A. E. Housman on Poetry (=Literature) as a secretion
(from "The Name and Nature of Poetry" in Selected Prose, ed. Carter, Cambridge, 1961, pp. 168-195).
I cannot satisfy myself that there are any such things as poetical ideas.... Poetry is not the thing said but the way of saying it... Meaning is of the intellect, poetry is not.... the intellect is not the fount of poetry....; it may actually hinder its production... and .... it cannot even be trusted to recognize poetry when produced..... Poetry indeed seems to me more physical than intellectual.... I think that the production of poetry, in its first stage, is less an active than a passive and involuntary process; and if I were obliged, not to define poetry, but to name the class of things to which it belongs, I should call it a secretion.