“Poetry, Metaphysics, and the Spirit of Zen” By Harold McCarthy Book Review

The essay titled ‘Poetry, Metaphysics, and the Spirit of Zen’ written by Harold McCarthy deals with a broad observation and a detailed examination of poetry and metaphysics provided by Zen – one of the most important schools of Chinese and East Asian Buddhism that is heavily influenced by Taoism and is considered to be a dominant monastic form of Buddhism in China, Vietnam and Korea. In addition, the author will pay specific attention to the point of view of Wolfgang Goethe, particularly concerning his well-known drama ‘Faust.’

Thus, in his essay McCarthy points out that Goethe is one of the most famous Western poets, who is fully devoted to the teachings of Zen as one of the most fundamental spirits. Indeed, the author greatly focuses on comparative philosophy throughout the entire paper. The Spirit of Zen is described as a distant star that can be noticed only when people do not look straight at it. In fact, McCarthy explains and interprets ‘Faust’ by utilizing the spirit of Zen, and thus brings out quite clearly and understandably the poetic structure and spirit presented in the drama. There is no doubt that Zen is everything and everywhere that is related to life itself: it goes into the make-up of human life (morality, poetry, etc.).

Hence, taking the above-mentioned information into account, it is possible to draw a conclusion that Harold McCarthy’s ideas presented in his essay are actually very strong and instructive since, according to the author, Zen is a universal concept that does not have any boundaries and knows no distinction of East and West. In fact, Zen contains everything that is associated with life: Zen is morality, spirituality, and poetry.

Works cited

McCarthy, Harold E. ‘Poetry, Metaphysics, and the Spirit of Zen.’ Philosophy East and West 1.1 (1951): 16-34.

The terms offer and acceptance. (2016, May 17). Retrieved from

[Accessed: January 20, 2022]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016.

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freeessays.club (2016) The terms offer and acceptance [Online].
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[Accessed: January 20, 2022]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: January 20, 2022]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: January 20, 2022]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: January 20, 2022]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: January 20, 2022]
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