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Lecture

Prufrock.docx

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Department
English
Course
ENG140Y1
Professor
Nick Mount
Semester
Fall

Description
Art better than facts at conveying abstract principles Literature deals with universals No particulars; sensible models for absolute truths Literature requires triangle of: Author Book Reader Reader needed to make literature happen Prufrock In 1915 it didn’t look or sound like a ‘poem’ Rhythm off Rejected initially, called insane poem Poetry today looks like Prufrock, how did it get there? Before WWI ‘sane’ poetry looked very similar Just looks like a poem, rather than prose Divided into discrete lines (end-stopped or run-on/enjambed lines) Lines end where they do intentionally Rhyming pattern/scheme Without reading a work it just looks like a poem, in shape and form Eliot’s did not have this form Distinction between content and form Poetic speech, inverting order of words Uses allusion (reference to text outside of it) supposed to be accessible/meaningful to people reading it, readers understand references Used to use art to make inaccessible ideas more accessible (but last century it has been the other way around) ‘clarify unknowable with what we do know’ Economy of effort ‘Etherized’ multiple meanings when used to describe a sunset Colorless liquid used for anesthesia, awaiting surgery Wordsworth example describes sunset much differently Both are using similes that are recognizable for its time First use of anesthesia in Boston around the time Eliot published the poem Statue marking modern medicine, insensible to pain Similes are metaphors Similes: tenor-grounds-vehicle (tenor = object, vehicle = comparison, grounds links each) Grounds limits the grounds of the metaphor – the extent to which comparison is valid Wordsworth’s nun is silent by choice, active. Sun sets on its own Eliot’s patient had no choice in being silent, passive. Put out via technology Sun put out by us/technology Notion that world could be put out/extinguished; idea not received well at the time Literature always a product of its time, see how literature responds to our time Rhyme/meter/accessibility less prevalent than it was in Wordsworth’s time (now free verse) But can only alter poetry/art so much Freedom only meaningful when measured against emulation (? Convention?) Third line (etherized line) doesn’t rhyme, disrupts rhythm, brings more attention to it Line is more shocking, even if unconscious, because doesn’t fit scheme Form/content relationship 15% of lines don’t rhyme, not actually free verse. DEPARTURE, not ABANDOMENT Rhyme isn’t abandoned, departs from it. Establish rhyme, then break away Rhythm inherently pleasurable, in music or poetry Pop music replaced poetry in our time; rhyme/rhythm Dramatic monologue, one speaker, who is not the poet Don’t know who the auditor (listener) is Unconventional revelation of character, not action-dependent drama Modern poem, but form/genre is quite traditional ‘No point in poets simply repeating past, novel better than
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