The End of the Poem: Studies in Poetics

The End of the Poem: Studies in Poetics

The End of the Poem: Studies in Poetics

The End of the Poem: Studies in Poetics

Synopsis

This book is an ambitious attempt to rethink the nature of poetic language and to rearticulate relationships among theology, poetry, and philosophy in a tradition of literature initiated by Dante.

Excerpt

Between 1974 and 1976 I met regularly in Paris with Italo Calvino and Claudio Rugafiori to define the program of a review. The project was ambitious, and our conversations, which often were not entirely focused, followed the dominant motifs and muffled echoes of each of our interests. We were, however, in agreement about one thing: one section of the review was to be dedicated to the definition of what we called "Italian categories." It was a matter of identifying nothing less than the categorial structures of Italian culture through a series of conjoined polar concepts. Claudio immediately suggested architecture/vagueness (that is, the domination of the mathematical-architectonic order alongside the perception of beauty as something vague). Italo had already been ordering images and themes along the coordinates of speed/lightness. Working on the essay on the title of the Divine Comedy that opens this collection, I proposed that we explore several oppositions: tragedy/comedy, law/ creature, biography/fable.

For reasons that need not be clarified here, the project was never realized. Once we had returned to Italy, we all--if in different ways--confronted the political change that was already under way and that was to impress the 1980s with its dark seal. It was obviously a time not for programmatic definitions, but for resistance and flight. Echoes of our common project can be found in Italo American Lectures, as well as in a large notebook that has remained . . .

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