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Lecture 9: The Things
You Can’t Say (in
Public)
PATRICK MOONEY, M.A.
ENGLISH 10, SUMMER SESSION A
6 JULY 2105
●
Quotations always have to be exact.
– down to the shortest word, smallest punctuation mark,
and even issues of spelling ...
●
Original text:
An old, mad, blind, despised, and dying King;
Princes, the dregs of their dull race, who flow
Through pub...
The Pushkinian sonnet
He reads it through twice, somewhat chary,
Of yet one more time being had.
It goes: Dear Yuppie, I a...
Edward Estlin Cummings (1894–1962)
●
Often written “e.e. cummings”
– There is no definitive
evidence that cummings
himself...
e.e. cummings
●
Despite the emotional heaviness of
several of today’s selections,
cummings is best known for his early,
Ro...
●
Much of “Olaf” depends for its effect on the tension
between the grammatical (syntactic) structures and the line
breaks:...
●
Parataxis: Grammatical arrangement of items, clauses,
or sentences in “equal” constructions.
– The sun was shining brigh...
His wellbelovèd colonel
(trig westpointer most succinctly bred)
took erring Olaf soon in hand; but—
though an host of over...
“Anyone lived in
a pretty how
town” (515;
reader page 236)
●
What “is happening” in this
poem?
– In terms of its plot?
– I...
Anne Sexton (1928–1974)
●
Experienced bipolar episodes for much of her adult life.
●
Encouraged to write poetry by her the...
“
”
Lowell’s “Skunk Hour” and Sylvia Plath’s “Lady
Lazarus” were true examples [of confessional
poetry] because they put t...
The self-portrait of e.e. cummings (slide 5) is out of copyright and in the
public domain because it was first published p...
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Lecture 09: The Things You Can't Say (in Public)

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Slideshow for the ninth lecture in my summer course, English 10, "Introduction to Literary Studies: Deception, Dishonesty, Bullshit."

http://patrickbrianmooney.nfshost.com/~patrick/ta/m15/

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Lecture 09: The Things You Can't Say (in Public)

  1. 1. Lecture 9: The Things You Can’t Say (in Public) PATRICK MOONEY, M.A. ENGLISH 10, SUMMER SESSION A 6 JULY 2105
  2. 2. ● Quotations always have to be exact. – down to the shortest word, smallest punctuation mark, and even issues of spelling and capitalization. – for poetry, this means you must also preserve line breaks, because they are taken to be significant in this context. – Any departures from perfect accuracy have to be indicated (often with square brackets). ● “Avoid the error of obviously …” ● Integrate quotes into the grammatical structure of sentences in which they appear. Quotations in papers
  3. 3. ● Original text: An old, mad, blind, despised, and dying King; Princes, the dregs of their dull race, who flow Through public scorn,--mud from a muddy spring; Rulers who neither see nor feel nor know (Shelley, “England in 1819,” lines 1–4) ● Quoted with adaptations: Percy Shelley writes of “[r]ulers who neither see nor feel nor know,” speaking of “[a]n old, mad, blind, despised, and dying King” and “[p]rinces […] who flow / Through public scorn” (lines 4, 1, 2–3)
  4. 4. The Pushkinian sonnet He reads it through twice, somewhat chary, Of yet one more time being had. It goes: Dear Yuppie, I am wary Of answering a personal ad. This is the first time, I should mention, That I have broken my convention Of reticence. But, well, here goes: I rather liked your literate prose. As an attorney, the clear crafting Of words (our stock-in-trade) excites My admiration. Nothing blights A document like sloppy drafting. Your ad, if I may be allowed To matronize you, does you proud. (Seth 2.26) ● Popularized by Alexander Pushkin in Russian with the publication of Eugene Onegin (1825–32). ● Iambic tetrameter, but … ● Structured not just in terms of rhyme, but also has structured occurrences of masculine/ feminine rhymes: aBaBccDDeFFeGG – Uppercase: masculine (final syllable stressed) – Lowercase: feminine (extra final syllable, unstressed)
  5. 5. Edward Estlin Cummings (1894–1962) ● Often written “e.e. cummings” – There is no definitive evidence that cummings himself preferred this orthography ● Essayist, novelist, painter, playwright, and poet ● Probably best known for his formal poetic experimentation ● Rarely titled his poemsSelf-portrait, c. 1920
  6. 6. e.e. cummings ● Despite the emotional heaviness of several of today’s selections, cummings is best known for his early, Romantic-influenced work, which is much lighter. ● cummings’s work often stretches the limits of traditional poetic form without abandoning it completely. ● Notice the rhythm of “i sing of Olaf glad and big” … Cummings, 1953
  7. 7. ● Much of “Olaf” depends for its effect on the tension between the grammatical (syntactic) structures and the line breaks: but---though an host of overjoyed noncoms(first knocking on the head him)do through icy waters roll that helplessness which others stroke with brushes recently employed anent this muddy toiletbowl, while kindred intellects evoke allegiance per blunt instruments--- (lines 7-14) ● Here, cummings constructs a series of linked dependent clauses to propel the reader, headlong, through Olaf’s experience.
  8. 8. ● Parataxis: Grammatical arrangement of items, clauses, or sentences in “equal” constructions. – The sun was shining brightly. We went for a walk. – The sun was shining brightly; we went for a walk. – The sun was shining brightly, and we went for a walk. ● Hypotaxis: Grammatical arrangement of elements that subordinate one clause or element to another. – Often through subordinating conjunctions: although, as, because, before, in order that, until, since, whereas … many more … Some grammatical terminology
  9. 9. His wellbelovèd colonel (trig westpointer most succinctly bred) took erring Olaf soon in hand; but— though an host of overjoyed noncoms (first knocking on the head him) do though icy waters roll that helplessness which other stroke with brushes recently employed anent this muddy toiletbowl while kindred intellects evoke allegiance per blunt instuments— Olaf (being to all intents a corpse and wanting any rag upon what God unto him gave) (lines 4–17)
  10. 10. “Anyone lived in a pretty how town” (515; reader page 236) ● What “is happening” in this poem? – In terms of its plot? – In terms of form and meaning? ● To what extent can we call this poem a “narrative”? ● To what extent is it a poem? ● To what extent is it “meaningful”?
  11. 11. Anne Sexton (1928–1974) ● Experienced bipolar episodes for much of her adult life. ● Encouraged to write poetry by her therapist in 1955 as a form of therapy. ● Writing experiences brought her into contact with some of the best-known American poets of her time – Including Sylvia Plath, Robert Lowell, W.D. Snodgrass, Maxine Kumin, etc. ● Pulitzer prize for Live or Die (1967). ● Last act before her suicide was to finalize publication details for The Awful Rowing Towards God (1975).
  12. 12. “ ” Lowell’s “Skunk Hour” and Sylvia Plath’s “Lady Lazarus” were true examples [of confessional poetry] because they put the speaker at the center of the poem in such a way as to make his psychological vulnerability and shame an embodiment of his civilization. . . . [A] genuine confessional poem has to be superbly successful artistically if it is to achieve this fusion of the private and the culturally symbolic, but it must at any rate be far more highly charged than the usual poem. M.L. Rosenthal on “confessional” poetry (1967)
  13. 13. The self-portrait of e.e. cummings (slide 5) is out of copyright and in the public domain because it was first published prior to 1923. Original source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:EECummings_pd4.jpg Walter Albertin’s 1953 photo of cummings (slide 6) is in the public domain because it is part of a collection by the New York World-Telegram & Sun that was donated to the Library of Congress, and released into the public domain as part of that donation process. Original source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:E._E._Cummings_NYWTS.jpg Media credits

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