The Forged Feature: Toward a Poetics of Uncertainty: New and Selected Essays

The Forged Feature: Toward a Poetics of Uncertainty: New and Selected Essays

The Forged Feature: Toward a Poetics of Uncertainty: New and Selected Essays

The Forged Feature: Toward a Poetics of Uncertainty: New and Selected Essays

Synopsis

¿Spellbinding book. . . . The essays deserve to be read and reread at the slowest, most appreciative pace possible.¿ -Boston Review The scope of The Forged Feature is two-fold: to bring together a representative selection of critical essays bearing on Belitt's interests as poet, critic, teacher, and translator; and to furnish an on-going review of his concern with the encoding of languages and the exigencies of their imaginative retrieval. The collection begins with three pieces on the uses of belief, linguistic and place as shaping forces in the concretizing of the literary artifact. The second section of essays examines the fictive medium in terms of a number of "predicaments." The discussion embraces texts such as parables, novels, and autobiographical meoirs covering a broad range of twentieth century talents: Kafka, Borges, V.S. Naipaul, Saul Bellows, and Pablo Neruda. The third section is devoted to the theory and practice of translation developed from Belitt's personal lifetime of experience. Finally, there is a sequence of four essays on the uses of "new physics" of quantum mechanics and its uncanny relevance to the accountability of poetry. Belitt re-evaluates Gerard Manley Hopkins as a "scientific" rather than a priestly crafter of a medium, and touches upon diverse traditions and talents such as Keats, Blake, Stevens, Bishop, Yeats, Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Cocteau, W.C. Williams, Michado, Rilke, Wordsworth, and Coleridge. The brilliant observations collected in this volume are not contained within a specific school of thought and are indefinable within any current fashion- rather, Belitt's frame of reference is literature itself and his essays proceed in a literary, poetic, and individual voice.

Excerpt

A word is due the reader regarding the range and purpose of the essays that follow. My intent has been twofold: to bring together a representative selection of critical essays bearing on my interests as poet, critic, teacher, and translator; and to furnish an ongoing review of my concern with the encoding of languages and the exigencies of their imaginative retrieval. Beginning with a triad of pieces on (A) the uses of belief, linguistics, and place as shaping forces in the concretizing of the literary occasion, it moves on to (B) an examination of the fictive medium in terms of a number of "predicaments"--"enigmatic," "heraldic," mythopoeic (Neruda as "latter-day Homer"), political, taxonomic (modes of the penetrability and impenetrability of contexts, depth strategies in the creation and construing of meanings). The texts are the opportune ones that happen to have come my way as observer-reporter of twentieth-century prose--parables, novels, autobiographical memoirs--and cover a broad range of multinational talents: Kafka, Borges, V. S. Naipaul, Saul Bellow, Pablo Neruda.

A third section (C) is devoted to the theory and practice of translation and embraces a personal repertory of risks, choices, and problematics encountered during my labors as translator of poetry and prose over the last thirty years or more. The endless debate over the "liberal" and the "literal," the private and the public, the "faithful" and the willful modes of mediating between grammars and consciences in behalf of the "one true translation" is rehearsed in terms of the texts and controversies that produced them. A concluding piece attempts a "revaluation" of the Neruda canon apart from the rigors of translation, as a prolegomenon for the posthumous appraisal of a master and a palimpsest of legends for the reader.

Finally, there is a more recent sequence of four essays occasioned by my growing interest in the uses of the "new physics" of quantum mechanics and its uncanny relevance to the accountability of poetry. Here, my emphasis is on the reading of poetry rather than the writing or historicity of the textual artifact--the . . .

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