Berryman's Henry : living at the intersection of need and by Samuel Fisher Dodson

By Samuel Fisher Dodson

Berryman's Henry: residing on the Intersection of desire and paintings bargains students and scholars the 1st thorough and well-researched car into John Berryman's epic poem The Dream Songs. via an in depth interpreting of the textual content, an exam of the historical past of its feedback and a few of Berryman's letters, notes, and pertinent manuscripts, Sam Dodson bargains the reader an excellent start line to understand the presiding constitution and thematic concentration of this American vintage. This constitution, caused by the poet's crafting and the poem's inner development, is illustrated within the textual content via greater than thirty reproductions of a few of the Dream music drafts in growth. No current severe paintings examines anyplace close to the variety of person Dream Songs as this reader's advisor, in order to let scholars and lecturers to go into Berryman's tough poem with self assurance and a formal experience of course. Its function is to supply the start reader and the student with a map for coming near near this huge paintings and discovering their means via its elegiac constitution and appreciating its team spirit. a detailed examine the poem's language and stylistic recommendations, epic characteristics and author's poetics, and so much particularly the elegiac move of the poem, will enable even the amateur reader to go into Henry's global. The elegies as a complete give you the word of mourning that's on the middle of Berryman's epic.

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121 This jumping of perspective, via pronominal assignation, offers an authoritative voice in the third person, and an appealing eyewitness in the first person. The reader gets to know Henry both from his direct words and those words he uses to describe himself. The reader may be tricked into believing that the third person accounts are objective and to be trusted even though they are Henry’s own thoughts, but Henry may, at times, be an unreliable narrator. Berryman steps over the line of pronoun reference in Songs 51 and 55.

47 Henry’s hell is on earth; the people who have become “the consorts of the Devil”48 make earth a living hell of suffering and massacre. All four heroes return to the world. Odysseus, Aeneas, Dante, and Henry all struggle on noble quests: Odysseus to return himself and his crew safely home to Ithaca after the victory over Troy; Aeneas to journey to Italy after the Trojan defeat and found a new Rome, a new civilization, a new world order; Dante to relate to his audience just what the good person must do to earn eternal salvation; and Henry to endure the loss and chaos of the modern world and to persevere by continuing to create through poetry and love.

The Song opens with, “Deprived of his enemy, shrugged to a standstill / horrible Henry, foaming”: more conventional syntax would read, “Having no enemy to face, Henry shrugged his shoulders and held his ground. He was foaming 112 Gerard Manley Hopkins, 183. Dream Songs, 285. 114 Gerard Manley Hopkins, 183. 3 (October 1983), 388-404, David K. Weiser examines the form of the sonnet sequence Berryman wrote in 1947. Weiser claims Berryman’s sonnets “illustrate the process of the creative imitation, in which old forms are deliberately reshaped to express new attitudes” (388).

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