The English poet Christopher Smart was confined to mental asylums
from 1757 until 1763. Smart was admitted into St Luke's Hospital for
Lunatics on 6 May 1757. While in St Luke's he wrote Jubilate Agno and A
Song to David, the poems considered to be his greatest works. Although
many of his contemporaries agreed that Smart was "mad", accounts of his
condition and its ramifications varied, and some felt that he had been
committed unfairly. Smart was diagnosed as "incurable" while at St
Luke's, and when they ran out of funds for his care he was moved to Mr.
Potter's asylum. Smart's isolation led him to abandon the poetic genres
of the 18th century that had marked his earlier work, and to write
religious poetry. His asylum poetry reveals a desire for "unmediated
revelation", and it is possible that the self-evaluation found in his
poetry represents an expression of evangelical Christianity. Late
18th-century critics felt that Smart's madness justified them in
ignoring his A Song to David, but during the following century Robert
Browning and his contemporaries considered his condition to be the
source of his genius. It was not until the 20th century that critics
reconsidered Smart's case and began to see him as a revolutionary poet.
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Today's selected anniversaries:
Byzantine–Bulgarian Wars: Forces of the Byzantine Empire defeated
troops of the Bulgarian Empire at the Battle of Kleidion in the
Belasica Mountains near present-day Klyuch, Bulgaria.
Nine Years' War: France won a pyrrhic victory over the Allied forces of
William III of England at the Battle of Landen in present-day
The Arc de Triomphe in Paris, commemorating those who fought and died
for France in the French Revolutionary and the Napoleonic Wars, was
Vietnam War: During preparation for another strike in the Gulf of
Tonkin, the aircraft carrier USS Forrestal was hit by a series of
chain-reaction explosions caused by an unusual electrical anomaly on
its flight deck, killing 134 sailors and injuring 161 others.
Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and Sri Lankan President J.R.
Jayewardene signed the Indo-Sri Lanka Accord in an ultimately
unsuccessful attempt to resolve the ongoing Sri Lankan Civil War.
Wiktionary's word of the day:
In a way that cannot be denied or gainsaid
Wikiquote quote of the day:
Now I understand what you tried to say to me
How you suffered for your sanity
How you tried to set them free —
They would not listen
They did not know how,
Perhaps they'll listen now.
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