Thursday, February 23, 2012
The word and the idea. A reflection by Victor Hugo
Cabeza de águila. Eagle´s head. Pintura digital de Myriam B. Mahiques
Eagle´s head. Cabeza de Aguila by Myriam B. Mahiques is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
¨It is an error to think that an idea can be rendered in many different ways. While strongly upholding, be it well understood, the sovereign poets´ magnificent right with regard to development, that high faculty pertaining to the dweller of the summits of placing in light around the central thought all the surrounding ideas –while strongly upholding this faculty and this right, which are of the very essence of poetry, we affirm this: an idea has but one expression. It is this expression that genius finds. How does it find it? From on high. By inspiration. Sometimes without knowing how, but always with certainty. The eagle´s instinct.
For him as creator, the idea with the expression, the substance with the form constitutes unity. The idea without the word would be an abstraction; the word without the idea would be a sound; their union is their life. The poet cannot conceive them distinct.¨
Victor Hugo´s Intellectual Biography. P. 191-192