Reclaiming "Paradiso" : Dante in the poetry of James Merrill and Charles Wright

  • The 'fortuna di Dante' among English and American poets of the twentieth century is a rich story that continues on into this millennium with new permutations and undiminished energies. Pound and Eliot canonized Dante for more than one generation of poets and readers. It was "Purgatorio" rather than "Inferno" that both Pound and Eliot valorized, its charged and affectionate poetic encounters serving as a model for key moments in both their works. [...] Yet it was two American poets, James Merrill and Charles Wright, who focused their attention and delight specifically on the "Paradiso", a much less common predilection for both poets and general readers. [...] Wright says that he writes for the dead; sometimes he seems to write as the dead. It is this premature identification with the dead, even if sporadic, which makes Wright so different from both Dante and Merrill, for whom the afterlife is ultimately an affirmation of life. Both Dante and Merrill make us understand the usefulness of the fiction of the afterlife as a way of staging a dialogue with the dead - which is what much of poetry, perhaps much of life, is about. What all three poets share is a dream of paradise as a site that emboldens the imagination.

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Author:Rachel Jacoff
Parent Title (English):Metamorphosing Dante : appropriations, manipulations, and rewritings in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries / ed. by Manuele Gragnolati, Fabio Camilletti and Fabian Lampart ; Cultural Inquiry ; 2
Publisher:Turia + Kant
Place of publication:Wien
Document Type:Part of a Book
Date of Publication (online):2019/10/28
Year of first Publication:2011
Publishing Institution:Universit├Ątsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2019/11/20
Tag:American poetry
GND Keyword:Dante Alighieri; Divina Commedia. Paradiso; Rezeption; Merrill, James Ingram; Wright, Charles
Page Number:14
First Page:123
Last Page:136
Dewey Decimal Classification:8 Literatur / 80 Literatur, Rhetorik, Literaturwissenschaft / 800 Literatur und Rhetorik
Sammlungen:CompaRe | Allgemeine und Vergleichende Literaturwissenschaft
CompaRe | Allgemeine und Vergleichende Literaturwissenschaft / ICI Berlin
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung-Weitergabe unter gleichen Bedingungen