Tradition as Scenario. On the Work of Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer
(Lars Bernaerts) The Low Countries - 2018, № 26, pp. 166-179
Tradition is a treacherous protagonist in Pfeijffer’s writing. The writer derives his mastery from ‘Tradition and the Individual Talent’, to quote T.S. Eliot. In his classic essay with that title the modernist poet argues in 1919 that the critics of his time are inclined always to emphasise what makes a poet new and hence individual. Tradition becomes a blind spot, although ‘not only the best, but the most individual parts of his work may be those in which the dead poets, his ancestors, assert their immortality most vigorously’. Only when the poet is in touch with tradition can he really assess and assert the topical value of his work.
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