View Message

<  >
Subject: A comment : Making reconstruction easier than one aught
Author: Selwyn   (guest, 195.215.72.204)
Date: August 10, 2001 at 7:24:39 AM
Reply to: Very nice. :) by Nanaea
Thank you Nanaea . I did not know that page and it really interesting.
The article is interesting too and I have learnt many factual things I did not know before. I will surely look more into this page. But I have a few comments regarding the article.

------
The biographical approach generally.

Yet, the article does also become it's own worst enemy so to speak, for it interprets the poem by trying to reconstruct Poe's inner and outer life and in the light of these the interpretation is to arise.
But by using this way of interpretation the poem gets no chance to speak for itself. It simply becomes a reflection of a reconstructed Poe and a reconstructed Poe is not the real Poe. Therefore since a biological approach is used excluding the possibility that the poem could point beyond Poe's own life the author is trapped in the same point of view, which he says himself that Poe's own generation was caught in:

"It was Poe's fate to be misunderstood. His own generation looked only at his external life. "

Any reconstruction even of a person's inner life will always end in an external look upon the person. Only God and perhaps Poe himself could have an internal look at Poe.
I think the author should have pointed out more clearly that his starting point is a qualified guess as to how Poe were and felt and at the same time underline that we actually do not know for sure.

-------

Explaining a part separated from the whole.

Reconstructing a person and his emotional state puts us in danger of making a person too understandable. That is to make him/her feel and act in a way we as bystanders can understand looking at the person from the outside.

In the article the author makes the reconstruction task easier for himself simply by focusing on one single poem. Yet, had he been forced to make the same reconstruction based on a few more poems e.g. the poem "Ulalume" and the poem "Dream-land" then it would have been much harder.

"Dream-Land"
by Edgar Allan Poe

By a route obscure and lonely,
Haunted by ill angels only,
Where an Eidolon named NIGHT,
On a black throne reigns upright,
I have reached these lands but newly
From an ultimate dim Thule --
From a wild weird clime that lieth, sublime,
Out of Space -- out of Time.


Bottomless vales and boundless floods,
And chasms, and caves, and Titan woods,
With forms that no man can discover
For the dew that drips all over;
mountains toppling evermore
Into seas without a shore;
Seas that restlessly aspire,
Surging, unto skys of fire
Lakes that endlessly outspread
there lone waters-lone and dead,-
Their still waters-still and chilly
With the snows of the lolling lily


By the lakes that thus outspread
their lone waters, lone and dead,-
Their sad waters, sad and chilly
With the snows of the lolling lily,-
By the mountains-near the river
Murmering lowly,murmering ever,-
By the grey woods,- by the swamp
Where the toad and the newt encamp,-
By the dismal tarns and pools


Where dwell the Ghouls,-
Buy each spot the most unholly,-
In each nook most melancholly,-
There the traveler meets aghast
Sheeted Memories of the Past-
Shrouded forms that start and sigh
As they past the wanderer by-
White-robed forms of friends long given,
In agony, to the earth
And Heaven .


For the hear whose woes are legion
'Tis a peacefull, soothing region-
For the spirit who walks in shadow
'Tis-Oh, 'tis an Eldorado!
But the traveler, traveling through it,
may not-dare not openly view it;
Never it's mysteries are exposed
To the weak human eye unclosed;
So wills it's King, who hath forbid,
The uplifting of the fringed lid;
And thus the sad Soul that here passes
Beholds it but through darkened glasses.


By a route obscure and lonely,
Haunted by ill angels only,
Where an Eidolon named NIGHT,
On a black throne reigns upright,
I have reached these lands but newly
From an ultimate dim Thule.

The part of this poem, which goes:

"For the hear whose woes are legion
'Tis a peacefull, soothing region-
For the spirit who walks in shadow
'Tis-Oh, 'tis an Eldorado!"

Must at least add one more layer to Poe than the author suggests, for here Poe most oddly speaks of the terrible regions as a place where one may not only find horrors, but also the lost Eldorado. The very Eldorado of which Poe writes a poem about in 1849.
Does this poem suggest that this Eldorado might be some kind of Holy Grail? A holy grail, which Poe had possed earlier on but left behind?
Indeed such guesses can be made and some will be more eloquent than others. The author of the article I have here commented is truly far more eloquent than I, but he also makes the reconstruction of Poe easier than he aught to, I think.

Eldorado
by Edgar Allan Poe

Gaily Bedight,
A gallant Knight,
In sunshine and in shadow,
Had journeyed long,
Singing a song,
In search of Eldorado.
But he grew old --
This knight so bold --
And o'er his heart a shadow
Fell, as he found
No spot of ground
That looked like Eldorado.

And, as his strength
Failed him at length
He met a pilgrim shadow --
"Shadow," said he,
"Where can it be --
This land of Eldorado?"

"Over the mountains
Of the Moon,
Down the valley of the Shadow,
Ride, boldly ride,"
The shade replied, --
"If you seek for Eldorado!"

-Selwyn

Because this message is archived you cannot respond to it.

Messages in this thread: