American Writers, Volume III - download pdf or read online

By Leonard Unger

ISBN-10: 0684136759

ISBN-13: 9780684136752

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Thinks of himself as an exile from all this, As an emigr6 from his own time into history (History being an empty house without owners A practical man may get in by the privy stones . ) A final poem, "Background with Revolutionaries," makes a point with regard to the controversy (current at the time MacLeish was writing but now almost forgotten) surrounding the Diego Rivera murals for Radio City in New York. Rivera had depicted Lenin among his inspirational figures; Nelson Rockefeller had demurred; and the painting was expunged, to the accompaniment of howls from the Left, ARCHIBALD MacLElSH / 15 amusingly reinforced with the aesthetic plea that art is sacred beyond politics.

But the three principal passages in which this effect is created have been omitted from the later printings, leaving the poem free of the startling "intertemporal" counterpoint typical of Eliot, and with a contemporary texture purely. Yet, beneath this, continual allusions to the Adonis ritual remain to suggest a theme of unending recurrence. Perhaps recapitulation, rather than recurrence, is the universalizing motif in The Pot of Earth (as, for example, it is in Joyce's Finnegans Wake): this woman is eternal woman, and eternal woman typifies reproductive nature, whose dream is her life.

MacLeish's poem seems to start from a Realist's assumption that there is nothing special in point of view as such; that the law of things is common to all. It depicts a typical relation of the natural to the human, indeed choosing to examine the fate of someone quite average. Whatever the resemblance of MacLeish's techniques to those of subjectivists and symbolists, his fond was otherwise. His poem, like Eliot's, uses Aesthetic and symbolist procedures to assist naturalistic statement, but his is closer to a philosophical naturalism which assumes the total subjection of man to time and chance.

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American Writers, Volume III by Leonard Unger


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