Theorizing the Lyric

  • Barbara L. Estrin


Like Alberto Giacometti’s “la Femme Couchée qui Rêve,” Wallace Stevens’s “So-and-So Reclining on her Couch” anticipates the anxiety that prevails in the post—World War II poetry of Stevens, Robert Lowell, and Adrienne Rich. With Ovid’s story of Pygmalion and Narcissus at their base, poem and sculpture offer an entry to the psychological, theoretical, and mythological themes that I take up in the ensuing chapters. Typifying the poet’s incestuous desire to make the woman into a version of the poet’s self and the poet’s appropriative reflex to internalize the woman’s generativity, both works question the divisive tendencies of the six-hundred-year-old Petrarchan poetic that exerted such a powerful influence on Western visual arts and poetry.


Black Hole Small Thing Poetic Language Solid Space Real Woman 
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Copyright information

© Barbara L. Estrin 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Barbara L. Estrin
    • 1
  1. 1.Stonehill CollegeUSA

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