Monday, January 19, 2009

Romanticism and you. Yes, you!

“If in the 19th century, as Gertrude Stein said, people saw parts and tried to assemble them into wholes, while in the 20th century people envisioned wholes and then sought parts appropriate to them, will the 21st century carry out a dissemination of wholes into all parts and thus finish what the 19th century began?”-- Lyn Hejinian

“The critical texts of the English and German Romantics were true revolutionary manifestos, and established a tradition which continues today. … But in 1800, as again in 1920, what was new was not so much that poets were speculating in prose about poetry, but that this speculation overflowed the limits of the old poetics, proclaiming that the new poetry was also a new way of feeling and living.” -- Octavio Paz

"It should be unnecessary to point out that romanticism, as a specific state of mind and temperament whose function is to create from scratch a new general conception of the world, transcends the very limited fashions of feeling and declaiming which are proposed as its successors and which textbooks strive to situate on the same plane as romanticism itself, declaring the latter to be decrepit -- and thereby exorcising the subversive elements in it. ... Above and beyond the sprinkling of works proceeding from it, or derived from it, notably through symbolism and expressionism, romanticism asserts itself as a continuum."-- André Breton

A Crocodile

Hard by the lilied Nile I saw
A duskish river-dragon stretched along,
The brown habergeon of his limbs enamelled
With sanguine almandines and rainy pearl:
And on his back there lay a young one sleeping,
No bigger than a mouse; with eyes like beads,
And a small fragment of its speckled egg
Remaining on its harmless, pulpy snout;
A thing to laugh at, as it gaped to catch
The baulking, merry flies. In the iron jaws
Of the great devil-beast, like a pale soul
Fluttering in rocky hell, lightsomely flew
A snowy troculus, with roseate beak
Tearing the hairy leeches from his throat.

Thomas Lovell Beddoes (1803-1849)

Source: Poems for the Millennium, Volume 3, ed. Jerome Rothenberg & Jeffrey C. Robinson; illustration: William Blake, Behemoth and Leviathan, from The Book of Job (1825)

1 comment:

C F B said...

Thankyou Beddoes for putting me in touch. Fantastic blog thankyou