Advertisement

Poetry’s Old War

  • Jameson S. Workman
Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)

Abstract

It’s probably a crime against storytelling to begin a book with a list but, generally speaking, so is literary criticism. So I’ll also acknowledge as a plain fact that the following list should be much longer and its simple ‘trajectory’ more indebted to the complex migratory dynamism of the “Lobster-Quadrille”1 than the honest eschatology of the arrow. And I evoke that particular dance not just because it was more or less free in form and encumbered by empiricism but also because it was an international sensation that attracted dancers of wildly divergent talents and temperaments. Its only stipulations were to “partner up with a lobster,” toss it “as far out to sea as you can,” “swim after it,” “turn a somersault in the sea,” and that, “we can do it without lobsters, you know.” It appears to have been the creation of “the Classical master … an old crab, he was,” who “taught Laughing and Grief.”2 How it survived from one generation to the next is a subtle question. “‘Would you like to see a little of it?’ said the Mock Turtle. ‘Very much, indeed,’ said Alice. ‘Which shall sing?’ … The two creatures, who had been jumping about like mad things all this time, sat down again very sadly and quietly … ‘Oh you sing,’ said the Gryphon. ‘I’ve forgotten the words.’”3 Which brings us to the list.

Keywords

Symbolic Order Classical Master Human Lover Poetic Vision Phantom State 
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.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes

  1. 1.
    Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, in The Annotated Alice: The Definitive Edition (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2000), 100.Google Scholar
  2. 4.
    D.W. Robertson, A Preface to Chaucer: Studies in Medieval Perspectives (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1962), 365.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 5.
    Yasunari Takada, “Chaucer’s Use of Neoplatonic Traditions,” in Platonism and the English Imagination, ed. Anna Baldwin and Sarah Hutton (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1994), 45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 7.
    Augustine, Against the Academicians, in Against the Academicians and the Teacher, trans. Peter King (Indianapolis, IN: Hackett Publishing Inc., 1995), 92.Google Scholar
  5. 8.
    Augustine, Of True Religion, in Augustine: Earlier Writings, trans. J.H.S. Burleigh (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2006 [ad 390/391]), 229.Google Scholar
  6. 9.
    Augustine, Confessions (vii: ix), from The Confessions of Saint Augustine, trans. E.M. Blaiklock (London: Hodder & Stoughton Ltd., 2009), 171.Google Scholar
  7. 11.
    Samuel Daniels, “To the Lady Margaret, Countess of Cumberland,” in The London Book of English Verse, ed. Herbert Read and Bonamy Dobrée (London: Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1949), 556.Google Scholar
  8. 14.
    G.K. Chesterton, A Miscellany of Men (New York: Dodd, Mead and Company, 1912), 248.Google Scholar
  9. 16.
    Plato, The Republic, trans. Benjamin Jowett (New York: Dover Publications, 2000), 179.Google Scholar
  10. 18.
    Cicero, “The Dream of Scipio,” in On the Good Life, trans. Michael Grant (London: Penguin Books Ltd., 1971), 354.Google Scholar
  11. 19.
    “The method of mythological interpretation that regards myths as traditional accounts of real incidents in human history”; “euhemerism,” Oxford English Dictionary: Volume III (Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1933).Google Scholar
  12. 20.
    Lewis Spencer, An Introduction to Mythology (New York: Moffat and Company, 1921), 42.Google Scholar
  13. 22.
    Paul Ricoeur, The Rule of Metaphor, trans. Robert Czerny (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1978), 254.Google Scholar
  14. 24.
    Marc Pelen, Latin Poetic Irony in the Roman de la Rose, (Liverpool: Francis Cairns, 1987), viii.Google Scholar
  15. 25.
    “The soul is eternal and has seen the realm of Forms in heaven. But when the soul comes into the body, this knowledge needs to be recollected. Recollection is the process of learning, and because all the particulars are imperfect copies of the Forms, they can only act as reminders”; “recollection,” The Blackwell Dictionary of Western Philosophy, ed. Nicholas Bunnin and Jiyuan Yu (Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2004).Google Scholar
  16. 27.
    For instance, Oxford, Bodleian Library MS Bodley 686 (c. 1420) contains an alliterative scribal ending to the Cook’s Tale in which Perkyn receives his just desserts according to a straightforward moral matrix of sin and punishment, while twentieth-century critic J. Leslie Hotson attempts a one-to-one correspondence between the col fox and a fourteenth-century “Mr. Richard Colfox.” J. Leslie Hotson, Colfox vs. Chauntecleer, PMLA, Vol. 39, No. 4 (December 1924): 762–781. Both, over the long arc of human history, either deliberately anchor Chaucer’s poetry to the conditions of waking life for some larger metapoetic purpose or accidentally prove in practice the reverse alchemy the literalist hermeneutic.Google Scholar
  17. 28.
    J.O. Ward, “Rhetoric in the Faculty of Arts at the Universities of Paris and Oxford in the Middle Ages: A Summary of the Evidence,” Archivum Latinitatis Medii Aevi, Vol. 54 (1996): 160.Google Scholar
  18. 29.
    Cicero, De Senectute (v.13) from Cicero: De Senectute, De Amicitia, De Divinatione, trans. William Armistead Falconer (London: Harvard University Press, 2001), 23.Google Scholar
  19. 32.
    Macrobius, Commentary of the Dream of Scipio, trans. William Harris Stahl (New York: Columbia University Press, 1990), 81.Google Scholar
  20. 35.
    See for instance Max Black, Models and Metaphors: Studies in Language and Philosophy (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1962) and Sheldon Sax, On Metaphor (Chicago, IL: Chicago University Press, 1980).Google Scholar
  21. 36.
    See G.R.F. Ferrari, Listening to the Cicadas: A Study of Plato’s Phaedrus (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990).Google Scholar
  22. 37.
    Peter Travis, “Chaucer’s Heliotropes and the Poetics of Metaphor,” Speculum, Vol. 72, No. 2 (April 1997): 424.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 38.
    R.J. Tarrant, “Aeneas and the Gates of Sleep,” Classical Philology, Vol. 1, No. 55 (January 1982): 51–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 39.
    Peter Travis, Disseminal Chaucer: Rereading the Nun’s Priest’s Tale (South Bend, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2010): 98.Google Scholar
  25. 43.
    Dante Alighieri, Paradiso (xxxiii: 124–126, 136–138), in The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri, trans. Geoffrey L. Bickersteth (Oxford: Shakespeare Head Press, 1972), 769.Google Scholar
  26. 44.
    Andrew Hussey, Paris: A Secret History (London: Penguin Books Ltd., 2006), 12.Google Scholar
  27. 47.
    Ovid, Amores (I: XII), In The Heroïdes, Or Epistles of the Heroines. The Amours. Art of Love, Remedy of Love: And Minor Works of Ovid, trans. Henry T. Riley (London: Bell and Daldy, 1869), 295.Google Scholar
  28. 49.
    Derek Pearsall, “Towards a Poetics of Chaucerian Narrative,” in Drama, Narrative and Poetry in the Canterbury Tales, ed. Wendy Harding (Toulouse: Presses Universitaire du Mirail, 2003), 110.Google Scholar
  29. 52.
    T.F. Thielston Dyer, “The Cat and Its Folklore,” The Gentleman’s Magazine, Vol. 252 (January- 1882), 604.Google Scholar
  30. 54.
    “Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite,” In Homeric Hymns, Homeric Apocrypha, Lives of Homer, trans. Martin L. West (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2003), 177.Google Scholar
  31. 57.
    Homer, Iliad, trans. Samuel Butler (London: Arcturus Publishing Limited, 2009), 60.Google Scholar
  32. 60.
    Hunter H. Gardner, Gendering Time in Augustan Love Elegy (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013), 4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 61.
    Rory. B. Egan, “Cicada in Ancient Greece: Ventures in Classical Tettigology,” Cultural Entomology Digest, No. 3 (November 1994): 21.Google Scholar
  34. 63.
    Callimachus, Aetia (29–38), in Callimachus: Fragments, trans. Cedric Whitman (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1975), 9. Whitman adds the footnote, “The ‘voice’ of the cicada is frequently used in Greek poetry as a simile for sweet sounds. The cicala, according to Plato … is the favourite of the Muses, and in Alexandrian poetry poets are compared to, or called after it.”Google Scholar
  35. 66.
    Plato, Phaedrus and Letters VII and VIII, trans. Walter Hamilton (London: Penguin, 1973), 70.Google Scholar
  36. 74.
    T.S. Eliot, “Ash-Wednesday,” Complete Poems and Plays, 1909–1950 (New York: Harcourt Brace & Company, 1952), 62.Google Scholar
  37. 78.
    G.M.A. Grube, Plato’s Thought (London: The Athelone Press, 1980), 188.Google Scholar
  38. 79.
    Lucretius, De Rerum Natura (665–660). Quoted in Mark P.O. Morford and Robert J. Lenardon, Classical Mythology, Sixth Edition (New York: Longman, 1999), 548.Google Scholar
  39. 82.
    F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Beautiful and Damned (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009), 203.Google Scholar
  40. 83.
    John Updike, “Introduction,” in Henry D. Thoreau, Walden, ed. J. Lyndon Shanley (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2004), ix.Google Scholar
  41. 84.
    Alistair Minnis, “The Trouble with Theology,” in Author, Reader, Book: Medieval Authorship in Theory and Practice, ed. Stephen Partridge and Erik Kwakkel (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2012), 33.Google Scholar
  42. 89.
    Gudrun Richardson, “The Old Man in the Pardoner’s Tale: An Interpretive Study of His Identity and Meaning,” Neophilologus, Vol. 87 (2003): 324.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. 91.
    David Lawton, Chaucer’s Narrators, (Cambridge: D.S. Brewer, 1985), 26.Google Scholar
  44. 92.
    Charles Dickens, David Copperfield (London: Collins Clear-Type Press, 1907), 890.Google Scholar
  45. 97.
    Sources and Analogues of the Canterbury Tales, ed. W.F. Bryan and Germaine Dempster (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd., 1958), 415–438.Google Scholar
  46. 100.
    L’envoy de Chaucer a Scogan (47). See also, Alfred Davis, “Chaucer’s Good Counsel to Scogan,” The Chaucer Review, Vol. 3, No. 4 (Spring 1969): 273.Google Scholar
  47. 106.
    Robert Frost, “Nothing Gold Can Stay,” Collected Poems of Robert Frost (London: Jonathan Cape, 1943), 272.Google Scholar
  48. 109.
    William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1975), xviii.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Jameson S. Workman 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jameson S. Workman

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations