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“Let us go then, you and I” “Sorry, I'm Busy Tonight” Reading Poetry: Theory and Practice C.M. Bajetta Università della Valle d’Aosta.

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Presentation on theme: "“Let us go then, you and I” “Sorry, I'm Busy Tonight” Reading Poetry: Theory and Practice C.M. Bajetta Università della Valle d’Aosta."— Presentation transcript:

1 “Let us go then, you and I” “Sorry, I'm Busy Tonight” Reading Poetry: Theory and Practice C.M. Bajetta Università della Valle d’Aosta

2 T.S. Eliot, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, 1-3 Let us go then, you and I, When the evening is spread out against the sky Like a patient etherised upon a table… (from Prufrock and Other Observations, 1917) Reading Poetry - Theory and Practice2

3 But… what does it mean? In itself – (without this, all our thoughts about poetry would be pure moonshine…) For us – (without this, ‘all art is quite useless’ - Oscar Wilde) Reading Poetry - Theory and Practice3

4 Do we really need this? Yes, because there is no way of reading which does not imply (whether consciously or unconsciously) some kind of "theoretical" approach to literature. Reading Poetry - Theory and Practice4

5 What is literature? Plato and Aristotle – mimesis, imitation (though with remarkable differences) Sir Philip Sidney (16 th cent.) – poet = creator of a "second nature". The Romantics – Literature: product of Imagination - thus a means to reach the hidden Mystery which lays "behind" reality, its inner nature. Reading Poetry - Theory and Practice5 ???

6 What is literature? a form of communication. (Cf. e.g. Structuralist school & Roman Jackobson) modern theory - starting from the text (do not worry, you will get more on this later on…) Reading Poetry - Theory and Practice6 20th c. today

7 Something missing ? Reading Poetry - Theory and Practice7

8 T.S. Eliot, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, 1-3 Let us go then, you and I, When the evening is spread out against the sky Like a patient etherised upon a table... Reading Poetry - Theory and Practice 8

9 Let us go then, you and I, When the evening is spread out against the sky Like a patient etherised upon a table... 1 )"Hey, mate, fancy going out tonight? The weather's good". 2)"I think it is a most remarkable evening, just look at the clouds over there, on the horizon, how they stretch from east to west, how very picturesque. I would really love to go out for a short walk". 1)invitation to the local pub for a pint. 2)academic pointing out that the sunset is really nice this evening. Reading Poetry - Theory and Practice9

10 10 Let us go then, you and I, When the evening is spread out against the sky Like a patient etherised upon a table...

11 When the Evening… Forse perché della fatal quiete tu sei l'immago a me sì cara vieni o sera! U. Foscolo, Alla Sera The curfew tolls the knell of parting day, The lowing herd wind slowly o'er the lea The ploughman homewards plods his weary way, And leaves the world to darkness and to me Thomas Gray Elegy written in a Country Churchyard Reading Poetry - Theory and Practice11

12 When the Evening… Now air is hushed, save where the weak-eyed bat With short shrill shriek, flits by on leathern wing William Collins, Ode to Evening, 9-10 (1740s) Nox erat et placidum carpebant fessa soporem / Corpora per terras [...] At non infelici animi Phoenissa (Virgil, Aeneid, IV, ) It was then night: the sound and quiet sleep / had through the earth the wearied bodies caught [...] not so the sprite of this Phoenician. (Surrey's Aeneid, IV, ). Reading Poetry - Theory and Practice12

13 When the Evening… ‘an image is that which presents an intellectual and emotional complex in an instant of time’ (Ezra Pound) Reading Poetry - Theory and Practice13

14 - analysis - sources or some kind of influence - biographical data - history of the text - history of literature Let us go then, you and I, When the evening is spread out against the sky Like a patient etherised upon a table... Reading Poetry - Theory and Practice 14 In itself text context

15 Let us go then, you and I Sorry, I’m busy tonight! Reading Poetry - Theory and Practice15


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