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Lecture 15

ENGL 365 Lecture Notes - Lecture 15: Noble Savage, Medicine Man

Course Code
ENGL 365
Glenn Willmott

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20 October 2014
T.S. Eliot: Poetry as Myth, Poet as Witch Doctor
"War-Paint and Feathers" essay
osatirizing romantic primitivism; deconstructing the cliche of the noble savage; the
"natural, innocent being"
the uncivilized world
humans compared to primitive organisms
onot purely negative
does not believe in romanticized noble savage; be more scientific in
order to understand realistic primitivism
othe medicine man and his works: healing, spirituality, healing/ritual
poetry to learn from this focus on tribal life
oEliot exposed to Hellenists; seeking to reinvent literature/poetry to have ritual
function rather than a leisurely one
o positive interest in his own version of primitivism: "study of other cultures can re-
vivify contemporary literature/culture/modern art" -- bringing art back to life as if it
had died -- ritual of renewal from the wasteland
oessay riddled with contradiction
holding hierarchical view of Western man over primitive man, yet also
maintains this tribal man is more morally/spiritually alive than this modern
primitivism in different forms
Frazer's The Golden Bough
oannual rituals of fertility; celebration (symbolically) of reviving life/land
ocalling forth of life principle from underworld; love goddess moving between two
worlds -- life being drawn from death itself
oritual killing of personified God; sacrificial figure
"Ulysses, Order, and Myth" essay
onovel no longer possible in modern age
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