Manuscript Essay

Scope and Content

Essay on Poetry, likely to have been written whilst Gissing was a student at Owens College, Manchester, between 1872 and 1876: Poetry, speaking broadly & generally, is the term now applied to any metrical composition, whether in rhyme or not. It is the one form of composition most capable of expressing the greatest intensity of feeling, & has indeed its very foundation in a keenly sensitive grasp of delicate feeling & imagery. That this is strictly the root of poetry seems to be recognised by one universally calling poetical any prose composition which embodies these characteristics... In conclusion we must remember that a poet is of all created beings the most sensitive, - most liable to that intensity of feeling which makes the pain of live doubly painful & the pleasure doubly keen. He lives in a world of imagery which to our earthly spirits is hardly conceivable, & it is these feelings & these images which his poems try to put into words in order that other hearts may be touched and purified by the thoughts inspired in him but which would never have spontaneously arisen on their own.

Related Material

For a copy of an essay on Burns held at the National Library of Scotland, also written whilst at Owens College see GRG/2/3/10/5/1  below.