By Katherine Kearns

ISBN-10: 0521109981

ISBN-13: 9780521109987

ISBN-10: 0521444853

ISBN-13: 9780521444859

Robert Frost and a Poetics of urge for food reads Frost's poetry inside a theoretical viewpoint generated, yet now not restricted via feminist research, and it evaluates Frost's continual feminizing of poetic language in ways in which he mostly dramatizes as either erotic and humiliating. Kearns examines how Frost's twin and almost certainly conflicting obligations--to be manly and to be a poet--inform his complete poetics. The examine unites psychobiographical and feminist methods to create an adept and inventive device of interpretation

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Extra info for Robert Frost and a Poetics of Appetite

Sample text

Having become part of the whole, they may only proceed programmatically. Reliance on the external systems by which Bildung is traditionally effected is counterproductive, urging one toward formlessness, but philosophical, social, and political despair is prideful folly: "It is immodest of a man to think of himself as going down before the worst forces ever mobilized by God" (Prose 105). To induce that despair willingly is to invite intellectual and artistic impotence, "a dilation from which the tissues and the muscles of the mind have never been able to recover natural shape" (Prose 106) - but it is also to invite sexual dysfunction.

The speaker's voice remains more unruffled than the well's surface - he has, after all, been talking hendacasyllabically about himself when "truth" breaks in and then subsides - and his detached tone, which allows the escape route of an ironic reading even as it suggests the validity of his manly egocentricity, commits him emotionally in no way. But beneath his self-congratulatory tone lie deeper anxieties and desires. Even the title, echoed in the last line, predicts an ambivalence that the poem denies tonally, the "for once, then, something" suggesting a more than once rebuked desire to shatter the mirror he professes to erect, and the figure of the well suggests a claustrophobic fantasy of diving, falling, or being thrown deep into a narrow shaft.

Pollen or autumn leaf, they are kept from manhood by a maternal force whose conservational impulse is potent and ultimately degenerative. In both "Home Burial" and "The Death of the Hired Man," the maternal solicitude that would hold and protect is enacted against the wishes of the adult male figure, who is ready to evict the "son" and move on to other things. 40 Despite Mary's injunction to "Be kind," Warren calls Silas to account for his irresponsibility as regards work. He sees Silas as having chosen a relatively dissolute life, for if Silas has, admirably, rejected the corrupt values implicit in his brother's bank-director status, he has not consistently embraced any more reputable means by which a man may create order.

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Robert Frost and a Poetics of Appetite by Katherine Kearns


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