American Writers, Volume III - download pdf or read online

By Leonard Unger

ISBN-10: 0684136759

ISBN-13: 9780684136752

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Example text

In any realistic analysis the question is unanswerable, though MacLeish was to continue asking it in later poems. " In spite of its Horatian title, which seems to imply simply a verse essay in legislative criticism, a poem about the art of poetry, its true workings are otherwise. It does not frame an address to poets generally, much less to their critics; it is no essay in criticism. Nor yet does it introspectively comment, like Eliot's poem "La Figlia che Piange," on the poet's relation to his own creative process.

Not only was he utterly different from nature, but it was also indifferent to him—though physically he remained within it. He had imagination; nature was all process. The "Gardener" of Nobodaddy is merely the principle of life viewed as sympathetic harmony. When this view disappears, and reason replaces it with the stark vision of process, the Gardener gives way to the enemy, the unsympathetic. Physical nature converted into the antagonist of man's will is a desert, a region which will not behave as man desires.

Here the Adonis myth becomes the vehicle for a realization of the inextricability of life and death. " In Hamlet "carrion" is the prince's coarse designation for Ophelia: evidently the woman in The Pot of Earth has a sacrificial role like that to which the Ophelia personage is doomed in The Waste Land. But she has been sacrificed by the indifference of nature, not the brutality of man. The 1925 text of The Pot of Earth, several pages longer than the text printed in Poems, 1924-1933 (1933) and thereafter, adopts the Waste Land technique of making the past and present interpenetrate, so that the modern woman's life cycle is depicted in timeless fusion with that of a primitive world: its incidents are abruptly juxtaposed to details from the Adonis ritual.

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American Writers, Volume III by Leonard Unger

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