Troy Town And Neutral Tones

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D. G. Rossetti & Thomas Hardy Poetry

(Creator: Delzi Laranjeira)

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Troy Town And Neutral Tones

  1. 1. “ Troy Town” “Neutral tones” D. G. Rossetti Thomas Hardy
  2. 2. D. G. Rossetti (1828-1882) <ul><li>Rossetti was the leader of the Pre−Raphaelite Brotherhood, a group of artists and writers who sought to emulate the purity and simplicity of the Italian Proto−Renaissance school of art. </li></ul><ul><li>His paintings are filled with richly colored expressions of human beauty, frequently characterized by elements of the supernatural. </li></ul><ul><li>His poetry features rich and sensuous imagery, vivid detail, and an aura of mysticism. Although the subjects of his verse are typically considered narrow, Rossetti is acknowledged as a master of the ballad and sonnet forms. &quot;The Blessed Damozel,&quot; &quot;Sister Helen,&quot; and the sonnet sequence &quot;The House of Life&quot; are often noted among his finest poetic achievements. </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood was a group of English painters, poets and critics, founded in 1848 by John Everett Millais, Dante Gabriel Rossetti and William Holman Hunt. </li></ul><ul><li>The group's intention was to reform art by rejecting what they considered to be the mechanistic approach adopted by the Mannerist artists who followed Raphael and Michelangelo. They believed that the Classical poses and elegant compositions of Raphael in particular had been a corrupting influence on academic teaching of art. Hence the name &quot;Pre-Raphaelite&quot;. In particular they objected to the influence of Sir Joshua Reynolds, the founder of the English Royal Academy of Arts. In contrast they wanted to return to the abundant detail, intense colours, and complex compositions of Quattrocento Italian and Flemish art. </li></ul>
  4. 4. <ul><li>The Pre-Raphaelites have been considered the first avant-garde movement in art, though they have also been denied that status, because they continued to accept both the concepts of history painting and of 'mimesis', or imitation of nature, as central to the purpose of art. However, the Pre-Raphaelites undoubtedly defined themselves as a reform movement, created a distinct name for their form of art, and published a periodical, The Germ, to promote their ideas. Their debates were recorded in the &quot;Pre-Raphaelite Journal&quot;. </li></ul>
  5. 5. <ul><ul><li>The Brotherhood's early doctrines were expressed in four declarations: To have genuine ideas to express; To study Nature attentively, so as to know how to express them; To sympathise with what is direct and serious and heartfelt in previous art, to the exclusion of what is conventional and self-parading and learned by rote; And most indispensable of all, to produce thoroughly good pictures and statues. </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. La Pia d'Tolomei (1866-80) (painting of Jane Morris, the wife of Rossetti's friend and fellow Pre-Raphaelite William Morris)
  7. 7. Venus Verticordia Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum, Bournemouth
  8. 8. The Beloved, The Bride (c. 1865/66)
  9. 9. <ul><li>By the latter half of the twentieth century, critics had begun to focus on the cultural and ideological components of Rossetti's verse, particularly on the implications of the erotic, sensuous, and feminine elements in his writing. Modern critics have also recognized Rossetti as a distinguished artist and verbal craftsman whose work greatly influenced contemporaries as Morris and Swinburne, as well as the Aesthetes and Decadents of the later nineteenth century. </li></ul>
  10. 10. MAIN WORKS <ul><li>&quot;Hand and Soul&quot; (short story) published in the journal The Germ , 1850 </li></ul><ul><li>The Early Italian Poets from Ciullo to Dante Alighieri (1100−1200−1300) in the Original Metres, Together with Dante's &quot;Vita Nuova&quot; [translator; also published as Dante and His Circle ] (poetry) 1861 </li></ul><ul><li>Poems (poetry) 1870 </li></ul><ul><li>Ballads and Sonnets (poetry) 1881 </li></ul><ul><li>The Complete Poetical Works of Dante Gabriel Rossetti (poetry) 1903 </li></ul>
  11. 11. Christina Rossetti (1830-1894) <ul><li>Christina Rossetti was born in London and was educated at home by her mother, Frances Polidori, a former governess, an Anglican of devout evangelical bent. She shared her parents' interest in poetry and was portrayed in the paintings and drawings of the Pre-Raphaelites. </li></ul><ul><li>Rossetti's first verses were written in 1842 and printed in the private press of her grandfather. In 1850, under the pseudonym Ellen Alleyne, she contributed seven poems to the short-lived Pre-Raphaelite journal The Germ. </li></ul><ul><li>Rossetti's deeply religious temperament left its marks on her writing. She was a devout High Anglican, much influenced by the Tractarian, or Oxford, Movement. Rossetti broke engagement to the artist James Collison, an original member of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, when he joined the Roman Catholic church. She also rejected Charles Bagot Cayley for religious reasons. </li></ul>
  12. 12. <ul><li>By the 1880s, recurrent bouts of Graves' disease, a thyroid disorder, had made Rossetti an invalid, and ended her attempts to work as a governess. Rossetti's illness restricted her social life, but she continued to write sonnets and ballads. Especially she was interested the apocalyptic books, and such religious writers as Augustine and Thomas à Kempis. </li></ul><ul><li>Rossetti's best-known work, Goblin Market and Other Poems , was published in 1862. Rossetti's work has suffered from reductive interpretations, but she is increasingly being reconsidered as a major Victorian poet. </li></ul>
  13. 13. The Girlhood of Mary Virgin (with Christina as the model for Mary)
  14. 14. “Troy Town” <ul><li>Poem’s subject  Prior to the Trojan War Helen, in the temple of Venus, offers the goddess a cup in the shape of her breast. In return for her gift, she asks for the love of Paris, to whom Venus owes a debt. Venus, even aware of future catastrophe, grants the wish, and Cupid's arrows strike the couple. </li></ul>
  15. 15. <ul><li>Form </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A balad, interwoven by a refrain </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Refrain  divides the stanzas and focuses on the fall of Troy, serves to emphasize the destruction which results when eroticism, the attractive force of body's beauty, is out of control. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The images of beauty in the stanza contrast sharply with the images of destruction in the refrain which laments the fall of Troy. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Internal rhymes in the end  links eroticism and death </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Repetitions  refrain, heart’s desire  a ballad device to weave the stanzaic web more tightly. Repetition, sexual suggestion, and sexual symbolism  the major poetic devices emphasizing physical passion and suggesting obsessive force. </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. <ul><li>Themes and symbols </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The two faces of beauty  spiritual and carnal. The last one emphasizes the destruction which results when beauty elicits a purely erotic response. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The erotic nature of the relationship Helen seeks is clear. With the link between the apple, sexual passion, the garden of Eden, and the fall established, the web is complete. The next stanzas, with the prominent ballad rhythm suggest inevitability: Venus and Cupid do their work, and when Paris falls victim to body's beauty, Troy falls with him. </li></ul></ul>
  17. 17. “Neutral Tones” <ul><li>1. Sum up the story told in this poem. In lines 1— 12, what is the dramatic situation? </li></ul><ul><li>2. What meanings do you find in the title? </li></ul><ul><li>3. Explain in your own words the metaphor in line 2. </li></ul><ul><li>4. What connotations appropriate to this poem does the ash (line 4) that oak or maple would lack? </li></ul><ul><li>5. What visible objects in the poem function symbolically? What actions or gestures? </li></ul>
  18. 18. <ul><li>Form  dramatic monologue consisting of four tetrameter quatrains. The speaker addresses an estranged lover and reminisces about a foreseen moment in their past, which anticipated the demise of their relationship. </li></ul><ul><li>The first three stanzas  describe the past incident </li></ul><ul><li>Fourth stanza  reflects upon this incident and the nature of love. It is a sad, pessimistic poem that portrays love as painful and doomed. </li></ul>
  19. 19. <ul><li>Awkward syntax from 2nd stanza on  the memory of the lover has crippled the speaker’s language and imagination. The farther he progresses into the description, the more awkward the syntax becomes: </li></ul><ul><li>Enjambed lines that no longer pause with the syntax betray his mental perturbation. </li></ul>
  20. 20. <ul><li>The last line in the second stanza, which describes the meaninglessness of their conversation, is unintelligible. </li></ul><ul><li>The next stanza’s inverted word order, enjambment, and semantic as well as syntactic confusion in the descriptions of deadness and aliveness also reveal the speaker’s failing powers  the speaker is so heartbroken by love that his fraught mind is at a loss for words as he tries to relate his experience. </li></ul>
  21. 21. <ul><li>The setting contributes to a mood of torpor or constriction  the sun is “white,” as if drained of all its vitality. Dead leaves lie on the ground as a reminder of the end of the natural cycle of life and death. These leaves are “gray” and come from an “ash”: Both words reinforce the gloominess of this colorless, inert scene. </li></ul><ul><li>The description of the woman’s glance and their conversation suggests that their love had become boring and meaningless to her. Things become even more dire in stanza 3, when the lover’s smile is likened—in a metaphor instead of the simile of stanza 2—to “the deadest thing/ Alive,” and her bitter grin is compared to “an ominous bird a−wing.” </li></ul><ul><li>The pain predicted by this bitter grin is confirmed in stanza 4  the death of their relationship, but even more pain and suffering followed in the deceptions and wrongs that ensued. The vagueness and generalized tone of this last stanza implies that the assertion that “love deceives,/ And wrings with wrongs” is a generalization that applies to all love, not just this particular love. </li></ul>
  22. 22. <ul><li>Themes </li></ul><ul><li>Title  “Neutral Tones” is ironic. The colors of the landscape are “neutral,” but the mood (or “tone”) these colors create is dismal, not neutral. The lover’s features, such as her eyes and her smile, may seem neutral or indifferent, but they are, in fact, bitter and hurtful </li></ul><ul><li>Reflects the fin de siècle consciousness of its publication date  feelings of exhaustion and disillusionment. The poem has more to do with modern premises than Victorian ones. </li></ul>
  23. 23. <ul><li>Romantic poets  struggled to reveal the wonders of the imagination and aspired to be the “legislators of the world” (P. B. Shelley). </li></ul><ul><li>Victorian poets  preached the truths of science, philosophy, religion, and politics openly and without shame. </li></ul><ul><li>Modern poets  lost confidence in their own authority and also the authority of institutions. Their focus is much more narrow: the attention to a particular moment  Virginia Woolf’s “moments of being,” James Joyce’s “epiphanies,” and Ezra Pound’s Imagism all result from this circumscribed scope. </li></ul>
  24. 24. <ul><li>“ Neutral Tones”’ attention to the mundane details of a seemingly trivial moment is also modern  the speaker’s imaginative failure comments on a failure of the modern imagination in general. </li></ul><ul><li>Romantics  poems begin in a particular landscape, soar to an imaginative vision, and then return to reflect upon the landscape and vision that have transformed the speaker. </li></ul><ul><li>Moderns  poem recalls this form, except that the speaker fails to have an imaginative vision and is not transformed. Hardy seems to imply that the modern world restrains the spirits of its poets and its people. </li></ul>

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