A Human Eye: Essays on Art in Society, 1997-2008 by Adrienne Rich

By Adrienne Rich

Throughout greater than 3 a long time Adrienne Rich’s essays were praised for his or her lucidity, braveness, and diversity of issues. In A Human Eye, wealthy examines a various choice of writings and their position in earlier and current social issues and adjustments. past literary theories, she explores from many angles how the humanities of language have acted on and been formed through their creators’ worlds.

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We strained toward the future too impetuously and avidly to leave any past behind us. The connection of one period with another was broken.... We lost a sense of the present” (299). Note that Jakobson’s analysis here is cultural as well as literary. Mayakovsky’s poems are seen as cultural constructs, defining a particular moment—the decade after the 1917 Revolution, undone, in Jakobson’s analysis by byt, the routine of everyday life. His essay is a profound elegy for a generation of which he himself was a part.

But it’s also the case that I am a Modernist at heart. For example, I have little in common with most Americanists because I really don’t want to study eighteenth-and nineteenthcentury American literature, which is too didactic, too overtly moral for my taste. I’m being partly facetious here—of course I love Melville and Dickinson and Whitman—but I have a greater affinity to European modernism, whether German, French, or A Critic of the Other Tradition 31 Eastern European, than I do to American Studies.

Together with the collection Readings in Russian Poetics, edited by Ladislav Matejka 16 Poetics in a New Key and Krystyna Pomorska, published in 1972 but now available in a Dalkey Archive paperback edition with an excellent introduction by Gerald Bruns, the Russian Formalist critics gave me a handle on poetry more systematic and radical than that of Anglo-American criticism. This was the case although the examples Shklovsky himself gave in “Art as Technique” were not primarily from poetry but from fiction: the scene in War and Peace, for example, where the fourteen-year old Natasha is taken for the first time to the opera and tries to understand what’s going on.

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