Because of the triumph of postmodern studies, explication of classic poems by great dead white male English poets of preceding centuries has greatly declined in the last several decades, even though many of the poems may still be puzzling to ...
interested readers, young and old. This book is addressed to both audiences in the hope that new explications of twelve classic poems (or sections of these poems by Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Keats, Shelley, Tennyson, Browning, Arnold, Hardy, Yeats, and Auden may help sustain interest in the poems. Although the explication procedure is now unpopular in theory and held to be as subjective as interpretation, the procedure is based on the experience that, if a puzzling poem is reasoned with, it can often be found to make sense on a basic level of understanding - a sense perhaps complex, ambiguous, or ambivalent but not self-contradictory. In essence, then, this is a book of poetry explications having esthetic aims but written in an era of unesthetic political and cultural studies. The term conservative in the title refers to explicatory rather than political conservatism as well as to critical and literary conservation i.e., to conserving the practice of explication whether upon literary works old or new, and so also conserving esthetic interest in the old works themselves. The book also attempts to show that new conservative explications are still possible and can be still useful - even in the postmodern era and even on classic poems already much explicated - and that therefore explication still has much to do in the work of literary studies in the postmodern era.
Number of pages: 135
Date of publication: 01/03/2011
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