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Cambridge students rated famous poets lower than the unknown ones in a blind test

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posted on Apr, 23 2017 @ 03:04 PM
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In 1920s I.A. Richards, a lecturer in English and Moral Sciences at Cambridge, did a striking experiment. He gave his students, most of which were English majors with a view to an Honours Degree, a set of poems and asked to judge their worth. The trick was that he withdrew the names of the poets. Richards published the shameful results of his study in the 1929 book Practical Criticism.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow got only a 5% approval rating. Overall the more famous was the poet the lower rating he got. Mathematically speaking the correlation coefficient between fame and rating was negative: -0.6.

ecclesiastes911.net...




posted on Apr, 23 2017 @ 03:30 PM
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I took a look, and that answered my question.

He was mixing poets of differing styles of poetry from different eras all together.That's going to make a big difference. If you want an honest appraisal of poet's relative worth, you would rate someone like Donne with another metaphysical poet whom no one has ever heard of, and you would pick one of Donne's more obscure works.

You would not ask them to rate Donne against Millay who wrote her work in 1923 and would have used a different style of writing and approach to the use of language or Longfellow who was from the 1800s and had again yet a different approach than the other two.



posted on Apr, 23 2017 @ 03:37 PM
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People today rate the value of something someone says on their reputation. If you were to only look at the words instead of a person's credentials, it would be a better world.

I never believed that Longfellow was a great poet, I did like a few of his works though. But we were taught in school that his poetry was the best. If we are conditioned to believe in something than it is real to us.

It is the same way with paintings, the Rich people who bought the paintings wanted their investment to grow so they made a reality with their influence and their paintings became valuable. We have a lot of paintings hanging on the wall, made by local artists that had talent. We got a half a dozen of them from spring cleanup, people tossed them out because they were tired of them. They are actually quite good. And Free and Still probably worthless. But they hang on our walls along with a lot of rummage sale oil paintings that we bought cheap.



posted on Apr, 23 2017 @ 03:41 PM
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a reply to: rickymouse

Even so, it's better to rate famous ones against their contemporaries. Who else was writing when Longfellow was writing? They would have similar language usage and would be a better match.



posted on Apr, 23 2017 @ 03:44 PM
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a reply to: vernichter
Another factor is that a blind test necessarily requires the use of unfamiliar poems. If one of the poems of a great poet is unfamiliar, it is likely to have been one of his less effective efforts. Even Homer nods.
In addition, perhaps for the same reason, his choices were not taken from any of the really great poets.
Where's Milton? Wordsworth? Edward Lear?



posted on Apr, 23 2017 @ 03:54 PM
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originally posted by: ketsuko
a reply to: rickymouse

Even so, it's better to rate famous ones against their contemporaries. Who else was writing when Longfellow was writing? They would have similar language usage and would be a better match.


Evidently you were conditioned well.

They tell us in school who is good and that forms consensus. If everyone believes it, it will be true. Like I said, I liked a few of Longfellows writings, but most of them I didn't. Of course, when others asked me, I parrotted that they were good. Just like the scratching of fingernails on the chalkboard, I covered my ears like the other kids, but the sound really did not bother me.



posted on Apr, 23 2017 @ 04:04 PM
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The "Classics" are no longer uppermost, just the internet. Theres enough menial BS there to last a dozen lifetimes.



posted on Apr, 23 2017 @ 04:25 PM
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a reply to: rickymouse

Huh?

I didn't like Longfellow all that much either or Donne, but people spoke differently during Donne's time and Longfellow's time and Millay's time. Vocabularies differed; preferred poetic forms differed. And our modern tastes and vocabularies differ yet again, so a more honest comparison is to compare the so-called master with a contemporary who is less well known. That way, we are comparing like with like.

The best way to tell just exactly how good or not any of these poets really would be would be to anonymously match them against other poets who were also writing at that time - their contemporaries. It isn't that I necessarily think that would make them show better or worse, only that I think the test would be more accurate to what the professor's point is. The best pair for this type of comparison is Pellow and Lawrence who actually were both contemporaries, both Georgian poets and both published their pieces with a year of each other.



posted on Apr, 23 2017 @ 04:47 PM
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originally posted by: rickymouse
Evidently you were conditioned well.

That's how he was ecclesiastes911.net...



posted on Apr, 23 2017 @ 07:13 PM
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originally posted by: vernichter

originally posted by: rickymouse
Evidently you were conditioned well.

That's how he was ecclesiastes911.net...


Good link.

It reminds me of the people rating movies. If the movie critics said it was bad, I would go because it was probably good. The ones they said were really good were usually boring as hell.

Here is something that has always concerned me. If the vast majority of people really did not like fruitcake, how come everyone was giving fruitcakes out at Christmas time? How come everyone said they liked fruitcake yet they never ate it. They served it to us little kids, we said we liked it but we really didn't. There has to be a conspiracy behind that somewhere.



posted on Apr, 23 2017 @ 09:09 PM
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originally posted by: DISRAELI
Another factor is that a blind test necessarily requires the use of unfamiliar poems. If one of the poems of a great poet is unfamiliar, it is likely to have been one of his less effective efforts.

But this is written in the article


One can object that the poems used by Richards do not represent the poets. If he used the most famous poems of the famous poets the students would recognize them and would know the author. Since the aim of the study was to get blind ratings, Richards must have avoided the most famous poems. However at the very least the results of the study show that some of the poems of unknown poets are much higher rated than some of the poems of famous poets.

Similar to great scientists who do not read the papers they cite members of this forum do not read linked articles before posting into the thread.

This study shows that famous books of famous writers receive same ratings as the books by unknown authors: www.goodreads.com...



posted on Apr, 23 2017 @ 10:48 PM
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a reply to: rickymouse

Hmmm, I actually *do* like fruitcake and bake it every year, but I use the old family recipe.



posted on Apr, 23 2017 @ 10:51 PM
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I'm not a big fan of poetry, but Edgar Allen Poe, this guy was beyond amazing. He;s probably too dark for today's snowflakes though.



posted on Apr, 23 2017 @ 11:14 PM
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originally posted by: ketsuko
a reply to: rickymouse

Hmmm, I actually *do* like fruitcake and bake it every year, but I use the old family recipe.


Oh my god. Fruitcake lovers do exist.


I sound like an M&M commercial around Christmas.
edit on 23-4-2017 by rickymouse because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 24 2017 @ 11:28 AM
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originally posted by: rickymouse
People today rate the value of something someone says on their reputation.

Why just today? See www.abovetopsecret.com...



posted on Apr, 24 2017 @ 01:21 PM
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originally posted by: vernichter

originally posted by: rickymouse
People today rate the value of something someone says on their reputation.

Why just today? See www.abovetopsecret.com...


Yeah, that concept goes way back. The conditioning is not new.

Another thing, people will try to influence consensus of the time and the concept of this practice goes way farther than art. It is ingrained into our society. They form new styles so they can sell more clothes, promoters will make clothes to cloth influential people and this increases the desire for the style when people see it on TV. I suppose clothes styles is an art though. But Refrigerators and stoves and countertops in the kitchen? I suppose they are art too.

We are parrots. We repeat things without seeing if they are true or relevant. We are Marks to those who want to profit from us. I was once that way, but not nearly as bad as some people were. But I cannot justify my past behavior by pointing a finger at someone who I deemed worse either.



posted on Apr, 24 2017 @ 02:40 PM
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originally posted by: rickymouse
Here is something that has always concerned me. If the vast majority of people really did not like fruitcake, how come everyone was giving fruitcakes out at Christmas time? How come everyone said they liked fruitcake yet they never ate it. They served it to us little kids, we said we liked it but we really didn't. There has to be a conspiracy behind that somewhere.

There was an experiment where French wines lost to California ones .

One might do something similar with cakes.



posted on Apr, 25 2017 @ 12:58 PM
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a reply to: TruMcCarthy

Could you tell him from Riley?



posted on Apr, 27 2017 @ 03:22 PM
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originally posted by: ketsuko
Hmmm, I actually *do* like fruitcake and bake it every year, but I use the old family recipe.

I do believe it. I am even sure you can tell it from crap.

However you can't tell famous poetry from ridiculous parodies. That's why I doubt you really like it.

But fruitcake - of course!



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