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By Hugh Kenner

ISBN-10: 0030088402

ISBN-13: 9780030088407

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Example text

And now a gusty shower wraps T h e grimy scraps Of withered leaves about your feet And newspapers from vacant lots; T h e showers beat O n broken blinds and chimney-pots, And at the corner of the street A lonely cab-horse steams and stamps. And then the lighting of the lamps. Shakespeare is characterizing a pompous windbag, but aware that his audience delights in the extended comparison for its own sake. In his later plays he seldom permits the audience this gratification. Macbeth's phrase about the candle might have been expanded in this way, and adequate reading so expands it.

A sigh? A grunt? A statement? W h y is it so short? I. 2. "WITHOUT INVENTION" William Carlos Williams, 1946 Without invention nothing is well spaced, unless the mind change, unless the stars are new measured, according to their relative positions, the line will not change, the necessity 3. the constellations are gradually drifting out of shape. 52 Useful Terms The Image: What the Words Actually Name will not matriculate: unless there is a new mind there cannot be a new line, the old will go on repeating itself with recurring deadliness: without invention nothing lies under the witch-hazel bush, the alder does not grow from among the hummocks margining the all but spent channel of the old swale, the small foot-prints of the mice under the overhanging tufts of the bunch-grass will not appear: without invention the line will never again take on its ancient divisions when the word, a supple word, lived in it, crumbled now to chalk.

6. How many times, as you read the passage, does the thing you are being shown undergo a change? 7. HOWmany times is the idea of forward motion reverted fo, after it is first introduced by "creeps"? At what point in the passage is it abandoned? Why? 8. There are at least two conventional images beneath Shakespeare's effects: life as a journey and life as a story. What others can you identify? Inert writing (99 per cent of the printed matter one looks at) is paved with conventional phrases. One grows used to not noticing what they nation as tightly knit and racially conscious as Japan, patriotism represents the cement w h i c h holds the edifice together": the skilled consumer ( The image is what the words actually name.

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Art of Poetry by Hugh Kenner


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