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A Phenomenological Perspective of Theodore Roethke’s Poetry

  • S. J. Holstein
Part of the Analecta Husserliana book series (ANHU, volume 17)

Abstract

Merleau-Ponty’s dictum that “true philosophy consists in relearning to look at the world”1 applies also to artistic endeavor. For when an artist shows us how to approach reality by seeing the world in a new way, we call his or her work original and successful. Picasso’s statement that he had spent his whole life learning to paint like a child refers to this relearning process which aims at seeing the things of the world as if for the first time. Therefore, the phenomenological process of stripping away from our eyes overlays of civilization and learned prejudices and seeing the things themselves would seem the ideal method for every artist.

Keywords

Phenomenological Method Sacred Space Sacred Place True Philosophy Natural Life Cycle 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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References

  1. 1.
    Preface to Phenomenology of Perception,’ in Phenomenology and Existentialism, ed. Richard M. Zaner and Don Ihde (New York: Putnam’s, 1973), p. 86.Google Scholar
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    This discussion of the magnification of life is adapted from W. E. H. Stanner, ‘Religion, Totemism and Symbolism,’ in Aboriginal Man in Australia, ed. Ronald M. and Catherine H. Berndt ( Sydney: Angus and Robertson, 1965 ), pp. 216–20.Google Scholar
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    Quoted by Hans-Georg Gadamer, in ‘The Phenomenological Movement,’ in Philosophical Hermeneutics, trans, and ed. David E. Linge ( Berkeley: University of California Press, 1976 ), p. 133.Google Scholar
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    Theodore Roethke, The Lost Son and Other Poems (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1948), p. 29. All references in parentheses are to this volume.Google Scholar
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    Theodore Roethke, Straw for the Fire, ed. David Wagoner (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1972 ), p. 158.Google Scholar
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    Theodore Roethke, ‘On “Identity,”’in On the Poet and His Craft, ed. R. J. Mills, Jr. ( Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1965 ), p. 19.Google Scholar
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    Theodore Roethke, Words for the Wind ( Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1961 ), p. 47.Google Scholar
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    Mircea Eliade describes the construction of the sacred center of life in The Sacred and the Profane, trans. Williard Trask (New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1959), pp. 44–57.Google Scholar
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    In Selected Letters of Theodore Roethke, ed. Ralph J. Mills, Jr. (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1968), p. 113.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. J. Holstein
    • 1
  1. 1.Hong Kong Shue Yan CollegeHong Kong

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