By Julian Spalding
Our international view has replaced from a flat earth less than the dome of heaven to a planet spinning within the universe. We perceived the area as a physique, like ours, then as a tree, a pyramid, an altar, and at last as a veil which turned a window by which we peered purely to find ourselves on a sphere, a bubble which would burst at any second. Our altering perspectives are interpreted via iconic photos of the distant and newer prior: the Venus of Willendorf, the Pyramids, Stonehenge, the Taj Mahal, the Scream, Sydney Opera residence, and the Guggenheim, Bilbao.
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Additional info for Realisation—From Seeing to Understanding: The Origins of Art
Brewster became the editor of the Edinburgh Magazine, a periodical devoted to science and literature, from 1801, and took up residence in the city a year or so after Hogg moved there in 1810. By the 1820s, Hogg was in the habit of calling at Brewster’s home in the Borders, Allerly, just outside Melrose, when he went to sell his sheep at Melrose fair. 4 His conversations with Brewster himself may have been inﬂuential on Hogg’s thinking too. It is possible that Hogg had heard about the kaleidoscope that Brewster demonstrated to the Royal Society the year before he composed The Poetic Mirror.
Notwithstanding the bold formal experiments of many Romantic poets and the proliferation of genre-mixing across a host of other literary forms in the period, there were still deeply élitist prejudices about what could be considered ‘high’ art in the public sphere, as reﬂected in critical reviews and sales. Many of Hogg’s works deliberately resist neat categorisation into ‘high’ or ‘low’ forms. Throughout his career, he was attracted to popular and inclusive models of literature which could accommodate stylistic diversity, as well as admiring the work of writers who belonged to a polite and rareﬁed pantheon.
In reaching for immortality, he brings about his own death, but it transpires that the Wordsworthian trope of the solitary traveller is only a vehicle for the poet’s solipsistic interest in himself. After pursuing at length the fears of the young boy who is left holding the man’s horse and the imaginary projections which lead the horse to escape, the poetic speaker, ‘Wordsworth’, relates his own arrival at the scene some months later, in the company of several poets: Hogg (the ‘bard obscure | From Scotland’s barren wastes’), Southey (‘The changeful and right feeble bard now stiled | The Laureate’) and Wilson, here introduced as an unworthy Lake poet (‘he too of the Palmy Isle, | .