By Margueritte S. Murphy
From its inception in nineteenth-century France, the prose poem has embraced a classy of concern and innovation instead of culture and conference. during this suggestive examine, Margueritte S. Murphy either explores the background of this style in Anglo-American literature and offers a version for analyzing the prose poem, regardless of language or nationwide literature. Murphy argues that the prose poem is an inherently subversive style, one who needs to ceaselessly undermine prosaic conventions as a way to validate itself as authentically "other". whilst, every one prose poem needs to to a point recommend a standard prose style in an effort to subvert it effectively. The prose poem is hence of distinct curiosity as a style during which the conventional and the hot are introduced unavoidably and consistently into clash.
Beginning with a dialogue of the French prose poem and its adoption in England via the Decadents, Murphy examines the consequences of this organization on later poets comparable to T.S. Eliot. She additionally explores the notion of the prose poem as an androgynous style. Then, with a sensitivity to the sociopolitical nature of language, she attracts at the paintings of Mikhail Bakhtin to light up the ideology of the style and discover its subversive nature. the majority of the publication is dedicated to insightful readings of William Carlos Williams's Kora in Hell, Gertrude Stein's smooth Buttons, and John Ashbery's 3 Poems. As striking examples of the yank prose poem, those works show the diversity of this genre's radical and experimental probabilities.
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Extra info for A tradition of subversion: the prose poem in English from Wilde to Ashbery
Le bâton, c'est votre volonté, droite, ferme et inébranlable; les fleurs, c'est la promenade de votre fantaisie autour de votre volonté; c'est l'élément féminin exécutant autour de mâle ses prestigieuses pirouettes. Ligne droite et ligne arabesque, intention et expression, roideur de la volonté, sinuosité du verbe, unité du but, variété des moyens, amalgame tout-puissant et indivisible du génie, quel analyste aura le détestable courage de vous diviser et de vous séparer? 29 (Wouldn't you say that the curved line and the spiral court the straight line, and dance around it, in mute adoration?
Instead, illusion and ambiguity have the last word. Many other prose poems simply end with a question. The tenor of Stuart Merrill's translation also affects their overall tone and configuration. First of all, he is a careful translator, respecting the original vocabulary and sentence structure almost too closely. If we examine an excerpt from one of the first prose poems in the volume, Bertrand's "Mon bisaïeul" ("My Great-Grandfather"), we find nearly a word-by-word translation, evidence of Merrill's reluctance to alter these texts: Bertrand's original (the first three paragraphs): Les vénérables personnages de la tapisserie gothique, remuée par le vent, se saluèrent l'un l'autre, et mon bisaïeul entra dans la chambre,mon bisaïeul mort il y aura bientôt quatre-vingt ans!
As a consequence, Mallarmé's distinctive attenuation becomes yet more artificial and distortive of ordinary syntactic order in Merrill's English transcription, which lacks the fluidity of the original French. " This revival of the second person familiar is accompanied by other archaisms, such as "methinks'' and "of yore" in his translation of the opening of Mallarmé's "Frisson d'hiver": Page 21 Mallarmé's original: Cette pendule de Saxe, qui retarde et sonne treize heures parmi ses fleurs et ses dieux, à qui a-t-elle été?