But I'm tired of the psychiatric overlay; I'm tired of the medical angle of poetry. And when I say I'm tired, I don't imply that I disbelieve in its necessity, or disbelieve in her illness, or disbelieve in the illness and distress of many people, writers and otherwise, myself and otherwise.
But somehow, that wasn't what I was searching for when I took the book off the shelf. Somehow, I wanted a vision of the ignited spark that isn't illness, that isn't therapy, that isn't erudition.
I suppose I wanted, in twentieth-century female form, what Keats knew how to say, but I look everywhere, and I don't know where to find it.
As to the poetical Character itself, . . . it is not itself--it has no self--it is everything and nothing--It has no character--it enjoys light and shade; it lives in gusto, be it foul or fair, high or low, rich or poor, mean or elevated--It has as much delight in conceiving an Iago as an Imogen. What shocks the virtuous philosop[h]er, delights the camelion Poet. It does no harm from its relish of the dark side of things any more than from its taste for the bright one; because they both end in speculation. A Poet is the most unpoetical of any thing in existence; because he has no Identity--he is continually in for--and filling some other Body--The Sun, the Moon, the Sea and Men and Women who are creatures of impulse are poetical and have about them an unchangeable attribute--the poet has none; no identity--he is certainly the most unpoetical of all God's Creatures. . . . When I am in a room with People if I ever an free from speculating on creations of my own brain, then not myself goes home to myself: but the identity of every one in the room begins to press upon me [so] that I am in a very little time annihilated--not only among Men; it would be the same in a Nursery of children.[letter to Richard Woodhouse, October 27, 1818]