"3 October 1980
I said I knew very well what he meant, because I had been reading Wordsworth's Preface to Lyrical Ballads that morning. Wordsworth wrote in 1800: 'A multitude of causes, unknown to former times, are now acting with a combined force to blunt the discriminating powers of the mind, and, unfitting it for all voluntary exertion, to reduce it to a state of almost savage torpor.' Wordsworth felt as Harry does.

Harry is at the centre of things. Paranoia means that he thinks incessantly about the outward forces that are destroying inner peace. His 'madness' consists (a) of thinking that the disturbance of the world is all directed at one person--him, and (b) of taking what is really poetic metaphor as poetic truth. If poets are associated with madness it is because some poets have inhabited a world of their own metaphors, taking them quite literally. Perhaps, in ancient times, poets were holy madmen.

I found the conversation tiring, because I understood it so well. Harry was talking about the realities I know and run away from. [...]"
{Stephen Spender, Journals 1939-1983}

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