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Loving in Verse

Loving in Verse: Poetic Influence as Erotic

STEPHEN GUY-BRAY
Copyright Date: 2006
Pages: 184
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3138/9781442676848
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    Loving in Verse
    Book Description:

    The current critical tendency in the study of Renaissance literature is to regard the relationship between a poet and his predecessor as either familial or antagonistic. Stephen Guy-Bray argues that neither of these models can be applied to all poetic relationships and that, in fact, the romantic and even sexual nature of some relationships must be considered.

    Loving in Verseexamines how three poets present their relationship to their most important predecessors, beginning with Dante's use of Virgil and Statius in theDivine Comedy, moving on to Spenser's use of medieval English poets in theFaerie Queene, and finally addressing Hart Crane's use of Whitman inThe Bridge. In each case, Guy-Bray shows how the younger poet presents himself and the older poet as part of a male couple. He goes on to demonstrate how male couples are, in fact, found throughout these poems, and while some are indeed familial or hostile, many are romantic or sexual. Using concepts from queer theory and close readings of images and allusions in these texts,Loving in Versedemonstrates the importance of homoeroticism to an examination of poetic influence. A discussion of the theories of poetic influence from four twentieth-century writers (T.S. Eliot, Harold Bloom, Roland Barthes, and Frank O'Hara) concludes Guy-Bray's analysis.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-7684-8
    Subjects: Language & Literature
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Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments (pp. ix-x)
  4. Preface (pp. xi-2)
  5. 1 Virgil into Statius into Dante (pp. 3-27)

    Statius was one of the most famous and highly regarded of the Latin poets throughout the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, but he is now not one of the classical writers whom readers who are not trained classicists are likely to know. In fact, most modern readers probably know who Statius was only because he is a character in theDivine Comedy.While I feel that the neglect of Statius as a poet is unfair, my own interest in him lies in his relation to Virgil and Dante, the two great poets with whom he is now associated. In a...

  6. 2 Chaucer and Spenser and Other Male Couples (pp. 28-60)

    From the beginning of his career, Edmund Spenser was a poet occupied with literary history to a degree that I think is unusual even for a poet in sixteenth-century England. His first book, theShepheardes Calender(1579), was closely modelled on Virgil’s first book, theEclogues,and his early work includes translations of poems by Petrarch and by Joachim du Bellay. When the first three books of theFaerie Queeneappeared in 1590, Spenser’s interest in the poetic tradition would have been obvious to readers, as the book begins with an adaptation of the lines with which Virgil was then...

  7. 3 Crane on Whitman (pp. 61-85)

    At the end of his poem ‘Torphyro in Akron’ Hart Crane advises the eponymous protagonist that ‘in this town, poetry’s / A bedroom occupation’¹ It is usually assumed that this statement refers to a lack of enthusiasm for poetry in America’s rubber capital, and the poem undeniably relies on the contrast between the gorgeously imagined medieval world in which Keats’s Porphyro lives and the prosaic nature of the mid-sized Ohioan city in which the twenty-year old Crane spent approximately two months in 1919 and 1920. But the poem also relies on the contrast between Porphyro, a romantic figure successful in...

  8. 4 Eliot with Bloom, Barthes with O’Hara (pp. 86-108)

    The first three chapters of this book could be seen as a story with a happy ending -a sort of Whig history of discussions of poetic influence, a coming-out narrative. Such was not my intention, however, nor would such a narrative be accurate. Even now, critics writing about relationships among poets are likely to present these relationships as familial or antagonistic or both. While these strategies are clearly applicable some poetic relationships, they are clearly inapplicable to others, but because our standard metaphors for poetic influence are familial, discussions of the erotics of influence tend to be ruled out from...

  9. Notes (pp. 109-118)
  10. Bibliography (pp. 119-128)
  11. Index (pp. 129-132)