Poetry and the Fate of the Senses

Paperback | January 20, 2002

bySusan Stewart

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What is the role of the senses in the creation and reception of poetry? How does poetry carry on the long tradition of making experience and suffering understood by others? With Poetry and the Fate of the Senses, Susan Stewart traces the path of the aesthetic in search of an explanation for the role of poetry in our culture. The task of poetry, she tells us, is to counter the loneliness of the mind, or to help it glean, out of the darkness of solitude, the outline of others. Poetry, she contends, makes tangible, visible, and audible the contours of our shared humanity. It sustains and transforms the threshold between individual and social existence.

Herself an acclaimed poet, Stewart not only brings the intelligence of a critic to the question of poetry, but the insight of a practitioner as well. Her new study draws on reading from the ancient Greeks to the postmoderns to explain how poetry creates meanings between persons. Poetry and the Fate of the Senses includes close discussions of poems by Stevens, Hopkins, Keats, Hardy, Bishop, and Traherne, of the sense of vertigo in Baroque and Romantic works, and of the rich tradition of nocturnes in visual, musical, and verbal art. Ultimately, Stewart explores the pivotal role of poetry in contemporary culture. She argues that poetry can counter the denigration of the senses and can expand our imagination of the range of human expression.

Poetry and the Fate of the Senses won the 2004 Truman Capote Award for Literary Criticism in Memory of Newton Arvin, administered for the Truman Capote Estate by the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop. It also won the Phi Beta Kappa Society's 2002 Christian Gauss Award for Literary Criticism.

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What is the role of the senses in the creation and reception of poetry? How does poetry carry on the long tradition of making experience and suffering understood by others? With Poetry and the Fate of the Senses, Susan Stewart traces the path of the aesthetic in search of an explanation for the role of poetry in our culture. The task o...

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What is the role of the senses in the creation and reception of poetry? How does poetry carry on the long tradition of making experience and suffering understood by others? With Poetry and the Fate of the Senses, Susan Stewart traces the path of the aesthetic in search of an explanation for the role of poetry in culture. Herself an acc...

Susan Stewart is the Regan Professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania and a MacArthur Fellow. She is the author of three books of poems, most recently The Forest, as well as many works of literary and art criticism, including On Longing and Crimes of Writing.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:458 pages, 9 × 6 × 1.1 inPublished:January 20, 2002Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0226774147

ISBN - 13:9780226774145

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Table of Contents

PREFACE AND ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

CHAPTER 1 IN THE DARKNESS
I. The Privations of Night and the Origins of Poiesis
II. Laughter, Weeping, and the Order of the Senses
III. The Lyric Eidos

CHAPTER 2 SOUND
I. Dynamics of Poetic Sound
II. Hopkins: Invocation and Listening

CHAPTER 3 VOICE AND POSSESSION
I. The Beloved's Voice
II. Three Cases of Lyric Possession

CHAPTER 4 FACING, TOUCH, AND VERTIGO
I. The Experience of Beholding
II. Touch in Aesthetic Form
III. Vertigo: The Legacy of Baroque Ecstasy

CHAPTER 5 THE FORMS AND NUMBERS OF TIME
I. The Deictic Now
II. Traces of Human Motion: The Ubi Sunt Tradition
III. Meditation and Number: Traherne's Centuries
IV. The Problem of Poetic History

CHAPTER 6 OUT OF THE DARKNESS: NOCTURNES
I. Finch's Transformation of the Night Work
II. The Emergence of a Nocturne Tradition

CHAPTER 7 LYRIC COUNTER EPIC
I. War and the Alienation of the Senses
II. Two Lyric Critiques of Epic: Brooks and Walcott

AFTERBORN
NOTES
REFERENCES
INDEX OF POEMS
GENERAL INDEX