By Margueritte S. Murphy
From its inception in nineteenth-century France, the prose poem has embraced a cultured of concern and innovation instead of culture and conference. during this suggestive learn, Margueritte S. Murphy either explores the heritage of this style in Anglo-American literature and gives a version for studying the prose poem, regardless of language or nationwide literature. Murphy argues that the prose poem is an inherently subversive style, one who needs to forever undermine prosaic conventions so as to validate itself as authentically "other". while, each one prose poem needs to to a point recommend a standard prose style with a view to subvert it effectively. The prose poem is hence of unique curiosity as a style within which the conventional and the hot are introduced necessarily and consistently into clash.
Beginning with a dialogue of the French prose poem and its adoption in England by means of the Decadents, Murphy examines the results of this organization on later poets resembling T.S. Eliot. She additionally explores the conception 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 e-book is dedicated to insightful readings of William Carlos Williams's Kora in Hell, Gertrude Stein's gentle Buttons, and John Ashbery's 3 Poems. As striking examples of the yank prose poem, those works display the variety of this genre's radical and experimental chances.
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Extra info for A tradition of subversion: the prose poem in English from Wilde to Ashbery
Furthermore, for the reader that knows Les Fleurs du mal and Petits poémes en prose of Baudelaire, "The Stairway" holds implicit allusions to those texts. If the "selection of an intertext as a formal model" is indeed a constitutive feature of the prose poem, as Michael Riffaterre maintains, 28 then this prose poem not only demands a reading that interprets each feature in its descriptions symbolically, but also prominent among the multiple readings is one that reflects on the text as a prose poem in the Baudelairean tradition and comments on its strength as such.
Il marmotta des oraisons tant que dura la nuit, sans décroiser un moment ses bras de son camail de soie violette, sans obliquer un regard vers moi, sa postérité, qui étais couché dan son lit, son poudreux lit à baldaquin! 20 Merrill's translation: The venerable personages of the Gothic tapestry, moved by the wind, bowed to one another, and my great-grandfather entered the chambermy great-grandfather dead wellnigh eighty years ago. Thereit was there before that prie-Dieu that he knelt, my great-grandfather the counsellor, pressing to his beard that yellow missal, opened at the place marked by the ribbon.
Especially in the wake of Baudelaire, the prose poem may be the vehicle for irony, ending with a black, subversive twist. Page 18 Another Baudelairean strain is that of escape, flight; many pieces end either with the desire to flee the composed scene or despair at the impossibility of such escape. The often mythical, legendary, or dreamlike settings are another manifestation of the desire to go beyond. Many of the poems evoke foreign lands (the Orient, Italy, Spain, Holland) or past eras (the middle ages, the ancien régime, or eras beyond historylegendary, mythic ages).