New PDF release: Affirming limits: essays on mortality, choice, and poetic
By Robert Pack
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Additional resources for Affirming limits: essays on mortality, choice, and poetic form
And Wallace Stevens asserts the same ideathat fictional belief must be contained by the rational mind which recognizes the need for human dreaming: "The final belief is to believe in a fiction, which you know to be a fiction, there being nothing else. " The lyric poet fictionalizes himself, projects himself into others and thus into a fuller life, dreaming, yet returning to the reality of his limited body, his instant in cosmic time. Yet he must also acknowledge the reality of his central needthe need to dream, to take on other lives and selves in his art.
II It is apparent that the novelist and the dramatist project themselves into the characters they create, but the lyric poeteven when speaking as "I" and thus appearing to be only his own selfalso may be re-creating himself as something other than what he is in fact. " In Yeats's poem, "Father and Child," for example, a father recounts an exchange he has had with his daughter: Page 28 She hears me strike the board and say That she is under ban Of all good men and women, Being mentioned with a man That has the worst of all bad names; And thereupon replies That his hair is beautiful, Cold as the March wind his eyes.
Unlike accepted happiness, however, sorrow projects us wishfully into infinite possibility, and secretly we may prefer this sorrow since it nourishes our fantasies in which no limits need be confronted. In this way, even happiness may be converted into sorrow so that our fantasies need not be abandoned, and in that sorrow the artist again may find his theme, seeming to oppose what inwardly he perversely nurtures. The difficulty of loving a real woman and real children is the same as the difficulty of accepting the conditions of one's life and one's mortality.
Affirming limits: essays on mortality, choice, and poetic form by Robert Pack