Even before completing “Ulysses” Joyce wrote “Finnegan’s Wake” – a novel. If “Ulysses” is considered to be a daybook, “Finnegan’s Wake” is a night book. Joyce tried to present the whole human history in a dream of a Dublin innkeeper Earwicker by name. The style is appropriate to a dream, the language is shifting & changing, the words blur & glue together, this suggests the merging of images in a dream. This technique enables Joyce to present history & myth as a single image. The characters stand for eternal types, identified by Earwicker himself, his wife & the three children.
The work masks the limit of formal experiment in the language. “Finnegan’s Wake” is considered to be a closed book. It is very sophisticated. Joyce loses the thread of narration sometimes… attempted in the sound of words, construction of a sentences, to render the meaning of what he was talking about (e.g. images of woman & the river are merging; the rhyth – gurgling, flowing water). What unifies these two books – both of them express Joyce’s positive credo: he asserts that life is eternal, human society does change but the change has a circular character. Everything is renewed, nothing can be destroyed. Joyce starts the work with the continuation of thoughts & the beginning of them is at the end. Man must believe in the city (symbol of Dublin).
Thomas Stearns Eliot (1889 – 1965)
Thomas Stearns Eliot is considered today’s genius in poetry. Quintessence: refine sensibility – the essential quality of the poet. “Our civilization comprehends great variety & complexity; & this variety & complexity playing upon a refined sensibility must produce various & complex result. The poet must become more & more comprehensive, more & more allusive, more indirect in order to force, to dislocate if necessary language into his meaning” – said Eliot. This is an account of what a modern poet should do. He must be finely tuned to the world to be able to express the various & complex. The poet can distort the language, to use it figuratively.
Extremely was influential figure in literary circles. Editor, poet, playwright, critic – he came from a prosperous American family, his father was a rich manufacturer & his mother wrote poetry. He was brought up in St. Louis Missouri. He was educated in private school & attended Harvard to get his degree in philosophy in 1906. Then left for Paris. There he attended lectures of Henry Bergson – “Subjective Idealism Philosophy, Theory of Intuitivism”. Being in Paris he read much on French symbolist poets. The symbolist movement was one of major influences upon his poetry. The goal of art is to express the unique personal emotional responses to a certain moment in human life through indefinite illogical, sometimes private in meaning symbols. Eliot returned to Harvard & there he read widely in Sanskrit & oriental philosophy (had a powerful influence on him). In 1915 he decided to give up philosophy to remain in England & to begin writer’s career. In 1916 he completed his Ph.D. theses, but never received a degree. He married & settled in England permanently.
The beginning of his literary career starts from 1910 when he wrote “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”. It was published in 1915 in magazine “Poetry”. The poem is written in a very simple style. Then he made a collection “Prufrock & Other Observations”. This was compared with “Lyrical Ballads” of Wordsworth & Coleridge. This work inaugurated the age of modernism in poetry. There is no plot in the story. It’s a dramatic monologue but of the new kind. It sounds like a stream of consciousness of a person who walks up the street of London. The protagonist is Alfred Prufrock. He is an antiromantic hero, rather timid, self-centred. The tone is very ironic, images are startlingly fresh. The title suggests that some feeling should be shown to the other person. The poem starts as a dialogue:
Let us go out – you & I…
Critics argue that you & I are two sides of one & the same person. Eliot says that “YOU” is a companion of Prufrock. We should pay attention to the epigraph: “The truth will remain under”. This means that the speaker can persuade himself to talk only if this will never be heard. It is his own dramatic monologue. Prufrock is intensely preoccupied with himself. Probably he signs his love song to himself… (though it doesn’t matter much)
We can understand “love-song” in ironic sense because the whole poem is an elaborate rationalization for not seeking love. Love cannot exist in this ugly senseless chaotic world. It is a miracle, hopeless yearning of person for the vitality. The whole scene makes us see that love is not possessive in this world. Repulsive attitude of the narrator towards what he sees – images of a pair of ragged claws, mermaids singing each to each. Leitmotif:
Ðåôåðàò îïóáëèêîâàí: 31/01/2010