NCERT Class 11 English Elective Patterns of Creativity

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Patterns of Creativity

But I must return to the question: why is there a difference in the patterns of creativity among the practitioners in the arts and the practitioners in the sciences? 1 shall not attempt to answer this question directly; but I shall make an assortment of remarks which may bear on the answer.

First, I should like to consider how scientists and poets view one another. When one thinks of the attitude of poets to science, one almost always thinks of Wordsworth and Keats and their off-quoted lines A fingering slave,

One that would peep and botanises Upon his mother’s grave? A reasoning self-suffering thing. An intellectual AlI-in-AIl! Sweet is the lore which Nature brings: Our meddling intellect Misshapes the beauteous forms of things: We murder to dissect. It would not seem to me that one can go very far in these matters by pointing accusing fingers at one another. So, let me only say that the attitudes of Wordsworth and Keats are by no means typical. A scientist should rather consider the attitude of Shelley. Shelley is a scientist’s poet. It is not an accident that the most discriminating literary criticism of Shelley’s thought and work is by a distinguished scientist, Desmond King-Hele. As King-Hele has pointed out, “Shelley’s attitude to science emphasises the surprising modern climate of thoughts in which he chose to live and Shelley describes the mechanisms of nature with a precision and a wealth of detail unparalleled in English poetry”. And here is A.N. Whitehead’s testimony Shelley’s attitude to Science was at the opposite pole to that of Wordsworth. He loved it, and is never tired of expressing in poetry the thoughts which it suggests. It symbolises to him joy, and peace, and illumination…


1. How does Shelley’s attitude to science differ from that of Wordsworth and Keats?

2. ‘It is not an accident that the most discriminating literary criticism of Shelley’s thought and work is by a distinguished scientist, Desmond King-Hele.’ How does this statement bring out the meeting point of poetry and science?

3. What do you infer from Darwin’s comment on his indifference to literature as he advanced in years?

4. How do the patterns of creativity displayed by scientists differ from those displayed by poets?

5. What is the central argument of the speaker?


Discuss in small groups

1. ‘Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world’.

2. Poetry and science are incompatible.

3. ‘On reading Shelley’s A Defence of Poetry, the question insistently occurs why there is no similar A Defence of Science written by a scientist of equal endowment.’

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