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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 examine, Margueritte S. Murphy either explores the background of this style in Anglo-American literature and gives a version for analyzing the prose poem, without reference to language or nationwide literature. Murphy argues that the prose poem is an inherently subversive style, person who needs to eternally undermine prosaic conventions with the intention to validate itself as authentically "other". whilst, each one prose poem needs to to some extent recommend a standard prose style for you to subvert it effectively. The prose poem is hence of precise curiosity as a style during which the conventional and the hot are introduced unavoidably and always into clash.

Beginning with a dialogue of the French prose poem and its adoption in England through the Decadents, Murphy examines the consequences of this organization on later poets akin to T.S. Eliot. She additionally explores the notion 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 ebook is dedicated to insightful readings of William Carlos Williams's Kora in Hell, Gertrude Stein's soft Buttons, and John Ashbery's 3 Poems. As outstanding examples of the yank prose poem, those works exhibit the diversity of this genre's radical and experimental percentages.

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Extra resources for A tradition of subversion: the prose poem in English from Wilde to Ashbery

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Beyond the valorization of prose for itself, or for its style, the exchange of terminology among art forms and endless analogies between different media offered a vocabulary for describing prose poemsa poetry lacking rhyme, meter, or stanza formas, for instance, painted tableaux, or musical compositions. Indeed, the first major anthology of French prose poems translated into English was entitled Pastels in Prose. Finally, if life, lived with style, may be considered art, and prose more conducive to representing the complexities, chaos, and plurality of modern life, so the prose poem may seem a particularly apt vehicle for transcriptions of the experience of modernity.

From this perspective, the reflection on the discursive which the prose poem constituted by problematizing the entire realm of discourse appears as a sophisticatedand deeply subversivescrutiny of its mechanisms of control, and of their points of potential fracture. 5 What happened, then, to the prose poem when it traveled across the English Channel, and across the Atlantic toward the end of the century? Did it retain its subversive character, and if so, what were its objects? And did it attain any discursive power?

Hence, the poet is defeated by indifference, a symptom of "ennui," in his attempt to penetrate and explain the mystery of "ceux qui sont condamnés à espérer toujours" (those who are condemned to hope forever). The poet is like the rest: he is burdened by his own chimera, his own illusions and hopes, one of which must be the desire to envision and penetrate such illusions. But since this possibility of seeing through the chimera is itself an illusion, the poet's aspiration here is necessarily defeated and replaced by indifference.

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