James Merrill's Poetic Quest

James Merrill's Poetic Quest

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Relatively little critical attention has been directed towards the explication of James Merrill's difficult poems, much less towards the understanding of his densely-layered symbolism. This is the first comprehensive study to look at Merrill's difficult symbolic system and to provide a close reading of Merrill's epic poem The Changing Light at Sandover. Adams reads Merrill's poetry through various lenses, primarily those of Freudian psychology and of the Jungian archetypal system. His approach allows the reader to view individual works as part of the larger picture of Merrill's quest to save his life through his art.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 192 pages
  • 152.4 x 228.6 x 14.22mm | 453.59g
  • Praeger Publishers Inc
  • Westport, United States
  • English
  • 0313302502
  • 9780313302503

Table of contents

Contents Preface Introduction Time's Damage and Time's Grief: An Introduction to the Quest Model Heroes Without Name or Origin: The Quest in Merrill's Early Work The Incarnation and Withdrawal of a God: "The Book of Ephraim" Solving this Riddle of Appearances: Mirabell's Books of Number Empty Perfection: Scripts for the Pageant and the Higher Keys To All, Sweet Dreams: Concluding the Quest Works Cited Index
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Review quote

"James Merrill as the heir of Plato and Oscar Wilde emerges from Don Adams' close and sensitive reading of the epic and mock-heroic strains in Merrill's poetry. Adams shows Merrill, like W. B. Yeats, confronting the dramatic choice between perfecting his life or his work. Without simplifying the poet's complexity, James Merrill's Poetic Quest reveals a single, deeply serious theme within the dazzling variety of Merrill's poetry."-Timothy Materer Professor of English, University of Missouri--Columbia
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About Don Adams

DON ADAMS is Assistant Professor of English at Florida Atlantic University.
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