A Key to Modern British Poetry

By Lawrence Durrell | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 3
THE WORLD WITHIN

You mustn't look in my novel for the old stable ego of the
character. There is another ego, according to whose action
the individual is unrecognizable, which needs a deeper sense
than any we've been used to exercise.

D. H. LAWRENCE

Do you know, I feel as though I were split in two? . . . It's just as though one's second self were standing beside one; one is sensible and rational oneself; but the other self is impelled to do something perfectly senseless.

DOSTOIEVSKI

Notes from Underground

WE have cleared some sort of space around the new ideas of time in order to examine their possible reaction upon the use of language. Gerontion, you remember, exhibits in its structure something like the pattern-behaviour of quanta. It does not progress along a line or a series of points, but in a new, a paradoxical way: it progresses by standing still. You leave Gerontion where you found him. Ulysses is, on the other hand, marked out like a race-course. The poem starts by giving you the idea, the characters, the location, the problem; then it proceeds to move forward towards a definite conclusion. The contrast in forms is an interesting one. Ulysses has a beginning, middle and end. Gerontion is simply there in a state of pure manifestation, so to speak.

To return to the historical method: while the outside view of things was changing under the impact of new ideas and discoveries in physics, the ego was also being explored, and it is in this context that we come upon the name of

-49-

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A Key to Modern British Poetry
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgments vi
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Chapter I The Limits of Criticism 1
  • Chapter 2- Space Time and Poetry 24
  • Chapter 3- The World Within 49
  • Chapter 4- Beyond the Ego? 72
  • Chapter 5- Poetry in the Nineties 91
  • Chapter 6- Georgians and Imagists 119
  • Chapter 7- T. S. Eliot 143
  • Chapter 9- New Signatures, New Voices 178
  • Notes 209
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