For Johnson, I said, expression was necessarily statement; critically, he couldn't come to terms with the use of language, not as a medium in which to put 'previously definite' ideas, but for exploratory creation. Poetry as creating what it presents, and as presenting something that stands there to speak for itself, or, rather, that isn't a matter of saying, but of being and enacting,he couldn't properly understand.(from Tragedy and the ‘medium’ essay in The Common Pursuit by F.R. Leavis)
Leavis is deprecating Santayana’s philosopher’s view that Shakespeare is expressing his own sense of the futility of life that he puts into the mouth of Macbeth, “Tomorrow and tomorrow etc.” No, no, no it is the play that is speaking. As I have expressed it in relation to Flannery O’Connor, the work gets away on its creator. ‘I didn’t know he was going to say that’ she says of a character. If you’re a reader you can feel this and it may be that writers who can’t read fail to ever pass into the active imagination
by which a world is mediated.
cf.getting away on Flannery
The Last Puritan by Santayana and The Late George Apley by John Marquand are both exemplars of Beacon Hill Brahminism but the former stays within the program withal beautifully written while Marquand’s work may have surprised himself.
The Last Puritan
The Late George Apley
George is fatuous, blinkered but strangely noble and lovable. Oliver has to die to make his point but it seems unsatisfactory that he was not given more of a chance to meet himself, to catch himself on as the saying was. That is the tragedy of dying young never having been able for happiness.