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The Passion of Finitude and Poetic Creation: On Pedro Salinas’s El Contemplado

  • Jorge García-Gómez
Chapter
Part of the Analecta Husserliana book series (ANHU, volume 28)

Abstract

In his Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle speaks of moral virtue as a way of being “concerned with actions and passions, and ... [thereby with] pleasures and pains”.1 As will become apparent, moral virtue essentially involves knowledge, and yet it is only a manner sui generis of having knowledge, for “as a condition of the possession of the virtues knowledge has little or no weight ...”.2 The important question would then be this: in what fashion is the irrational element,3 i.e., the passions and the attendant pleasures and pains,4 to be connected to a rational principle, if indeed a man is to be considered virtuous in his living?

Keywords

Good Life Practical Wisdom Moral Virtue Nicomachean Ethic Rational Principle 
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Notes

  1. 1.
    Aristotle Nicomachean Ethics, trans. D. Ross (London: Oxford University Press, 1963), II, iii, 3, 1104b 14–6. Cf. II, vi, 10–11, 1106b 17–8.1 will henceforth refer to this work as EN.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    ENII, iv, 3,1105a 32–5.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    ENI, xiii, 15,17; 1102b 15; 1102b 30.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    EN II, iii, 1,1104b 9–10; v, 2,1105b 20–4.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    EN II, v, 6, 1106a 13–4.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    EN H, vi, 11, 1106b 21–4. Aristotle says as well that the moral virtues also involve a similar relation to actions. (Cf. EN I, xiii, 17, 1102b 30). And this is as it should be, for we must perform actions not only to carry out our desires but also to deal with the passions at their root and the attendant pleasures and pains virtuously, i.e., in the manner specified above.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Cf. Plato, Republic, 349b-50c.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    ENVI, i, 1,1138b 20–5; 3,1138b 33–4.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Cf.ENI, xiii,17, 1102b 30.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    EN II, vi, 15,1006b 36–1107a 2.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    ENVII, i, 5,1139a 6–9.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
  13. 13.
    ENVI, i, 6, 1139a 12–5. We must include here not only the universal and necessary, but as well that which is impossible not in principle but quo ad nos. Cf. ENVI, v, 3, 1139a 25–9.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    ENVI, ii, 2, 1139a 23–8.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    ENVI, ii, 3, 1139a 28–32.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    ENVI, ii, 6, 1139b 12–3.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    ENVI, ii, 5,1139b 5–7.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    ENVI, xiii, 1, 1144b 4 ff.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
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  20. 20.
    ENVI, v, 3, 1139b 34–6.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    ENVI, v, 3, 1140b 3–4.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    ENVI, v, 6, 1140b 20–2.Google Scholar
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    ENVI, v, 1, 1139a 25–9.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    ENVI, v, 6, 1140b 16–8.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Cf. Plato, Symposium, 205–6.Google Scholar
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    ENVI, v, 8,1140b 28–30.Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    ENVI, v, 4,1140b 7–8.Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Cf. Jacques Maritain, L’intuition créatrice dans l’art et dans la poésie in Oeuvres Complètes de Jacques et Raïssa Maritain (Fribourg: Editions Universitaires, 1985), X, pp.164f.Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    ENI, xiii, 20, 1103a 5f.Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    ENVI, xii, 8, 1144a 23–7.Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    ENVI, xii, 10, 1144a 29–30.Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    ENVI, xii, 10, 1144a 30–6.Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    ENVI, xii, 6,1144a 6–9.Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    EN II, vi, 15,1006b 36–1107a 2; VI, xiii, 4,1144b 24.Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    ENVI, i, 1,1138b 20–5.Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    ENVI, xii, 6,1144a 6–9. Cf. VI, xiii, 7, 1145a 4–5.Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    ENVI, xiii, 5, 1144b 26–8. Cf. The Nicomachean Ethics, trans. H. Rackham (Cambridge, Mass.: The Loeb Classical Library, Harvard University Press, 1975), p. 370, n.d.: “prudence is the knowledge of the right principle, the presence of orthos logos in the psyché of the phrónimos”.Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    ENV, v, 6, 1140b 18–20.Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    ENVI, v, 1,1139a 25–9.Google Scholar
  40. 40.
    Cf. Jacques Maritain, Neuf leçons sur les notions premières de la philosophie morale in Oeuvres (1940–1963), ed. H. Bars (Paris: Desclée de Brouwer, 1978), pp. 503 ff.Google Scholar
  41. 41.
    H. H. Joachim, [A Commentary on Aristotles] The Nicomachean Ethics, ed. DA. Rees (London: Oxford at the Clarendon Press, 1966), p. 218.Google Scholar
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    H. H. Joachim, [A Commentary on Aristotles] The Nicomachean Ethics, ed. DA. Rees (London: Oxford at the Clarendon Press, 1966), p. 218.Google Scholar
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    ENVI, v, 3,1140b 4. Cf. Aristotle, Metaphysics 1050a.Google Scholar
  44. 44.
    Cf. EN IV, viii, 1128a1 ff.Google Scholar
  45. 45.
    Cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, In decern libros Ethicorum Aristotelis ad Nicomachum, Lib. IV, Lect. 16, as quoted by Hugo Rahner, “Eutrapelia: A Forgottenvirtue”, Man at Play, trans. B. Battershaw and E. Quinn (New York: Herder and Herder, 1967), p. 99.Google Scholar
  46. 46.
    H. Rahner, op. cit., p. 100.Google Scholar
  47. 47.
    Pedro Salinas, El Contemplado in Poesías Completas, 2nd. ed. (Barcelona: Barrai Editores, 1975), pp. 605 ff.Google Scholar
  48. 48.
    Concha Zardoya, Poesía española del siglo XX (Madrid: Gredos, 1974), II, p. 143.Google Scholar
  49. 49.
    Jorge Guillen, “Prólogo” in Pedro Salinas, Poesías Completas, p. 23.Google Scholar
  50. 50.
    Jorge Guillen, “Prólogo” in Pedro Salinas, Poesías Completas, p. 6.Google Scholar
  51. 51.
    Jorge Guillen, “Prólogo” in Pedro Salinas, Poesías Completas, p.1.Google Scholar
  52. 52.
    Gustavo Correa, “El Contemplado” in Pedro Salinas, ed. A. P. Debicki (Madrid: Taurus, 1976), p. 144.Google Scholar
  53. 53.
    Republic 507e.Google Scholar
  54. 54.
    As quoted in J. Guillen, loc. cit., p. 12.Google Scholar
  55. 55.
    Ibid., p. 22.Google Scholar
  56. 57.
    C. Zardoya, op.cit., p. 143.Google Scholar
  57. 58.
    Cf. Pedro Salinas, La realidad y el poeta (Barcelona: Ariel, 1976), p. 186;Google Scholar
  58. 58a.
    Cf. Pedro Salinas, Jorge Manrique o tradición y originalidad (Barcelona: Seix Barrai, 1974), pp. 201–2, 203, 205.Google Scholar
  59. 59.
    Cf. Jorge García-Gómez, “Aproximaciones a la Poesía”, Islas (Universidad Central de las Villas, Cuba), II, 2–3 (January-August, 1960), pp. 644–5.Google Scholar
  60. 60.
    G. Correa, loc. cit., p. 146.Google Scholar
  61. 61.
    Cf. José Ortega y Gasset, Meditaciones del Quijote, with a “Commentary” by Julián Marias (Madrid: Revista de Occidente, 1957), pp. 14–5 (“Commentary”, p. 224).Google Scholar
  62. 62.
    Cf. José Ortega y Gasset, Meditaciones del Quijote, with a “Commentary” by Julián Marias (Madrid: Revista de Occidente, 1957), p. 14.Google Scholar
  63. 63.
    Cf. Ibid., pp. 15, 17–8 (“Commentary”, pp. 225–6).Google Scholar
  64. 64.
    Cf. Ibid., pp. 110–2 (“Commentary”, pp. 332–4; 337–8, and 339–40).Google Scholar
  65. 65.
    Cf. Parmenides, fragment 3. In the passage just quoted, Salinas gives expression to this sameness (which is not identity, but mutuality in distinction) when he says “as white as bounteous foam”.Google Scholar
  66. 66.
    Cf. Aristotle, Metaphysics, 1050a.Google Scholar
  67. 67.
    Cf. Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer, Rimas, ed. J. Luis Cano (Salamanca: Anaya, 1965), liii, p. 72.Google Scholar
  68. 68.
    Rainer Maria Rilke, “Wendung”, Sämtliche Werke (Wiesbaden, 1955), I, pp. 505 ff. as quoted by Erich Heller, The Artist’s Journey into the Interior and Other Essays (New York: Random House, 1965), p. 155.Google Scholar
  69. 69.
    E. Heller, op. cit., p. 156.Google Scholar
  70. 70.
    E. Heller, op. cit., p. 157. For a brilliant demonstration of this, see Ibid., pp. 156–70.Google Scholar
  71. 71.
    For example in “Der Panther”, Neue Gedichte. Erster Teil in R. M. Rilke, Gesammelte Werke (Leipzig: Insel-Verlag, 1927), III, p. 44. Cf. E. Heller, op.cit., p. 154.Google Scholar
  72. 72.
    E. Heller, op.cit., p. 154.Google Scholar
  73. 73.
    This may perhaps be illustrated, at least in part, by Hölderlin’s great poems “Brod und Wein” and “Der Rhein”, to the extent and only to the extent that man is worked out as part of a social and natural world in the total universe. Cf. Friedrich Hölderlin, Poems and Fragments, trans. M. Hamburger (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1980), pp. 243 ff. and 409 ff.Google Scholar
  74. 74.
    Cf. P. Salinas, La realidad y el poeta, pp. 39 and 163.Google Scholar
  75. 75.
    Ibid., p. 16.Google Scholar
  76. 76.
    Ibid., p. 17.Google Scholar
  77. 77.
    Ibid., pp.17–9.Google Scholar
  78. 78.
    Ibid., pp. 19–21.Google Scholar
  79. 79.
    Cf. F. Hölderlin, “Wie wenn am Feiertage...”, Poems and Fragments, pp. 375 and 377.Google Scholar
  80. 80.
    Cf. P. Salinas, La realidad y el poeta, pp. 22–5. Vide “Poesía y voz”, ibid, pp. 189 ff. and La bomba increíble in P. Salinas, Narrativa Completa (Barcelona: Barrai, 1976), pp. 261 ff.Google Scholar
  81. 81.
    Cf. P. Salinas, La realidad y el poeta, pp. 26–8.Google Scholar
  82. 82.
    Ibid., pp. 30–2.Google Scholar
  83. 83.
    Ibid., p. 39.Google Scholar
  84. 84.
    Ibid., p.40.Google Scholar
  85. 85.
    Ibid., p.42.Google Scholar
  86. 86.
  87. 87.
    Pedro Salinas, “Poética” in Poesía española contemporánea, ed. G. Diego, 3rd. ed. (Madrid: Taurus, 1966), p. 303.Google Scholar
  88. 88.
  89. 89.
    P. Salinas, La realidad y el poeta, p. 42.Google Scholar
  90. 90.
    For the opposite view, cf. Concha Zardoya, Poesía española del siglo XX, II, p. 106.Google Scholar
  91. 91.
    Cf. P. Salinas, La realidad y el poeta, pp. 42 and 73.Google Scholar
  92. 92.
    Ibid., pp. 56–7 and 64.Google Scholar
  93. 93.
    Ibid., p. 64.Google Scholar
  94. 94.
  95. 95.
    Cf. supra, p. 219.Google Scholar
  96. 96.
    Cf. P. Salinas, La realidad y el poeta, p. 46.Google Scholar
  97. 97.
    Ibid., p.47.Google Scholar
  98. 98.
    Ibid., p.74.Google Scholar
  99. 99.
    Ibid., pp. 108–9.Google Scholar
  100. 100.
    Ibid., pp. 120–1.Google Scholar
  101. 101.
    Garcilaso de la Vega, Obras Completas, ed. E.L. Rivers (Madrid: Editorial Castalia, 1964), p. 7.Google Scholar
  102. 102.
    Cf. P. Salinas, La realidad y el poeta, pp. 112 and 121.Google Scholar
  103. 103.
    Ibid., p. 135.Google Scholar
  104. 104.
    Ibid., p. 140.Google Scholar
  105. 105.
    Ibid., p. 148.Google Scholar
  106. 106.
    Ibid., p. 149.Google Scholar
  107. 107.
    Ibid., p. 163.Google Scholar
  108. 108.
  109. 109.
    Ibid., p. 164.Google Scholar
  110. 110.
  111. 111.
  112. 112.
    Ibid., p. 165. Cf. Luis de Góngora, Soledades, ed. D. Alonso (Madrid: Alianza Editorial, 1982), i, 15 ff, pp. 39–40.Google Scholar
  113. 113.
    Cf. P. Salinas, La realidad y el poeta, pp. 167–8.Google Scholar
  114. 114.
    Ibid., p. 168. Cf. Octavio Paz, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, o las trampas de la fe, 2nd ed. (Barcelona: Seix Barrel, 1988), p. 470.Google Scholar
  115. 115.
    P. Salinas, La realidad y el poeta, p. 170.Google Scholar
  116. 116.
    Ibid., p. 181.Google Scholar
  117. 117.
    Ibid., p. 182.Google Scholar
  118. 118.
    Ibid., p. 119.Google Scholar
  119. 119.
    Ibid., p.171.Google Scholar
  120. 120.
    Ibid., p.174.Google Scholar
  121. 121.
    Ibid., p.l82.Google Scholar
  122. 122.
    Ibid., p. 179.Google Scholar
  123. 123.
    Although this attitude does not form part of Salinas’s own list, I do not hesitate to include it here, since it completes Salinas’s schedule without contradiction and is in fact employed by him as the basic instrument for his analysis of J. Guillen’s Cántico, which appears as an appendix to La realidad y el poeta.Google Scholar
  124. 124.
    Cf. P. Salinas, La realidad y el poeta, p. 206.Google Scholar
  125. 125.
    Ibid., pp. 206–7.Google Scholar
  126. 126.
    Ibid., p. 207. Cf. Alexander G. Baumgarten, Theoretische Aesthetik (Hamburg: Felix Meiner Verlag, Philosophisches Bibliothek, 1983), “Prolegomena”, I, §14: “Aesthetices finis est perfectio cognitionis sensitivae, qua talis,... haec autem est pulchritudo, et cavenda eiusdem, qua talis, imperfectio, haec autem est deformitas...”Google Scholar
  127. 127.
    Cf. I. Kant, Critique of Pure Reason, B 38.Google Scholar
  128. 128.
    Ibid., B40;A 84 ff.Google Scholar
  129. 129.
    We can express this equivalently by using the following confirming words of another poet, engaged with a different subject: “His self and the sun were one/And his poems, although makings of his self,/Were no less makings of the sun”. Wallace Stevens, “The Planet on the Table”, The Rock in The Collected Poems (New York: A.A. Knopf, 1982), p. 532.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jorge García-Gómez
    • 1
  1. 1.Long Island UniversityUSA

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