Such Rare Citings: The Prose Poem in English Literature

By N. Santilli | Go to book overview

5
Parallelism: Blake, Wilde, Beckett

AT THIS STAGE OF OUR INQUIRY, I WOULD LIKE TO RETURN TO THE Romantic neo-Platonist scheme of the Idea and its representation and apply it at sentence level to the style of the prose poem. In Chapter 1, I distinguished the Idea as the Whole from the Idea as the Absent Work, which is represented in part by the fragmented text. The fragment, as a literary genre, repeats its fraction of the Idea metonymically—that is, it centers on a quality or attribute and uses it to imply the whole that it is unable to encompass. This Absent Work, it can be seen, is open to interpretation through the implied contexts of the fragment-text.

The relationship that the fragment bears to the Idea from which it is torn (McFarland's "diasparact") is one of repetition with difference. In describing this relationship more fully in this chapter, I use the term "source" to denote the original state of the Idea, which is unrepresentable and can be understood intuitively. This is the Romantic Absent Work that I have substituted by its literary equivalent, the "implied context" in order to show the active relationship that it holds to the text both in its composition and in its reception (when it is read). In literary production, this intuited Idea is schematized as a concept by applying such qualities as to create a model : a particular structure, style, or other reproducible characteristic. Finally, attempts to realize the model produces copies, which are comparable to the literary fragment, the prose poem, as incomplete imitations. Table 5.1 sets out the correspondences among the various terms I have used so far. The contents of the two right-hand columns will be the subjects of this chapter. These terms are not fully synonymous. For example, the implied context is an actively operational Absent Work but both occupy the inclusive yet unordered stage prior to schematization.

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Such Rare Citings: The Prose Poem in English Literature
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Contents 7
  • Preface 9
  • Acknowledgments 11
  • Introduction 13
  • Abbreviations 27
  • 1: The Prose Poem and the Romantic Fragment 31
  • 2: De Quincey and Baudelaire 71
  • 3: Contexts I 98
  • 4: Contexts II: Mercian Hymns 118
  • 5: Parallelism 137
  • 6: Beckett's Late Prose 161
  • 7: The Prose Poem and the City 181
  • Notes 207
  • Works Cited 259
  • Index 277
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