Donald Carne-Ross And The Role Of Poetry

Joseph M. Keegin at the Hedgehog Review:

But Carne-Ross is more than just a polemicist, and the book aims at more than just critique. The title alone belies this, as explained by a brief etymology on the cover page: “INSTAURATION: ‘1.… Restoration, renovation, renewal. 2. Institution, founding, establishment. Obs.’ OED.” (The inclusion of the Oxford English Dictionary’s finding that the term is obsolete is deployed by Carne-Ross as a gesture toward his foundational belief that much of the wisdom that is needed today is hidden, like a pearl in a rough oyster, within the ostensibly obsolescent detritus of the past.) The opening essay establishes the problem and clears the ground, but the essays that follow are for the sake of construction. They are closely reasoned, erudite, and above all inspired readings of poetry ancient and modern: on how Pindar’s sixth Olympian ode shows us how, in a culture “obsessed with the theme of solitary suffering,” we might “learn a way back to a poetry of celebration”; on how Sophocles’s Trakhiniai unsettles our habitual historicism and invites us to ask anew the question about man’s relation to nature; on how reading Dante after the twilight of Christendom makes visible the narrowness of our (post)modern hermeneutic situation, and beckons us to move beyond it; on Luis de Góngora and the curious loss of Renaissance literature after modernism; on Giacomo Leopardi as a reluctant modern, uncomfortable on the cusp of the new disenchanted age and mourning “the lost holiness of earthly life.”

more here.