Has literature a function in the state? …. It has. And the function is not the coercing or emotionally persuading or bullying or suppressing people into the acceptance of any one set or any six set of opinions as opposed to another set or half-dozen set of opinions.
It has to do with the clarity and vigour of ” any and every” thought and opinion. It has to with maintaining the very cleanliness of the tools, the health of the very matter of thought itself. Save in the rare and limited instances of inventions in the plastic arts, or in mathematics, the individual cannot think and and communicate his thoughts, the legislator cannot act effectively or frame his laws without words, and the solidity and validity of these words is in the care of the damned and despised literati. When their work goes rotten -by that I do not mean when they express indecorous thoughts- but when their very medium, the very essence of their work, the application of word to thing goes rotten ie. becomes slushy and inexact, or excessive or bloated, the whole machinery of social and individual thought and order goes to pot. This is a lesson of history , and a lesson not yet half learnedEzra Pound