Literary Studies

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The form, lineation, and prosody of postmodern poems are extravagantly artistic, imbuing either shape and content material with that means. via a survey of yank poetry and poetics from the top of global battle II to the current, Michael Golston strains the proliferation of those experiments to a starting to be fascination with allegory in philosophy, linguistics, severe concept, and aesthetics, introducing new ideas for examining American poetry whereas embedding its formal strategies in the background of highbrow thought.

Beginning with Walter Benjamin's specific realizing of Surrealism as an allegorical artwork, Golston defines a unique engagement with allegory between philosophers, theorists, and critics from 1950 to this present day. interpreting Fredric Jameson, Angus Fletcher, Roland Barthes, and Craig Owens, and dealing with the semiotics of Charles Sanders Pierce, Golston develops a idea of allegory he then applies to the poems of Louis Zukofsky and Lorine Niedecker, who, he argues, wrote in accordance with the Surrealists; the poems of John Ashbery and Clark Coolidge, who included formal points of filmmaking and images into their paintings; the groundbreaking configurations of P. Inman, Lyn Hejinian, Myung Mi Kim, and the Language poets; Susan Howe's "Pierce-Arrow," which he submits to semiotic research; and the thoughts of Craig Dworkin and the conceptualists. Revitalizing what many deliberate to be a staid rhetorical trope, Golston positions allegory as an inventive catalyst at the back of American poetry's postwar avant-garde achievements.

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As both a mimesis according to the analogy of services, allegory makes a 3rd homologue to the pair structuralism/surrealism and is not anything if now not an job of dissection and recomposition. the concept the dual nativities of structuralism and surrealism within the Twenties have been in detail certain up with a resurgent “activity” of allegory may be derived from the works of Walter Benjamin, yet even prior to his works have been made generally to be had (especially within the English-speaking world33), the structural hyperlinks among surrealism and allegory have been discerned: forthcoming the problem from a completely various philosophical orientation than Benjamin, Angus Fletcher ends his Allegory: the speculation of a Symbolic Mode (1964) with a bit entitled “Surrealism in previous and New Allegories. ” The surrealist mode, he argues in a key passage, is essentially allegorical in its proclivity for keeping apart and fragmenting items and pictures after which filing them to what he calls a “curiously inwrought” texture marked by way of “an idealizing consistency of thematic content material [in which] the kin among principles are lower than powerful logical keep watch over” (105). Fletcher is going as far as to claim that between “the necessities of the allegorical photograph” is the injunction that “it should still let an emphasis at the visible modality, spe- in troduction cifically on visible or symbolic ‘isolation,’ to not say Surrealism” (109); surrealism, he says, is marked by means of “unexpected even surprising collocations of heterogeneous gadgets. . . . certainly, discontinuity and unnatural groupings appear to signify surreal artwork” (379). 34 even though Fletcher’s e-book is way extra encyclopedic than I allow on the following, I desire to concentrate on the first and preliminary evidence of surrealist isolation and recombination as a first step in a operating thought of allegory. In a footnote, Fletcher charges Paul Nougé’s description of surrealist strategy: the tactic itself is composed in setting apart the thing by means of breaking off its ties with the remainder of the area in a roughly brutal or in a roughly insidious demeanour. We might bring to an end a hand and position it at the desk, or we might paint a dead ringer for a cut-off hand at the wall. We may perhaps isolate by utilizing a body or through the use of a knife, yet much more via a deformation, or a modification, within the topic of an object—a girl with no head, a hand of glass. Or via a metamorphosis of scale—a lipstick the peak of a woodland. Or by way of a transformation of scenery—the Louis-Philippe desk on a field of ice, a statue in a ditch. (quoted in Fletcher 1964, a hundred) either the allegorist and the surrealist, then, commence by way of figuratively amputating or excising an item from its traditional or traditional context: even if this technique of dissection is not any doubt noticeable and easy adequate, Barthes’s moment “operation”—articulation or recomposition—is extra complex. as soon as the surrealist-allegorist isolates an item, he renders it unusual by way of introducing it right into a strategy of mixture: he both juxtaposes it with different, assorted gadgets or areas it in an atmosphere with which it's not frequently or logically linked or distorts it in scale, measurement, or form.

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