When the business of the poet is thought to be imitation, it follows that the source of pleasure in poetry must lie in some sort of recognition by the reader, who is reminded of something he has already experienced.
'Poetry being imitation', Steele argues, 'and . . . that imitation being the best which deceives the most easily, it follows that we must take up the customs which are most familiar or universally known, since no man can be deceived or delighted with the imitation of what he is ignorant of' (Guardian, No. 30, 15 Apr. 1 713).
'Poetry,' Johnson writes, 'cannot dissect the latent qualities of things without losing its general power of gratifying every mind by recalling its own conceptions' (Rambler, No. 36, 2 1 July 1750).
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