Poetic Craft and Authorial Design, in Shakespeare, Keats, T. S. Eliot, and Henry James, with Two Essays on the Pygmalion Legend

Poetic Craft and Authorial Design, in Shakespeare, Keats, T. S. Eliot, and Henry James, with Two Essays on the Pygmalion Legend

By: George T. Wright (author)Hardback

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The essays in this volume are the result of many years of teaching experience. They cover a wide variety of literary topics including nineteenth-century prosody, versions of the Pymalion story, T.S. Eliot and Henry James. This collection of literary essays begins with two studies that survey the "History of the Pygmalion" legend in literature and other media, from Ovid's "Metamorphoses" to Shakespeare's "the Winter's Tale", and from Rameau and Rousseau through English, French, German, and other versions, down to G.B. Shaw, Frank Wedekind, Giinter Grass, and Ted Hughes, among modern writers, to 20th-century film versions and theorists of art, literature, and feminist history. Six essays on T.S. Eliot describe the "music" of his poetry, the indebtedness of Four Quartets to Thomas Gray's "Elegy", some points of resemblance (and difference) Eliot's poetry bears to that of Keats, the Symbolist technique underlying his personae, the author's experience of teaching Eliot's poetry over thirty years, and the remarkably shifting nature of Eliot's poetic designs. An essay on 19th-century prosody focuses on the increasing tendency of Romantic and later verse to emphasize strongly accented beats, and argues that the unfortunate result is to make poetry in English less like speech and more like song, instead of keeping a balance between these modes. In reaction, the best poets, when they are not mocking themselves or each other, increasingly write in free verse, syllabics, prose poetry, or find other ways of evading what seems the failure of later (twentieth-century) poetry to carve a popular art out of speech that still has a metrical base. The final essay - a long one on Henry James' "The Portrait of a Lady" - reads the novel as presenting, in Isabel Archer's career, a secular parallel to the Biblical and Miltonic story of Adam's and Eve's experience - endowment, temptation, fall, and subsequent atonement - in Rome, the eternal city of suffering.


PART I: Pygmalion's Lives; "Be Stone No More": Pygmalion from Ovid to Shakespeare; Pygmalion and His Statue: Some Later Incarnations; PART II: Eliot's Versecraft; The Music of Eliot's Poetry; Eliot Written in a Country Churchyard; PART III: Verse under Stress; English Prosody, 1780-1914: "I Hear the Metrical Shuffling of Their Feet"; PART IV: James and Isabel; The Roman Setting of Henry James's The Portrait of a Lady.

Product Details

  • ISBN13: 9780773415232
  • Format: Hardback
  • Number Of Pages: 288
  • ID: 9780773415232
  • ISBN10: 0773415238

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