By David Weir
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"The Brontës had their moors, i've got my marshes," Lorine Niedecker wrote of flood-prone Black Hawk Island in Wisconsin, the place she lived such a lot of her existence. Her existence by means of water, as she referred to as it, couldn't were additional faraway from the avant-garde poetry scene the place she additionally made a house.
The background of the epic-ranging from the heroic narratives of cultural beginning present in Homer and Virgil to the tumultuous theological and political conflicts depicted by way of Dante or Milton-is approximately as outdated as literature itself. however the epic can be made and remade via its current, tailored to the pressures and formal must haves of its specific cultural second.
This option explores the range of Hugh MacDiarmid's paintings, from tender lyrics derived from the Scots ballad culture to fierce polemic. "A inebriated guy seems on the Thistle" and "On a Raised Beach--"with an entire word list of its technical terms--are integrated, as are glossed Scots phrases on the foot of every web page and an illuminating memoir by means of MacDiarmid's son.
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Thus I read the novel as a mixture of artificiality and brutality, refinement and degeneration: the paradoxical, double essence of decadence. Chapter 5, "Decadence and Décadisme," is subtitled ''A Rebours and Afterward" and is a discussion of Huysmans and his influence: from the short-lived movement known as décadisme to the D'Annunzio cult and the English "art for art's sake" sensibility. In addition to Huysmans' all-important "bible" of decadence, I discuss D'Annunzio's Il Piacere, Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray, and George Moore's Confessions of a Young Man.
He also tells her that the ceremonies of religion will be ineffective against the strange, erotic power of decay: after the rituals, the worms will "kiss" her body away to nothingness as it lies underground. The church may have the last rites, but Baudelaire has the last word. The poet, at least, will do what he can to preserve something of the form and essence of all his lost, decomposed lovers (''j'ai gardé la forme et l'essence divine / De mes amours décomposés"). Baudelaire's "Une Charogne" stands as the epitaph to this study of decadence for several reasons.
At first, the work seems sentimental and thoroughly conventional: the opening lines present us with a romantic young couple reminiscing about a quiet stroll on a pleasant summer morning ("Ce beau matin d'été si doux"). 1 They seem to be lovers because the speaker of the poem, evidently a young man, uses high romantic diction to refer to his companion, calling her his ''soul" ("mon âme"). The young man looks back to the past, in typical romantic fashion, and asks his lover to recall one of their earlier moments togetherwhen they happened across a rotten carcass of an animal putrefying in the sun (''une charogne infâme").
Decadence and the making of modernism by David Weir