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The Enchafed Flood, or the Romantic…
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The Enchafed Flood, or the Romantic Iconography of the Sea (edició 1950)

de W.H. Auden

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Auden's territory in these illuminating lectures is the psychology of poetic symbols. His point of departure is a dream related by Wordsworth in The Prelude - a dream about the desert and the sea, the stone of abstract geometry and the shell of imagination or instinct, and the double-natured hero, half Ishmael and half Don Quixote. From Wordsworth he goes on to examine other implications of the dream, with frequent reference to the sea and desert imagery of Coleridge, Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Dante, Tennyson and others. He ends with a revealing analysis of the symbolism of Moby Dick.… (més)
Membre:w.h.auden
Títol:The Enchafed Flood, or the Romantic Iconography of the Sea
Autors:W.H. Auden
Informació:Random House (1950), Hardcover
Col·leccions:La teva biblioteca
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The Enchafed Flood or the Romantic Iconography of the Sea de W. H. Auden

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Auden's The enchafèd flood, or the Romantic iconography of the sea has appeared in the series of Page-Barbour Lectures at the University of Virginia (1949) and conssist of three lectures entitled "The Sea and the Desert", "The Stone and the Shell", and Ishmael–Don Quixote". As they were collected and prepared for publication in book form, the lectures may have been expanded of beefed up, but essentially are characterised by a very free, associative style, bringing vast amounts of facts and imagery together, which makes the reading of these lectures like the opening up of a cabinet of curios. As a celebrated author and poet, W.H. Auden, then aged 42, brings a treasure of reading and contemplation of literary imagination to the fore, both dazzling and inspiring. The lectures are brimful ideas. They are difficult to read, but very rewarding for the intellectual and experienced reader.

In the first lecture, Auden explores the imagery of "The Sea" and "The Desert" showing how the latter can be seen as a variant of the first, and later on how "the stone" and "the shell" are parallel images in these traditions. He shows how the imagery of the sea / desert in the Romantic tradition represents an escape from the vested order of the society, its norms, values, and responsibility. These ideas are explored in the context of the iconography of the sea / desert, such as islands, oases, and ships. Ideas are highlighted and illustrated citing from a vast range of poetry, including wonderful poems such as The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

The enchafèd flood, or the Romantic iconography of the sea is of particular interest to readers of Melville's Moby Dick. Auden brings together a store of ideas on how to read Moby Dick at a symbolic level, such as pointing out the significance of the number and the names of the nine ships the Pequod encounters before hunting down the whale.

The enchafèd flood, or the Romantic iconography of the sea is a rather thin volume, which makes for some very stimulating and inspiring reading and re-reading. ( )
2 vota edwinbcn | May 1, 2014 |
There are an awful lot of studies of Romanticism, and the ways in which it differed from and remained similar to what came before. Many are more comprehensive and more scholarly than The Enchafed Flood. But none, I would venture to say, are remotely as entertaining.

The Enchafed Flood does not pretend to be Abrams' The Mirror and the Lamp, for instance. It has no delusions of thoroughness. Instead, it selects two images - the Sea and the Desert (despite the title's focus on only one of them) - and demonstrates some of the different ways writers have employed them, and how the Romantics took these images and pushed them into entirely new directions.

Along with these images is a related discussion of some different ways to perceive heroism (because one needs a hero to go off to sea). Again, not the most thorough introduction to Romantic heroism, but thorough enough, and Auden makes apparent the distinction between Romantic ideals and pre-Romantic ideals.

What's best about The Enchafed Flood is how entertaining it is. The world of scholarship and ideas is often treated as an "important" and rarefied one; it is rarely treated as a joyous one. But in Auden's hands, it is. Anytime Baudelaire is put side by side with The Hunting of the Snark, you're in for a snarkily good time.

Some minor quibbles: translations from the French would have been nice. And Auden does know how to go off on a tangent.

Still, even though Auden is not a scholarly writer (in the sense that he is not filled with the latest jargon), he is an eminently intelligent writer, and a penetrating one at that. His insights are always thought-provoking, even when he's at his most provocative. Overall, this is not only an excellent treatise on Romanticism as a movement, but also the single best introduction to Romanticism I've ever read. ( )
1 vota slumberjack | Jul 30, 2006 |
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Auden's territory in these illuminating lectures is the psychology of poetic symbols. His point of departure is a dream related by Wordsworth in The Prelude - a dream about the desert and the sea, the stone of abstract geometry and the shell of imagination or instinct, and the double-natured hero, half Ishmael and half Don Quixote. From Wordsworth he goes on to examine other implications of the dream, with frequent reference to the sea and desert imagery of Coleridge, Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Dante, Tennyson and others. He ends with a revealing analysis of the symbolism of Moby Dick.

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