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November 1960

In Defense of Ignorance.

Arch Intern Med. 1960;106(5):746-747. doi:10.1001/archinte.1960.03820050158031

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Some time ago I was inpressed by a critique Karl Shapiro wrote of the poems and the influence of T. S. Eliot. Perhaps I was pleased by what he said since it conformed so thoroughly to my own prejudices. I have long held the heretical view that despite certain notable exceptions Eliot's poems were vastly over-rated, for he had suffered the morbid effects of that occupational hazard of expatriots, becoming an expert at a distance and, reversing the order of nature, becoming mellow before ripening. Anyhow, I expressed to Karl Shapiro my pleasure at his work. He sent me a copy of his first collection of essays entitled "In Defense of Ignorance." This book is full of all kinds of choice bits which I believe any intelligent adult could get much pleasure from whether he has any feelings about poetry or not. Of course, it would be better if he

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