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Lecture 18

ENG 208 Lecture Notes - Lecture 18: Primo Levi

Course Code
ENG 208
Thomas Phillips

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Lecture 18: 3/23/2017
“The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” by T. S. Eliot
Read the last few stanzas: “No! I am not Prince Hamlet” until the end
How might this relate to Pierre?
There was drama going on around Pierre’s life, but he was more a bystander passing
through others’ drama
o Just like in the poem, “I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be” (Eliot)
Pierre is a bartender
o “Am an attendant lord” (Eliot)
“Advise the prince” (Eliot)
o Reminiscent of Henri
“Politic, cautious, and meticulous” (Eliot)
o Just like Pierre
“Almost, at times, the Fool” (Eliot)
o Pierre, how he cautions himself from things he enjoys
“I grow old…I grow old…I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled” (Eliot)
o Something profoundly lonely about the image of an older man walking alone on a
beach with his trousers rolled up
“I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each. I do not think that they will sing to me”
o No longer thinking about human intimacy, love, sexbelieves it is no longer
In the poem, the speaker is always using “I,” until the third to last line, when it switches
to “we”
o Universality
o There’s a strong sense of this in The Waitress Was New
o From a review on the back of the novel, “Authentic from the first sentence to the
last…We read about the everyday existence of an unremarkable bartender, and
nevertheless, imperceptibly, we approach the universal human condition” – Les
Matricule des Anges
The Waitress Was New (Parts II and III) by Dominique Fabre
Can you relate to this novel? Do you resonate with Pierre’s character?
o He works, he has his relatable work rituals
o This novel is offering a sense of natural thought
Where we are at the core of our humanity:
Working, living, breathing, pursuing, desiring…
How does Fabre address the universal human condition?
o The feeling of being in a crowd of people and yet still being alonePierre wants
to connect with people, but also holds himself back. Constantly surrounded by
people, yet feels alone.
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