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Elegy and Paradox: Testing the Conventions
Elegy and Paradox: Testing the Conventions Professor W. David Shaw 0801848369 9780801848360 To what extent can the consolations of a poetry of loss be made to seem reasonable--even compelling--to readers living today? In the first book to ask whether
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Elegy and Paradox: Testing the Conventions by Professor W. David Shaw

To what extent can the consolations of a poetry of loss be made to seem reasonable--even compelling--to readers living today? In the first book to ask whether a historical and critical knowledge of the genre elegy is still really possible, W. David Shaw shows how the elegists testing of conventions poses new crises for understanding and new shocks to values and beliefs from one generation to the next. Shaw argues that the idea of an elusive truth, of an apparent contradiction that invites resolution, explains the power of many elegies we read. After exploring paradoxes of performative language and circular form in classical and confessional elegies, respectively, he examines the paradoxes of a silent-speaking word in Romantic elegy and paradoxes of breakdown and breakthrough in modern elegy. A contrast between strong and weak mourners in Ben Jonsons and Henry Kings elegies, between impact and tremor in Tennysons elegies, and between tough- and tender-minded mourners in Frosts Home Burial, suggests that reading elegies, like writing them, is more than an academic exercise; it is also a life-and-death issue. Though a polemical book--written out of an urgent and timely sense of the importance of a humane, experience-based testing of elegys rhetoric and conventions-- Elegy and Paradox also retraces a pathgreat elegists have always followed when modifying tradition and relating what is new in their poems to conventional elements.

Author: Professor W. David Shaw

Language: English

Binding: Hardcover

Pages: 296

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press

Publication Date: 1994-10-01

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ISBN: 0801848369


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