AND THE TRUE REALISM, ALWAYS AND EVERYWHERE, IS THAT OF THE POETS

For, to repeat, the ground of a man’s joy is often hard to hit. It may hinge at times upon a mere accessory, like the lantern; it may reside in the mysterious inwards of psychology…It has so little bond with externals…that it may even touch them not, and the man’s true life, for which he consents to live, lie together in the field of fancy…In such a case the poetry runs underground. The observer (poor soul, with his documents!) is all abroad. For to look at the man is to but court deception.We shall see the trunk from which he draws his nourishment; but he himself is above and abroad in the green dome of foliage, hummed through by winds and nested in by nightingales. And the true realism were that of the poets, to climb after him like a squirrel, and catch some glimpse of the heaven in which he lives. And the true realism, always and everywhere, is that of the poets: to find out where joy resides, and give it a voice far beyond singing.

-Robert Lewis Stevenson, quoted in William James’, “On a Certain Blindness of Human Beings”

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