By Margueritte S. Murphy

From its inception in nineteenth-century France, the prose poem has embraced a cultured of concern and innovation instead of culture and conference. during this suggestive examine, Margueritte S. Murphy either explores the heritage of this style in Anglo-American literature and gives a version for interpreting the prose poem, without reference to language or nationwide literature. Murphy argues that the prose poem is an inherently subversive style, person who needs to ceaselessly undermine prosaic conventions so one can validate itself as authentically "other". while, every one prose poem needs to to some extent recommend a conventional prose style with a purpose to subvert it effectively. The prose poem is hence of unique curiosity as a style during which the normal and the recent are introduced unavoidably and regularly into clash.

Beginning with a dialogue of the French prose poem and its adoption in England through the Decadents, Murphy examines the results of this organization on later poets akin to T.S. Eliot. She additionally explores the belief of the prose poem as an androgynous style. Then, with a sensitivity to the sociopolitical nature of language, she attracts at the paintings of Mikhail Bakhtin to light up the ideology of the style and discover its subversive nature. the majority of the publication is dedicated to insightful readings of William Carlos Williams's Kora in Hell, Gertrude Stein's smooth Buttons, and John Ashbery's 3 Poems. As awesome examples of the yank prose poem, those works reveal the diversity of this genre's radical and experimental probabilities.

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Additional info for A tradition of subversion: the prose poem in English from Wilde to Ashbery

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For while the form by its very name suggests the distinction between literary and nonliterary language ("poetic" prose is necessarily literary), this amorphous genre has been and continues to be a vehicle for the introduction of nonliterary prose into "poetic" discoursethe prose of the street, the pulpit, the newsrooms, the political arena, the psychiatrist's office, and so on. The "conflict," then, between literature and "life," or literary language and extraliterary discourses, is brought within the text and is part of its peculiar dynamic.

Yet she hardly represents "le mâle" or "volonté" but rather the opposite, the unreachable feminine with an "ineffable and languishing look" in her eyes. " But it is her will that wins out, and he, the "adorer," is also the source of the illusions represented by the "ligne arabesque"the spiral stairway, the twisting Chimera, and the en- Page 26 chanting designs of the muted tapestries. So, not only is his will and desire denied, but also, in light of the gender distinctions of Baudelaire's thyrsus, he has assumed the feminine role, has been indeed feminized by his illusions and purposeless adoration.

Judith Gautier's translations from Chinese offer examples of this sort of nonconclusion: Some say that they are the wives of the Emperor that are wandering above, clad in white, And others pretend that they see a cloud of swans. ("The Moonlight in the Sea," after Li-Su-Tchong) 19 Page 19 Two interpretations, or ways of seeing, are posed, but neither is affirmed. Instead, illusion and ambiguity have the last word. Many other prose poems simply end with a question. The tenor of Stuart Merrill's translation also affects their overall tone and configuration.

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