p e r s o n a l i t y as an a r t i f i c i a l l y c o n s t r u c t e d t h i n g , c l o s e d to r e a l i t y , and the s e l f which i s r e c e p t i v e and c r e a t i v e , i s developed s e v e r a l times i n 4 l the Autobiography, and becomes a r e c u r r e n t theme i n Muir's p o e t r y . I t s importance f o r Muir p r o b a b l y stems from h i s i n -f a t u a t i o n w i t h N i e t z s c h e and the c o r r e s p o n d i n g strength o f h i s r e a c t i o n a g a i n s t N i e t z s c h e a n s e l f - a s s e r t i v e n e s s . I f t h i s was an argument which had to be r e s o l v e d b e f o r e he undertook the tas k o f c r i t i c i s m , i t was even more v i t a l that i t should be s e t t l e d b e f o r e he began to w r i t e p o e t r y . These essays s t a t e o n l y one s i d e o f the argument; they p r e a c h man's mastery over the world. "The Reign o f Super-s t i t i o n " , f o r example, a t t a c k s a l l m a n i f e s t a t i o n s of p i e t y and awe, i n r e l i g i o n , l i t e r a t u r e and d a i l y l i f e . "Mystery, awe, re v e r e n c e , s u p e r s t i t i o n - these are 'moods' which a f f i r m and p e r p e t u a t e the s o v e r e i g n t y of things, over man; these are man's g r e a t e s t i n h i b i t i o n s ; but r e a s o n i n i t s v e r y c o n s t i t u t i o n i s the her.oic a f f i r m a t i o n o f the p r e s e n t and p o t e n t i a l mastery of 42 men over t h i n g s ; and as such, i t i s the e t e r n a l t r u t h of man." T h i s a t t i t u d e was c o m p l e t e l y r e v e r s e d i n Muir by the end of 1 9 2 3 , when he wrote the essays which p r a i s e German l y r i c p o e t r y f o r i t s simple acceptance o f mystery, and the poems of c h i l d h o o d which are based on a sense of incommensurable mystery. 4 l Page 1 8 1 , f o r example. 42 L a t i t u d e s , p. 1 9 5 . 48. The v e r y impetus of h i s r e a c t i o n from h i s e a r l i e r i d e a s i s one of the f o r c e s b e h i n d h i s change. The i d e a s i n the essay "The T r u t h about A r t " r e f l e c t Muir's r e b e l l i o n a g a i n s t a r t i s t i c r e a l i s m . T h i s s p r i n g s i n t u r n from h i s r e a c t i o n a g a i n s t h i s own C a l v i n i s t background. He a s s e r t s t h a t a r t can be understood o n l y on one h y p o t h e s i s : t h a t the u n i v e r s e i s r u l e d by chance and i r r a t i o n a l i t y . The c o n v e n t i o n a l p h i l o s o p h i c a l assumptions of e t e r n a l reason and f i n a l p r e v i s i o n impose the c h a r a c t e r of n e c e s s i t y and u s e f u l -ness on a l l t h i n g s ; i f e x i s t e n c e i s u l t i m a t e l y r a t i o n a l , e v e r y t h i n g must have i t s use. But a r t i s i n essence super-f l u o u s and f r e e : " A r t d e l i g h t s us p r e c i s e l y because i t takes us out of the realm of duty, of reason, and of n e c e s s i t y . I t does not m o r a l i z e or humanize us, nor remind us of e t e r n a l j u s t i c e ; i t c a r r i e s us i n t o a w o r l d which i s n e i t h e r n e c e s s a r y nor n e c e s s i t a t e d , but p e r f e c t l y a r b i t r a r y and f r e e , and g i v e s 43 us f r e e l y something i n c o n c e i v a b l y r i c h and m a g i c a l . " A l l p h i l o s o p h i c a l systems are i m p r i s o n i n g because they c o n f i n e a l l t h i n g s to a s e t p l a c e , and do not a l l o w them to e x i s t simply f o r themselves. But a r t , Muir c l a i m s , f r e e s us from the t r e a d m i l l of m o r a l i t y : i t p u r i f i e s t h i n g s from a l l e x t r i n s i c f u n c t i o n , and transmutes them i n t o pure form. A r t i s t i c form i s " n o t h i n g e l s e than the new semblance of t h i n g s when they are r e b o r n as p l a y , f r e e and without t a s k . " E m i l y Bronte's L a t i t u d e s , p. l 4 l . 49. treatment of H e a t h c l i f f i l l u s t r a t e s t h i s transcendence of m o r a l i t y by a r t : "He i s e n t r a n c i n g i n the f r e e and y e t i n -e x o r a b l e movement of h i s e v i l ; he i s a l t o g e t h e r a r t , a l t o -g e ther s t y l e ... He has been p u r i f i e d from e v e r y t h i n g but h i s own shape and n a t u r e . " Even M i l t o n , the g r e a t example o f moral purpose i n a r t , succumbs to the t h e o r y : "Both God and the d e v i l were c o n c e i v e d by him i n the plane of p l a y , and h i s Satan was g r e a t because i n d e l i n e a t i n g him he escaped from the bonds of h i s theory, i n which Satan was a f a t e , i n t o the kk realm of drama, of f r e e p l a y , i n which Satan was a god." The i n f l u e n c e of N i e t z s c h e on t h i s essay i s unmistak-a l b e . I t i s w r i t t e n i n a tone of d a r i n g and d e f i a n c e , and i t s passages of l i t e r a r y c r i t i c i s m are i n t r o d u c e d o n l y to prove a p h i l o s o p h i c a l p o i n t . Yet s e v e r a l of these i d e a s have l a s t i n g r e l e v a n c e and importance f o r Muir. H i s d i s t r u s t of p h i l o s o -p h i c a l systems was l i f e - l o n g ; a l l h i s p o e t i c metaphors of freedom and imprisonment grow out of i t . H i s mature p o e t r y makes the same assumption that i s made i n t h i s essay: there are no a b s o l u t e s , and a l l t h i n g s are p o s s i b l e . The a s s e r t i o n t h a t a r t i s p l a y , and f u l f i l s no purpose beyond i t s own e x i s t e n c e , i s an extreme statement of the i d e a that e v e r y t h i n g i n a r t and l i f e i s autonomous, and t h a t a r t i s an i n t u i t i v e d i s c o v e r y of essence. The comment made here on the c r i t i c a l methods of S a i n t Beuve e s p e c i a l l y suggests the l a t e r Muir, L a t i t u d e s , pp. 1 5 1 - 5 2 . 50. d e s p i t e the over-blown s t y l e : "To us t h i s seems o n l y to be the c r i t i c ' s p e c u l i a r , crabbed way of e n j o y i n g a work i n r e t r o s p e c t , a r o l l i n g o f i t on h i s s t a n d a r d i z i n g tongue ... an expedient of a d u l l e d s l u g g i s h s p i r i t , not ready and cap-a b l e enough to s e i z e immediately and to a p p r o p r i a t e at once w i t h every f a c u l t y and every sense a l l the nuances of an e x p e r i e n c e . " Muir's own l a t e r c r i t i c i s m seeks to e x p l o r e and d e f i n e , r a t h e r than to e v a l u a t e , and here he p r a i s e s L e s s i n g and Goethe because they are d i s c o v e r e r s and not judges. The b a s i c d i f f e r e n c e between Muir's i d e a s i n t h i s essay and the u n d e r l y i n g i d e a s of h i s l a t e r work d e r i v e s from the h a b i t of s e t t i n g up f i x e d d u a l i t i e s , t y p i c a l of a l l h i s e a r l y p r ose. Here he assumes t h a t the o p p o s i t i o n between re a s o n and the i r r a t i o n a l must be i r r e c o n c i l a b l e and f i n a l , and t h i s l e a d s him to the extreme c o n c l u s i o n t h a t a r t must be meaningless. "The a s p i r a t i o n of a r t i s towards a b s o l u t e 46 meaninglessness: a l l the r e s t i s solemn u n r e a l i t y . " T h i s r i g i d l y d u a l i s t i c h a b i t of mind can be a source of p r o l i f i c f e r t i l i t y i n argumentative prose, s i n c e the two s i d e s of a c e n t r a l d u a l i s m can be developed almost at w i l l , but i t i s the f u s i o n of d u a l i t y t h at g i v e s r i s e to p o e t r y . D e s p i t e Muir's i n t e r e s t i n the unconscious as s u b j e c t -matter f o r a r t , h i s b e l i e f at t h i s stage t h a t a r t i s e s s e n t i a l l y 45 46 L a t i t u d e s , p. l 4 9 . L a t i t u d e s , p. l43« form and e x p r e s s i o n makes him c r i t i c a l of w r i t e r s who, i n h i s view, descend i n t o the unconscious but f a i l to transmute i t i n t o c l e a r a e s t h e t i c form. The essay "Against P r o f u n d i t y " i n L a t i t u d e s i s an a t t a c k on the modern w r i t e r s who "take a p s y c h o l o g i c a l header i n t o chaos," p a r t i c u l a r l y D.H. Lawrence. A comparison of t h i s essay w i t h "The A s s a u l t on Humanism", a l s o a c r i t i c i s m of Lawrence, which was p u b l i s h e d i n the Freeman i n June 1923» may r e v e a l the development i n Muir's l i t e r a r y i d e a s . "Against P r o f u n d i t y " was p u b l i s h e d i n June 1922 but may have been w r i t t e n e a r l i e r ; i t s d i s c u s s i o n of p s y c h o a n a l y s i s i s based on Freud r a t h e r than on Jung. I n i t Muir d e p l o r e s the tendency of modern w r i t e r s to "descend i n t o t h e i r own depths, to e x p l o r e what has h i t h e r t o been beneath the t h r e s h o l d of a r t i s t i c e x p r e s s i o n , and to remain th e r e , to e s t a b l i s h t h e r e a kingdom of a r t , an i n t e r e s t i n g , sad and 47 i n t e n s e kingdom of the b l i n d . " These w r i t e r s do not e x p l o r e the unconscious and b r i n g i t to the l i g h t ; they merely l o s e themselves t h e r e . T h e i r work l a c k s the order and l u c i d i t y which a l l a r t should have. "The problem i s whether man a t t a i n s h i s f u l f i l m e n t by throwing h i m s e l f out i n t o e x i s t e n c e , and t h e r e a c h i e v i n g h i s r e a l form, or by knowing h i m s e l f , by e x p l o r i n g h i s own chaos; and i t i s the g r e a t modern problem." Muir has no m i s g i v i n g s about h i s own p o s i t i o n , and expands on i t i n h y p e r b o l i c a l terms: 52. To throw o n e s e l f out, f o r ever and always; to s t r i v e upward i n t o s h a r p e r l i g h t and a i r ; to become always more d i s t i n c t and y e t more i n t e n s e ; to make, by a c t i o n , every p o t e n t i a l i t y a c t u a l ; to t u r n a l l one's senses, thoughts, and i m a g i n i n g s outward to the sun, knowing t h a t the inward s p r i n g i s i n e x h a u s t i b l e ; to a t t a i n a b s o l u t e , d e f i n i t e c l e a r n e s s , w i t h not one v e i l of " p r o f u n d i t y " , of i m p r i s o n i n g , b e c l o u d i n g s e l f -e xamination and i n t r o s p e c t i o n - but I am d e s c r i b i n g a demigod. T h i s i d e a l i s e x e m p l i f i e d by Homer, Shakespeare, Mozart and Goethe. Muir p r a i s e s them i n terms r e m i n i s c e n t of Goethe's own statement about C l a s s i c i s m and Romanticism: they " b r i n g e n t i r e s a t i s f a c t i o n to us, and r e f r e s h us without t h a t r e s i d u e 48 of sadness and i l l - h e a l t h which t h e r e i s i n a l l s a v i o u r s . " So, d e s p i t e h i s contempt f o r c r i t i c s who judge r a t h e r than e x p l o r e , Muir i s j u d g i n g l i t e r a t u r e here a c c o r d i n g to the completeness w i t h which i t transmutes e x p e r i e n c e i n t o a e s t h e t i c form. The p e r s o n a l and s u b j e c t i v e i s i d e n t i f i e d w i t h darkness, chaos, and d i s e a s e ; the formed work of a r t w i t h l i g h t , o r d e r and h e a l t h . The u n d e r l y i n g i d e a l i s p s y c h o l o g i c a l r a t h e r t han a e s t h e t i c , and i t s importance f o r Muir p r o b a b l y r e f l e c t s h i s own p s y c h o l o g i c a l need, c o n s c i o u s or not, to be f r e e d from the burden of h i s p a s t . Muir's second essay on Lawrence, w r i t t e n a f t e r he had begun to w r i t e h i s own p o e t r y , can s t i l l f i n d l i t t l e to admire i n h i s work. But the v a l u e by which he judges Lawrence i s no l o n g e r an i d e a l of p s y c h o l o g i c a l h e a l t h , but an i d e a l of the l i t e r a r y i m a g i n a t i o n . Lawrence's s u b j e c t -matter, a c c o r d i n g to Muir, i s the immediate c o n t a c t ; d e s p i t e L a t i t u d e s , pp. 180-83. 53. the i n t e n s i t y w i t h which he r e v e a l s i t , he does not a t t a i n the i m a g i n a t i v e f u s i o n of the u n i v e r s a l and the p a r t i c u l a r which a l l g r e a t a r t must make. "Where Mr. Lawrence f e e l s w i t h immense a l e r t n e s s the immediate l i f e around him, the g r e a t a r t i s t s have f e l t i n p a r t i c u l r forms the whole of human l i f e . " Here, the a e s t h e t i c freedom which Lawrence f a i l s to reach i s seen not as the freedom of p l a y and i r r e s p o n s i b i l i t y , but as the sense of emancipation which comes from a sudden b r o a d e n i n g of v i s i o n , the "sense of the spac i o u s n e s s and freedom of the human drama." I n the same essay Muir c r i t i c i z e s Shaw and Wells f o r a s i m i l a r d e f e c t of narrowness: "They saw mankind i n the end not through the t i m e l e s s eyes of the i m a g i n a t i o n , but through the most advanced p r e c o n c e p t i o n s of a p a r t i c u l a r twenty y e a r s . " The change i n Muir's l i t e r a r y i d e a s between 1922 and 1 9 2 3 c o i n c i d e s w i t h the awakening of h i s p o e t i c i m a g i n a t i o n . The poem " R e - B i r t h " appeared i n the New Age on June 8, 1 9 2 2 , 50 and i s Muir's f i r s t B r i t i s h p u b l i c a t i o n under h i s own name. "The A s s a u l t on Humanism", Freeman, V I I (June 27, 1 9 2 3 ) , 3 7 0 . 5 0 A note i n the New Age f o r Dec. 7, 1922 (XXXII, 8 9 ) says that "to a v o i d c o n f u s i o n w i t h the E d i t o r , 'Mr. Edward Moore' i s now w r i t i n g under h i s own name, Edwin Muir." I n f a c t A r t h u r Moore became e d i t o r of the New Age on Oct. 5> 1 9 2 2 , so Muir may have meant the appearance of the poem i n June over h i s own name to symbolize h i s own r e b i r t h . H i s prose c o n t r i -b u t i o n s to the New Age were s i g n e d "Edward Moore" u n t i l Nov. 9» 1 9 2 2 , when h i s " C a u s e r i e de J e u d i " s e r i e s began. A l l Muir's c o n t r i b u t i o n s to the Freeman were s i g n e d w i t h h i s own name or h i s i n i t i a l s . 54. By J u l y 1 9 2 4 , the end of Muir's f i r s t s t a y on the C o n t i n e n t , f o u r t e e n poems had been p u b l i s h e d , i n c l u d i n g the f i r s t d r a f t of Chorus of the Newly Dead, and s e v e r a l more had been w r i t t e n . The main f a c t o r i n t h i s r e l e a s e of c r e a t i v i t y was undoubtedly the p e r s o n a l l i b e r a t i o n which Muir e x p e r i e n c e d i n Prague and e s p e c i a l l y i n Dresden and H e l l e r a u . T h i s gave him a sense of freedom from h i s own p a s t , and l e t him b e g i n to see l i f e time-l e s s l y , through the eyes of the i m a g i n a t i o n . S i m u l t a n e o u s l y he r e c o v e r e d h i s a b i l i t y to respond to immediate e x p e r i e n c e . In Prague the v e r y language b a r r i e r made him dependent on h i s sense p e r c e p t i o n s , and i n c r e a s e d t h e i r v i v i d n e s s , ^ and i n Germany the n a t u r a l landscape d i s p e l l e d h i s o b s e s s i o n w i t h o r i g i n a l s i n and brought him back to a c h i l d - l i k e a pprehension of the world. "The t r e e s s o l i c i t e d us to be n a t u r a l , s i n c e they were n a t u r a l , to be young, s i n c e they renewed t h e i r youth every year, to be c h i l d - l i k e , s i n c e we c o u l d e a s i l y f e e l as 52 we wandered among them t h a t we were c h i l d r e n of n a t u r e . " Muir made the same d i r e c t emotional response to the German p o e t r y he began to r e a d at t h i s time, and h i s e x p e r i e n c e of German p o e t r y i s the o u t s t a n d i n g l i t e r a r y i n f l u e n c e b e h i n d h i s changing c r i t i c a l i d e a s and b e h i n d F i r s t Poems. In the essays on German l i t e r a t u r e and the essays on Romanticism i n s p i r e d by German l y r i c a l p o e t r y , one f e e l s f o r the f i r s t time t h a t Muir i s e m o t i o n a l l y committed to h i s i d e a s . The e a r l i e r essays 51 See "Impressions of Prague", L a t i t u d e s , pp. 259-85, 52 Autobiography, p. 2 0 2 . 55. on g e n e r a l s u b j e c t s r e p r e s e n t v e r y o f t e n the extravagances of a mind i n a vacuum. As Muir says i n the Autobiography, "I was v e r y l i t t l e concerned w i t h the t r u t h of what I s a i d ; I was simply l e t t i n g my mind range f r e e l y among ' i d e a s ' , as i f t h a t 53 were a s u f f i c i e n t end i n i t s e l f . " But i n the 1 9 2 3 essays, f o r the f i r s t time, Muir's g e n e r a l statements on l i t e r a t u r e a r i s e from a c o n c r e t e p o e t i c e x p e r i e n c e i n which h i s mind and h i s emotions are b o t h i n v o l v e d . The i d e a s i n these essays have i n f a c t more r e l e v a n c e f o r a l l Muir's p o e t r y , not merely the F i r s t Poems, than any o t h e r i d e a s i n h i s c r i t i c a l p r o se. There i s some c o n t i n u i t y , on the l e v e l of pure i d e a s , between the e a r l i e r w r i t i n g and the essays on German l i t e r a t u r e . The i d e a of becoming, the r e j e c t i o n of f i x e d t r u t h s , i s c e n t r a l i n We Moderns and the e a r l y L a t i t u d e s essays. " L i f e ... i s a c e a s e l e s s pushing forward, a continuous c r e a t i o n of the new 54 and unique." T h i s N i e t z s c h e a n i d e a may have a t t r a c t e d Muir i n the f i r s t p l a c e because i t o f f e r e d an escape from the f l a w -l e s s c l o s e d l o g i c of C a l v i n i s m . He r e i t e r a t e s i t c o n t i n u a l l y i n h i s e a r l y w r i t i n g , and the importance of the i d e a of the p o t e n t i a l i n German Romanticism was p r o b a b l y the c e n t r a l f a c t o r i n Muir's immediate sense of a f f i n i t y w i t h German w r i t e r s . W i l l a Muir confirms t h i s when she says of the r e l a -t i o n s h i p between Muir and T.S. E l i o t i n 1 9 2 8 : 53 Autobiography, p. 200. L a t i t u d e s , pp. 2 1 5 - 1 6 . 56. They were b o t h s t i l l i n the making - E l i o t had not y e t produced the Four Q u a r t e t s - but Edwin was p e n e t r a t e d by German, t h i n k i n g w h i l e E l i o t was more i n f l u e n c e d by the F rench. ... Muir was more i n t e r e s t e d i n the under-developed, the p o t e n t i a l , which he found i n the German s p i r i t ; he d i d not mind b e i n g l a b e l l e d romantic though he d i d not care f o r l a b e l s , but he would have r e f u s e d to be c a l l e d c l a s s i c a l . 55 C l e a r l y i t was Muir's own needs and p r e o c c u p a t i o n s which made him emphasize these q u a l i t i e s above a l l o t h e r s i n h i s c r i t i c i s m of German l i t e r a t u r e . H i s d i s c o v e r y of German p o e t r y at t h i s c r u c i a l stage i n h i s p e r s o n a l l i f e was p r o b a b l y the t u r n i n g -p o i n t i n h i s i m a g i n a t i v e development. The essay "North and South", f i r s t p u b l i s h e d i n November 1 9 2 2 , r e f l e c t s the t r a n s i t i o n i n Muir's l i t e r a r y i n t e r e s t s . Here he marshals h i s i d e a s i n the schematic manner of the e a r l i e r e s s a y s : he e l a b o r a t e s h i s c o n t r a s t of N o r t h a g a i n s t South by s e t t i n g p o t e n t i a l i t y a g a i n s t l i m i t a t i o n , freedom a g a i n s t i n e v i t a b i l i t y , u nconsciousness a g a i n s t con-s c i o u s n e s s , e f f o r t a g a i n s t s e r e n i t y . But the p e r c e p t i o n of Sehnsucht as the c e n t r a l q u a l i t y of N o r t h e r n l i t e r a t u r e has touched Muir's i m a g i n a t i o n as w e l l , as h i s i n t e l l e c t : S i n c e the r e b i r t h of c u l t u r e d u r i n g the Renaissance t h e r e has always been i n N o r t h e r n Europe a poignant l o n g i n g f o r the South as f o r a home from which men were e x i l e d and to which they c o u l d never r e t u r n . I t was f e l t as a sense of mystery and of l o s s as s t r o n g as t h a t which r e l i g i o u s men f e e l when they dream of a l o s t P a r a d i s e , as h o p e l e s s as t h a t which poets c h e r i s h f o r t h e i r v a n i s h e d c h i l d h o o d . 56 1 9 6 8 ) , p. l 4 8 . 56 K K W i l l a Muir, B e l o n g i n g : A Memoir (London: Hogarth, L a t i t u d e s , p. 1 0 3 . 57. Through the e x p e r i e n c e of poems such as Mignon's song i n Wilhelm M e i s t e r , e v e r y t h i n g t h a t i s dynamic and a s p i r i n g i n human na t u r e i s i d e n t i f i e d w i t h the emotional l o n g i n g f o r an i r r e c o v e r a b l e s t a t e of p e r f e c t i o n . Thus the N i e t z s c h e a n v i s i o n of p o t e n t i a l i t y i s f u s e d w i t h the Romantic v i s i o n of a l o s t p a r a d i s e . T h i s essay i l l u s t r a t e s the t r a n s m u t a t i o n of h i s e a r l i e r i d e a s d e s c r i b e d by Muir h i m s e l f : "Some of them v a n i s h e d a l t o g e t h e r and were as i f they had never been; o t h e r s transmuted themselves i n t o i m a g i n a t i v e forms, p a r t i c u l a r l y those which touched the i d e a s of innocence and r e c o n c i l i a t i o n : Eden and the m i l l e n n i a l v i s i o n of which I had dreamt as a 57 c h i l d . " N o r t h e r n Europe becomes the embodiment of the dynamic p r i n c i p l e , SouthernEurope of the s t a t i c . But here Muir makes an i m a g i n a t i v e comparison, which f a r transcends h i s e a r l i e r p o l e m i c a l a t t a c k s on s t a t i c v a l u e s : "The North dreams e t e r n a l l y of the South; but the South, l y i n g i n i t s l i f e , r i p e n e d and s u f f i c i e n t , does not dream at a l l . I t i s w i t h i n i t s e l f and f i n i s h e d ; and i t i s t h i s completeness, t h i s form, 58 f o r which the N o r t h l o n g s . " T h i s s p i r i t of the North i s the s p i r i t by which Muir's own p o e t r y i s l a t e r animated: "The wisdom of the South i s the wisdom of a d a p t a t i o n ... But the North demands e t e r n a l l y something to be a t t a i n e d , and t h e r e f o r e i m p e r f e c t i o n and the hope of p e r f e c t i o n at the same time ... " 5 9 57 Autobiography, pp. 2 0 0 - 0 1 . 58 L a t i t u d e s , p. 105-59 L a t i t u d e s , p. 1 1 2 . 58. T h i s Romantic v i s i o n , based on the e x p e r i e n c e of Sehnsucht, has a c e n t r a l importance f o r Muir's l i t e r a r y deve-lopment because i t o f f e r e d him a p o e t i c myth w i t h i n which h i s own p a s t c o u l d assume i m a g i n a t i v e form. D u r i n g h i s e a r l y years i n Glasgow, Muir's l i f e was made unbearable because the r i g i d o r d e r of C a l v i n i s m i n which he had been brought up gave him no way to r e l a t e to the s u f f e r i n g he saw and e x p e r i e n c e d . L i f e was a p p a r e n t l y r u l e d by an i r o n law which d i c t a t e d t h a t a l l men s h o u l d be b o r n i n t o o r i g i n a l s i n , and s h o u l d s u f f e r and d i e without a t t a i n i n g freedom. The slow, a g o n i z i n g death of h i s b r o t h e r Johnnie from a b r a i n tumour which "wrecked i n t u r n h i s body, h i s mind and h i s s p i r i t " proved to the young Muir t h a t l i f e had no meaning. He c o u l d not f e e l the deaths of h i s p a r e n t s and b r o t h e r s , and withdrew h i m s e l f from a l l f e e l i n g . "The s u c c e s s i v e deaths had merely stunned me; I grew s i l e n t , absent, dingy, and c o m p o s e d . Y e a r s l a t e r he found a f a l s e s o l u t i o n to h i s problem i n the i d e a s of N i e t z s c h e , which s y m b o l i c a l l y a n n i h i l a t e d s i n and s u f f e r i n g by denying them, and r e p l a c e d the myth of the F a l l by i t s exact o p p o s i t e , the myth of the Superman. S e e i n g the p r e s e n t i n the l i g h t of the m i l l e n n i a l f u t u r e , Muir c o u l d f e e l t h a t i t e x i s t e d o n l y to be transcended. The predominant i d e a s i n Muir's e a r l y c r i t i -cism r e v e a l h i s a n x i e t y to escape from the p r o b l e m a t i c a l realm of e x p e r i e n c e at a l l c o s t s . Yet the a r c h e t y p e s of O r i g i n a l S i n and the F a l l were d e e p l y r o o t e d i n h i s mind, and ^ Autobiography, pp. 103-04. 59. h i s w i l l e d b e l i e f s were powerless to e x o r c i s e them. As he says i n the Autobiography, the e x p e r i e n c e of h i s psycho-a n a l y s i s "was r e a l l y a c o n v i c t i o n of s i n . H i s i n s t i n c t i v e sympathy w i t h the Romantic l i t e r a t u r e he was now r e a d i n g i n Germany a l l o w e d him f o r the f i r s t time to e x p e r i e n c e s u f f e r i n g and d e p r i v a t i o n w i t h i n an i m a g i n a t i v e v i s i o n of l i f e . The sense of y e a r n i n g and l o s s which he p e r c e i v e d i n German p o e t r y f u s e d n a t u r a l l y w i t h h i s own, and gave r i s e to many o f the F i r s t Poems. T h i s f u s i o n came a l l the more r e a d i l y because German Romantic p o e t r y , as Muir h i m s e l f p o i n t s out, e x i s t s almost e n t i r e l y i n the realm of f e e l i n g . The c e n t r a l change i n Muir's l i t e r a r y i d e a s may be seen i n the essay "The Meaning of Romanticism", p u b l i s h e d i n two p a r t s i n the Freeman i n December 1 9 2 3 and January 1 9 2 4 . The l i t e r a t u r e which he now c a l l s "Romantic", and sees as the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c l i t e r a t u r e of the modern age, i s p r e c i s e l y the k i n d of a r t which the e a r l i e r essays exclude from the a e s t h e t i c realm. Romantic a r t , i n Muir's sense, i s d i r e c t l y concerned w i t h e x p e r i e n c e , and arouses us to a f u l l e r awareness of our-s e l v e s . Our a t t i t u d e to i t cannot be detached and serene; i t deepens our v i s i o n of the l i f e i n which we are a l l of n e c e s s i t y i n v o l v e d , so i t s e f f e c t on us must be d i s t u r b i n g . Romantic l i t e r a t u r e " t r o u b l e s us because i t makes us c o n s c i o u s o f the t a n g l e d complex which i s not human l i f e o nly, but our l i f e ... Autobiography, p. 1 5 8 . 60. The Wirkung of romantic l i t e r a t u r e i s moving and p a i n f u l because i t operates on the p a r t of our s p i r i t which i s i n t r a v a i l . " The c o n d i t i o n which Muir had once i n s i s t e d t h a t a l l a r t must s a t i s f y now belongs o n l y to c l a s s i c a l l i t e r a t u r e . C l a s s i c a l a r t , he c l a i m s , a r i s e s from the complete transmuta-t i o n of l i f e i n t o the a e s t h e t i c realm. Our a t t i t u d e towards l i t e r a t u r e of the c l a s s i c a l age can be serene and o b j e c t i v e s i m p l y because the l i f e w i t h which i t d e a l s i s no l o n g e r our own. "The o n l y r e m a i n i n g f u n c t i o n o f the c l a s s i c s i s t h a t of enhancing i n a b e a u t i f u l i m p a r t i a l i t y our s t r e n g t h and h a p p i -ness. They have receded e n t i r e l y to the a e s t h e t i c p l a ne ... The c l a s s i c a l i s something which has come to the f u l l n e s s of 62 i t s development, the romantic, something which has n o t . " T h i s g e n e r a l i z i n g s e c t i o n o f the essay i s of i n t e r e s t o n l y f o r t h e i . l i g h t i t throws on the development of Muir's i d e a s . C r i t i c a l l y i t l e a d s Muir i n t o the unorthodox p o s i t i o n of c h a r a c t e r i z i n g l i t e r a t u r e by the e f f e c t i t has on the re a d e r . C l a s s i c a l l i t e r a t u r e i s " o b j e c t i v e " and romantic l i t e r a t u r e " s u b j e c t i v e " i n the a t t i t u d e of the reader, not the a t t i t u d e of the w r i t e r to h i s s u b j e c t - m a t t e r . Muir's wish to give the c e n t r a l p o s i t i o n to Romanticism l e a d s him to suggest t h a t a l l g r e a t a r t i s romantic at the time of i t s c o m p o s i t i o n : i t i s o n l y the passage of time t h a t e v e n t u a l l y makes a r t Muir, "The Meaning of Romanticism", Freeman, V I I I (Dec. 26, 1 9 2 3 ) , 369. c l a s s i c a l . The " s i c k n e s s " o f romantic a r t i s merely i t s incompleteness, and g i v e s i t an added r i c h n e s s . "Past a r t i s h e a l t h y a r t because every a t t r i b u t e except t h a t of g i v i n g 6 3 a e s t h e t i c p l e a s u r e has f a l l e n away from i t . " C l a r i s s a  Harlowe, f o r example, i s " c l a s s i c a l " now because the problems of the e i g h t e e n t h c e n t u r y no l o n g e r matter to us and we can see i t o b j e c t i v e l y ; i t was "romantic" to i t s age because i t s t i r r e d up i s s u e s of deep contemporary concern. T h i s essay suggests, then, t h a t a l l l i t e r a t u r e at the time of i t s b i r t h i s d e e p l y i n v o l v e d w i t h l i f e and cannot be s e p a r a t e d from i t . L i t e r a t u r e , f o r Muir, i s no l o n g e r an escape from l i f e ; i n s t e a d , i t makes us more f u l l y a l i v e to o u r s e l v e s , and to our s u f f e r i n g . But the l i t e r a t u r e of the Romantic p e r i o d p r o p e r has a profound appeal f o r Muir because i t f u s e s i n a s i n g l e i m a g i n a t i v e v i s i o n a deep involvement w i t h s u f f e r i n g and dreams of a r e a l i t y t r a n s c e n d i n g s u f f e r i n g . Romantic l i t e r a t u r e t r a n s f i g u r e s the C a l v i n i s t myth of the F a l l : The romantics were, as we are, i n t r a v a i l , but i n t h e i r t r a v a i l they had g i g a n t i c v i s i o n s ; and t h a t i s the complementary aspect of Romanticism. I t was these v i s i o n s which as a background gave romantic p o e t r y an unbearable pathos, a pathos not of men l i v i n g on the e a r t h , but of f a l l e n s p i r i t s s t r i v i n g to climb back i n t o a l i g h t which had been l o s t i n a u n i v e r s a l c a l a m i t y . 64 63 64 I b i d . , p. 368. I b i d . , p. 369. 62. Muir's r e a d i n g of German p o e t r y was not h i s f i r s t c o n t a c t w i t h the p o e t r y o f n o s t a l g i c memory: he had l o n g been f a m i l i a r w i t h Wordsworth, Vaughan and Traherne. However h i s response to German p o e t r y h e l p e d him to c o n f r o n t h i s own sense of l o s s because i t f r e e d these f e e l i n g s from the overtones o f moral g u i l t w i t h which h i s C a l v i n i s t u p b r i n g i n g had l o n g a s s o c i a t e d them. The sense of l o n g i n g and r e g r e t i n German p o e t r y i s pure f e e l i n g u n d i s t u r b e d by any moral i m p l i c a t i o n s . T h i s d i s t i n c t i o n i s made by Muir h i m s e l f i n h i s essay "Sehnsucht i n German P o e t r y " , p u b l i s h e d i n October 1 9 2 3 . The passage i s worth q u o t i n g at l e n g t h because i t d e f i n e s p r e c i s e l y the k i n d o f n o s t a l g i a Muir i s a t t e m p t i n g to express i n the F i r s t Poems. The Sehnsucht of the German poets ... i s a r e g r e t f o r the p a s t , not because we sh o u l d use i t b e t t e r i f i t were to r e t u r n , but f o r I t s e l f . T h i s r e g r e t i s n e i t h e r , as w i t h V e r l a i n e , a r e g r e t f o r missed o p p o r t u n i t i e s , nor, as w i t h Burns, a r e c o g n i t i o n of the u n p r e d i c t a b l e a c c i d e n t s which l i f e b r i n g s . I t i s simply a r e a l i z a t i o n t h a t i n growing up, i n becoming more and more c o m p l e t e l y adapted to the world, we l o s e something which we p r i z e more than the attainment of the l i m i t e d p e r f e c t i o n of manhood. T h i s t h i n g i s not l o s t by a moral l a p s e of the i n d i v i d u a l ; f o r whether one i s good or bad one l o s e s i t . I t i s l o s t s i m p l y i n the p r o c e s s o f r e c e d i n g , by the f o r c e of y e a r s and of one's own growth, from a l l t h a t l i e s b ehind; and i t s cause i s not i n us as i n d i v i -d u a l s , but i n l i f e i t s e l f . Sehnsucht i s a s o r t of g e n e r a l , unconscious