American Women Poets 1650-1950 (Modern Critical Views) by Harold Bloom

By Harold Bloom

This quantity gathers jointly what Harold Bloom considers the simplest feedback at the imperative American ladies poets. tested is the paintings of Anne Bradstreet, Emily Dickinson, Gertrude Stein, H.D. (Hilda Doolittle), Marianne Moore, and Louise Bogan. This identify, American ladies Poets (16501950), a part of Chelsea condo Publishers’ smooth serious perspectives sequence, examines the foremost works of yank girls Poets (1650-1950) via full-length severe essays via specialist literary critics. moreover, this identify contains a brief biography on American ladies Poets (1650-1950), a chronology of the author’s lifestyles, and an introductory essay written via Harold Bloom, Sterling Professor of the arts, Yale collage.

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If, in all other spheres, “Renunciation—is a piercing Virtue,” language itself is not to be denied, but instead given renewed and redefined power through the force of her alienated imagination. Once the poet grants that her word may supplant God’s, however, she must be prepared to face the dangers of such redirected authority, hence those poems that witness the treacherous capacities of language, a language that may (with the very probity that lends the Word its force) cause it to shake the foundations of the self.

By asserting that one no longer wishes for or requires what one has been denied—by, in other words, willfully embracing renunciation, Dickinson attempts to conquer the forces that oppose the self. In the province of language, however, to do without another’s voice, to deny all external sources of “inspiration,” demands an intellectual self-sufficiency that may prove its own undoing, for the threat remains that devoid of others’ language, the poetic voice will be stifled by such defensive isolation.

These closing lines are themselves enigmatic in their brevity, but equally suggestive as well. The reader does not know, for example, to which Herschel the poem refers—to the distinguished astronomer, William, or to his remarkable sister and collaborator, Caroline, who discovered eight comets in her lifetime, or to William’s son, John. Each of these names does, however, recall not simply an astronomer, but a scientist who discovered a celestial body hitherto unknown. A conjectural reading of 32 JOANNE FEIT DIEHL “As Herschel’s private interest” suggests that if Herschel’s (any of the Herschels) public interests were so vast, how great might his/her secret interest have been; the speaker’s secret is as secure as Herschel’s because it also is cosmological in scope and as much a part of the hitherto unknown.

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