Study Guide

The Mind Is an Enchanting Thing Art and Culture

By Marianne Moore

Art and Culture

Like Gieseking playing Scarlatti; (6)

These two are kind of a big deal. At least, in the classical music world they are. Moore is establishing the connection here between the powers of the mind and art.

is like the dove-
neck animated by
sun; (21-23)

This a more abstract look at art in the poem. The dove's neck comes alive in the sun, which is what art aims to do—illuminate the beauty in the small things in life that we might otherwise miss.

[...] in the
inconsistencies
of Scarlatti. (31-33)

Scarlatti is back in these lines and being praised for his inconsistencies. Inconsistencies are what make art beautiful, and the mind is responsible for them.

Not a Herod's oath that cannot change. (36)

Herod is an ancient historical figure. If that isn't a cultural reference, we don't know what is. And yet it's worth noting that Herod isn't exactly getting mad props here. So why mention him, if she just wants to poke fun?

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