'Fallen from the Symboled World'

'Fallen from the Symboled World' : Precedents for the New Formalism

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This study evaluates figure and form in contemporary poetry, especially the powers of simile and simile-like structures. Examining the works of Nemerov, Wilbur, Bowers, Hecht, Justice, Cunningham, Bishop, Van Duyn, Hollander, Pack, Kennedy, Ammons, Creeley, and Wright, Prunty argues that doubts about language, the tradition, and theistic assumptions embedded in the tradition have made simile and various simile-like arrangements into major modes of thought. From Lowell's early interest in the "similitudo" and the "phantasm" of Gilson, to Husserl's "phantasies" and Heidegger's interest in similitude, to the use made by contemporary poets of simile, he shows that metaphor--together with slippage, mimicry, synaphea, conjunctions, anacoluthon, chiasmus, and other simile-like patternings--have proven to be more trustworthy than symbol and allegory. Throughout the study, Prunty demonstrates that as uncertainty about language has changed from a predicament of mind to a new way of thinking, simile and simile-like occurrences have provided poetry with variational thought and constitutive power.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 334 pages
  • 147.6 x 217.9 x 28.7mm | 567.32g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0195057864
  • 9780195057867

Review quote

Remarkable....Prunty's ultimate purpose is to define the basic difference between the poetry of the first half of this century and that of the second. It seems to me that he has achieved much greater success in this enterprise than has any other critic, and that he has in his interpretations of individual poems and poets restored the balance from an excessive concern with meter alone to a full appreciation of all aspects. * Hudson Review *
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Back cover copy

A provocative and original analysis of figure and from in contemporary poetry, Fallen From the Symboled World will make an important contribution to the study of modern poetry and literature as well as to linguistics and literary criticism and analysis.
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