lecture 5

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5 Oct 2011

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Tony Harrison: Prometheus
Tonry Harrison (1937- )
Born in northern England to working-class parents
British "poet of the far left"
Setting of Prometheus
Cooling towers
Newspapers from 1984 (the year his son was born)
Bosnia and Croatia, issues that pertain to the now
Near contemporary
Energy production
Cars, trucks, trains
Urban, industrial landscape
Hermes makes fun of their accents - not pronouncing their "Hs"
Working-class characters
Ending back in Greece, where the story originally started
Rather than an exportation, they take the myth back home, from where it came from
Yorkshire, England - Germany - Czech Republic - Poland - Slovak Republic - Hungary - Romania -
Bulgaria - Greece
Spans Europe from end to end
Talking to each other in rhyming lines
Their discussions are particularly poetic, but their way in conveying their message is
"t'bloody Shakespeare of punk and piss" (522-535)
The irony in people buying these gnomes - the new gods of the new Europe - idols, images
What makes a god or deity? Is this all we have now?
We don't think of them as deities at all, but to Hermes that's all we have
Lewd garden gnomes (728-745)
Juxtaposition of what we know of his hometown and what it has become now
Eleusis was a place of initiation to things that were not visible to the human eye
Showing a completely different time and purpose of the same space
The contrast become even more stark than the comparison of the gnomes - this is a
concrete place
Industrialized landscape of Aeschylus' town (1080 -1095)
Mundane, everyday events
Sometimes, violently yoked together
Hermes sometimes spouts his ancient Greek periodically
Juxtaposition of the "elevated" with the "low," the ancient with the modern
This seems so much darker
Vision of the end of things
The original story had a much lighter feeling where as this seems more bleak
This alone would make mankind turn against him and see him as someone who lead them to
destruction without the influence of Zeus' tyrannical force
Depiction of the negative effects of fire
Gives us a very pessimistic feeling both of the feelings towards what Prometheus brought and the (what
Lecture 5 - 22/09
Thursday, September 22, 2011
3:08 PM
C.de Souza ENGB30H3 Page 1
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