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George Santayana (Selected Critical Writings, 1968) on Goldsworthy Lowes Dickinson:

My other friend at King’s [was] Lowes Dickinson. His classicism was not of the rough, coarse, realistic Roman kind, but Greek, as attenuated and Platonized as possible, and seen through Quaker spectacles. I liked his Greek View of Life, but it wasn’t Greek life as depicted by Aristophanes or by Plutarch; it was what a romantic Puritan of our time would wish Greek life to have been. War, lust, cruelty and confusion were washed out of it. Dickinson was super-sensitive, hard-working, unhappy, and misguided. His gift was for form; his privately printed poems seemed to me admirable; but his subject-matter was perverse, even in those poems, and much more, I think, in his philosophy and politics. He prayed, watched, and laboured to redeem human life, and began by refusing to understand what human life is. Too weak to face the truth, he set himself a task too great for Titans: to shatter this world to bits, and put it together again on a moralistic plan. If at least that plan had been beautiful, he might have consoled himself for his practical impotence by being an avowed poet; but his plan was incoherent, negative, sentimental. It was that no one should suffer, and that all should love one another: in other words, that no one should be alive or should distinguish what he loved from what he hated.

Poor Dickinson came once or twice to America, the first time to give some Lowell Lectures in Boston. It was winter, and he suffered from the cold, as well as from the largeness and noise of the town. I remember his horror when the electric car we were in got into the subway, and the noise became deafening; also his misery when one evening we walked across the Harvard bridge, and he murmured, shivering: “I have never been so cold in my life.” The cocktail, he said, was the only good thing in America. He hated the real, bumptious, cordial democracy that he found there; he would have liked a silent, Franciscan, tender democracy, poor, clean, and inspired. If he could have visited New England sixty years earlier he might have found sympathetic souls at Concord or at Brook Farm. He wouldn’t have liked them, reformers don’t like one another; but at least he might have imagined that the world was moving towards something better. As it was, he found that it was sliding hellwards with a whoop of triumph.

G. Lowes Dickinson at IWP Books.